View Full Version : The Last Grain Race - Eric Newby
May have been done to death, but if not I would like to recommend to the panel Mr Newby's "The Last Grain Race". Reads very well, entertains and has enough nautical stuff to learn some names of bits. It's a light & quick read, not a serious nautical tome, but I liked it.
I'll second that...and some wonderful photos. He produced a companion book which is bigger (A4 size) and full of photo's taken during the trip. Sorry, can't remember what it's called, stumbled across it in our local library.
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The Brassbounder by David W. Bone
In Deep by Frank Baines
The Cape Horn Breed by William H.S. Jones
All accounts of the authors' first trip as an apprentice in sail (Brassbounder) aboard square rigged trading vessels at the start of the last century, as sail was being replaced by steam.
Both very good books and the photos add a lot - its called 'Learning the Ropes'; ISBN 0 7195 5636 8, pub John Murray
He had a good camera - Zeiss Super Ikonta, but a separate exposure meter, and taking photos while up the rigging in a force 8 must have been interesting! And the shot of 3 men at the end of a 69 ft bowsprit with no safety netting.....
Excellent - I shall look them up, thanks
Excellent stuff, this bit (Sailors night out before he sets off from Belfast) finishes me off:
" ........I tried to talk to the girl but was relieved to find she spoke no known tongue.
I was almost relieved when a quarrel broke out between one of our crew and one of the natives; chairs were raised and began to fly through the air, the lights went out, there was the crash of glass and a bottle landed in Corporation Street. My partner vanished to join the opposition and soon we were fighting a rear-guard action on the stairs. By ther time we reached the street police whistles were trilling merrily.
The march back to the ship was like the "Retreat from Moscow" painted by an elderly spinster. The injured and the incapable were being supported by their companions. Jansson, who was very far gone, was being held up by Vytautas and myself, one either side.
"The police will not like this" said Vytautas who was almost sober "I also do not like this place"
At his suggestion we detached ourselves from the main body and made for a different entrance to the dock. Just then Jansson passed out completely and we dragged him forward along the street with his feet scuffling the granite cobbles.
"We must lift him now" said Vytautas, as we came up to the gate. There were the inevitable two policemen, suspicious and broken-nosed. They bore down on us as we hoisted the wretched Jansson into a vertical, more lifelike position.
"Where are you going?" one of them demanded accusingly.
"Moshulu" said Vytautas in a disarming way.
"Whats the matter with him?" asked the other, florishing his great bludgeon in the direction of Jansson whose head unfortunately chose this moment to fall forward with an audible click.
"He is suffering from overwork" I said with drunken insolence, and hiccuped. Nothing seemed to matter any more......" Eric Newby.
I've enjoyed all of Newby's books. They are on very different subjects: his experience in the rag trade, as an escaped POW in Italy, a variety of travel books. But all seem to have a quizical humour and an understatement that makes them even more entertaining. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush is a good read as well as a great title.
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