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The last spike is a bristle

This is one of the many bristly brushes used over the decades (quite a few by me!) to scrub the wooden decks on the tall ships Tenacious (seen here) and Lord Nelson (there’s a photo of ‘Nellie’ in the gallery below).

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March’s square theme is Spiky Squares (spiky, jagged, pointy, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and/or barbed). As always with a Square challenge, thanks are due to Becky for hosting and keeping us all in touch.
Here’s a round-up (square-up?) of my offerings for the past month:

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Turn the glass and strike the bell

Compass and bell, SV Tenacious

Compass and bell, SV Tenacious

Before the advent of accurate time pieces, time on a ship was regulated by the bell and a system of watches lasting either four or two hours. When the sand had run through a 30-minute “hour glass”, the glass was turned to start again and the bell was struck. In a four-hour watch, the bell would be struck from one to eight times, an increase of one strike every 30 minutes and performed in sets of two. So, for example, if you heard two sets of quick strikes followed by a single strike, you would know it was “five bells” in whatever the watch was (forenoon, morning, etc). Of course, this entire timekeeping process depended on an accurate glass and attention to detail!

The bell in this photo is from SV Tenacious, on which I’ve sailed many times. You can see the intricate rope pull hanging from the bell. The original captain liked to have the bell rung and it was the watch leader’s responsibility to see that it was done. I would start checking my watch every 15 seconds or so from five minutes before the time, mentally going over the number of strikes required. Once I forgot, and gradually was aware that the captain was quietly standing at the corner of the chart house, just gazing at me. Oh dear!

December Squares #timesquare

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The view from the window: Tenacious in Fiji

Tenacious through the window of a church in Daliconi, Fiji

Tenacious through the window of a church in Daliconi, Fiji

This is the second post in an occasional series called “The view from the window” — and, coincidentally, it features the same ship as in the first post! Daliconi is a small village in the Exploring Isles in Fiji, and was badly hit by Hurricane Winston in February this year.


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click here for other posts about Fiji

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The view from the window: Tenacious in Sydney

The view west from my office building on George Street, Sydney. What's in the red box?

The view west from my office building on George Street, Sydney. What’s in the red box?

I know what you’re thinking: why is Kaz inflicting this very dull view of office buildings on us? Look closer at the object with the red box around it.

It’s a tall ship!

Tenacious Maritime Museum Darling Harbour Sydney

Aha, there’s an enormous tall ship parked in front of the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour!

In fact, it is MY tall ship, Tenacious, operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust of Southampton, England. I helped to build this beautiful ship in the late 1990s when I lived in London, so feel quite proprietorial about her. I was one of 1,500 volunteers who pitched in over three years to sand and epoxy and paint and sweep and whatever. I’ve crossed the Atlantic in her twice, and in June this year spent two weeks sailing around remote Fijian islands in the ship.

Tenacious has now made landfall in Sydney on her first around-the-world voyage, and will be spending the next nine months in Australia.

And there she is!

And there she is!

I find it absolutely surreal that I can look from my office building in Sydney’s central business district and see this ship that holds so many memories for me.

(This is the first post in an occasional series to be called “The view from the window”.)


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