Fastnet Sole

German Bight Dogger


Shiplap, ship shape, old sea shanties, tall tales ‘n’ high seas. Think of mermaids and their siren calls; Billy Budd, Master & Commander; The old man and the sea with his recurring dream of lions prowling the (North West) African coastline. We all came from there, us, us humans, homo sapiens. Humankind, as we currently manifest, originated in (the East of) Africa — there are, as Bob Marley sung, Buffalo Soldiers, stolen from Africa, in the heart of America. East! East of Eden, don’t get me ranting upon the Grapes of Wrath (it’s not what the consensus view reads into it, but it is what I naively [and formatively] did once read into it). The middle passage, Omeros and the Caribbean. A House for Mr Biswas, then on to R. K. Narayan’s The Painter of Signs. Odyssey and Iliad were set upon the sea, the Greeks were want to say, caught between scylla and charybdis, the Americans will say, between a rock and a hard place but the Brits (who [once] rule[d] the waves) put it best when they say, “between the devil and the deep blue sea.” Think of the Mary Rose, the Spanish Armada, the sinking of the Belgrano in ’82. The regattas, sailing and yachting (if at nothing else, ‘team GB’ still do well at Olympic rowing). Over the pond, the pond in which the unsinkable Titanic sank, there’s Moby-Dick; down under [sic] there’s Quicksilver, Rip curl and the megalodon. The sea shaped Conrad who wrote in Lord Jim, “there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” O hail the bad &, in Bristol fashion, batten down yer breeches. Transmitted on the dot (like clockwork) @ (e.g.,) 05:20 G.M.T.—on FM and on longwave—are weather reports from coastal stations for the following maritime waters (relayed in clockwise order):

~ ~ ~
Vi·king (named after a sandbank)
North Ut·sire (an island)
South Ut·sire (an island)
For·ties (a sandbank)
Crom·ar·ty (an estuary)
Forth (an estuary)
Tyne (an estuary)
Dog·ger (a sandbank)
Fish·er (a sandbank)
Ger·man Bight (a bay of Northern Europe)
Hum·ber (an estuary)
Thames (an estuary & a river)
Do·ver (a port city)
Wight (an island)
Port·land (an island)
Ply·mouth (a port city)
Bis·cay (after the Irish Sea)
Tra·fal·gar (after Cape Trafalgar, in Spain)
Fitz·Roy (after Robert FitzRoy)
Sole (a sandbank)
Lun·dy (an island)
Fast·net (an isolated rocky stack)
I·rish Sea (after the Irish sea)
Shan·non (an estuary)
Rock·all (an isolated rocky stack)
Mal·in (named after Malin Head, Ireland)
Heb·ri·des (islands)
Bai·ley (a sandbank)
Fair Isle (an island)
Fae·roes (islands)
South·east Ice·land (an island)
~ ~ ~

G.M.T. (GMT) [Greenwich Mean Time] {UTC +0} — now, Our Man in Soho, an indolent pseudo-pornographer of Conradian concoction, was goaded into an attempted anarchistic act [sic] that centred on the blowing to smithereens of the Greenwich Observatory (in actual fact a work of fiction based on a newspaper report of such an intended act) (The paymaster in The Secret Agent? As clearly as I can, I shall say, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and…” the horseman of the North were (are[will be]) heard to murmur as they rode (ride), “The sign is a risin’, O hail Pew-Tin, our home’ll be in the promise land, Rainbow Country” — recall, truth is oftentimes stranger than fiction).[1]  This much I know: categorically, writers like E. M. Forster, Graham Greene, Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi and most certainly too, Zadie Smith will have listened to (or had on in the background at the very [very {very}] least) renditions of this trio of audio files:

A theme tune to begin…
“The Shipping Forecast” (BBC, Radio 4)
…an anthem to end.

The aforementioned coastal stations (also listed clockwise around Great Britain) are here set out below:

~ ~ ~
Ti·ree [Automatic]
Wick [Automatic]
San·det·tie [Light Vessel Automatic]
Green·wich [Light Vessel Automatic]
St. Cath·er·ine’s Point [Automatic]
Chan·nel [Light Vessel Automatic]
Scil·ly [Automatic]
Mil·ford Ha·ven
Liv·er·pool Cros·by
Ma·lin Head
Mach·ri·han·ish [Automatic (0048 only)]
~ ~ ~

By the by, The Shipping Forecast is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 because its longwave signal can be received clearly at sea all around the British Isles regardless of time of day or radio conditions. Zebedee Soanes, one of several Shipping Forecast readers, once said that for the non-nautical, “it is a nightly litany of the sea.” Indeed, for many who’ll be safely tucked-up in their beds when these broadcasts are read, can romantically conjure up in their mind’s-eye lone fishing-boats far out in the North Atlantic with no protection other the starlit sky and the wireless radio. And ~ lest we forget ~ the final list of this post (3 of 3) consists of the ‘inshore waters’ of the British isles that The Shipping Forecast bulletins also covers:

~ ~ ~
Cape Wrath to Rat·tray Head [inc. Ork·ney]
Rat·tray Head to Ber·wick-up·on-Tweed
Ber·wick-up·on-Tweed to Whit·by
Whit·by to Gib·ral·tar Point
Gib·ral·tar Point to North Fore·land
North Fore·land to Sel·sey Bill
Sel·sey Bill to Lyme Re·gis
Lyme Re·gis to Land’s End
Land’s End to St Da·vid’s Head
St Da·vid’s Head to Great Orme Head
Great Orme Head to Mull of Gall·o·way
Isle of Man
Lough Foyle to Car·ling·ford Lough
Mull of Gall·o·way to Mull of Kin·tyre
Mull of Kin·tyre to Ard·na·mur·chan Point
Ard·na·mur·chan Point to Cape Wrath
Shet·land Isles
~ ~ ~

I bow down to a life upon the ocean swell.

— …- . .-. / .- -. -.. / — ..- – //


— § —


[1] ^ (return)  They say a pictures speak volumes..

..suffice to say, “Madness alone is truly terrifying, inasmuch as you cannot placate it by threats, persuasion, or bribes.” Delve, why not, into a pictorial take on London’s Soho of yesteryear: “Beautiful “&” Sublime.” By the by, and you can quote me here, Winnie Verloc almost definitely did not end it by suicide. If that were meant to be a known, he’d have set that on the train to Dover, a head out of a window prior to entering a tightly excavated Victorian tunnel. No, to leave symbolically a wedding ring and jump over the rails of a cross-channel ferry is an improbable way to go (I mean to say decapitation is far quicker than floundering and drowning on the greasy dank gray, unforgivingly cold, English channel. She left the golden ring to foster an enigma, she was free and, in a cathartic act (freed as she was by no doing of her own from brother and mother), elected to begin anew — a freedwomen, phoenix-like from the ashes of the inept Professor’s making — and to Paris (the city that’d become known to Harold Bloom et al. as, “La Ville Lumière”) she undoubtedly did sojourn.

Author: Anna Bidoonism

Poems, prose & literary analysis—this is who I am.