Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sail away With Me...Jo

Today on Sail Away With Me I'd love you to welcome.. Jo

"I Am The Captain of the Pinafore"

Good morning and welcome to my guest post which the amazing Sian asked if I would like to take part in while she and the family were off sailing. Hope the weather is not too rough. So, she said I could choose something themed around sailing and so I have.

Several year's ago I did a family tree for my dad's birthday and found out some fascinating things about our family inheritance. One of these is a love of the sea. Many of  our ancestors lived in Hartlepool and were fishermen, whilst a few joined the navy. There is much I have to learn still but one day I will find out more about the exploits of my ancestors. Below is the most hysterical and somewhat embarrassing story about my ancestors who hung a monkey thinking it was a Napoleonic spy.

Anyway, my dad must have picked up the family DNA for sea legs as he joined the Merchant Navy when he was a young man of twenty three. He had already been working as an apprentice engineer in his home town and national Service was well and truly over. However, my dad decided to join up and do two years of service. I think it was really to see the world!

The first ship he joined was the RMS Windsor Castle which was part of the Union Castle Line. Here she is in all her glory

He would tell us all stories, and incidentally still does,about his travels between England and South Africa. If my sister and her South African partner come to visit, he is often to be found telling tales of his jaunts into Cape Town. The ship took post and also passengers in very plush accommodation to South Africa  and back. This is the journey they would have taken:

You can imagine the fun he must have had going to different ports after working hard in the engine rooms for weeks on end.

After being on the RMS Windsor Castle, he then joined the Shaw, Savill and Albion line where he was a Junior Engineer on the Cretic. This was one of four sister ships which travelled from the UK via South Africa to Australia and New Zealand.

My Dad has told me many stories but the ones which stay in my mind are of the time he walked across Sydney harbour Bridge with holes in his shoes. apparently my Grandma said he should have bought a new pair of shoes rather than an engagement ring for my Mum! he obviously knew how much more important it was to have the woman he loved over some leather!

The other story is of seeing the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh when they were travelling in New Zealand. He has one photo which is really clear of them in a car wearing very regal attire. 

My Dad came home in 1962 and married my Mum two years later. He loved his time in the Merchant Navy and anything about the sea. He is a very proud man.

Sadly I have not inherited the DNA sea legs and have great difficulty on board ships and ferries. Even a trip down the Thames makes me nauseous so I am extremely happy that we have the Channel Tunnel.

I hope this has been an interesting jaunt into my family history. Here is a fun rhyme to end with.

Jo x

Jo, thank you! Can't she tell a good tale? Jo blogs at Curly Scrapbooker, with an infectiously entertaining mix of stories, scrapbooking and crafts. Her honesty has won her many admirers, including me. Go! see!


Jo.C said...

Brilliant - I grew up listening to the song "Hartlepool Monkey " by the Fettlers. Type these in and there is a site you can listen to the song. Just been reminiscing - thank you x

scrappyjacky said...

A fascinating piece of family history,Jo.

Unknown said...

What an exciting life he had. I am glad he shared the stories with you. I love the monkey picture :-)

Maria Ontiveros said...

What great stories! I have a definite love of the ocean; couldn't imagine living far away from it. Perhaps because my parents rented a beach house each summer when we were kids.

Missus Wookie said...

What a lovely set of family memories. I do love the ocean and there are several naval family members on both sides of my family tree.

Wanda said...

What an entertaining read about a young man's sailing adventures. I especially enjoyed the bit about the holes in his shoes to afford an engagement ring--so very romantic!

Alison said...

Lovely memories Jo..TFS!
Alison xx

Scrappi Sandi said...

Love this post the nostalgic pictures & hearing your family memories...especially an engagement ring vs shoe leather!! TFS! :D

Louise said...

what lovely memories to have and stories to tell. Great post Jo x

Ginger said...

Loved reading your post Jo! Your father traveled to some beautiful places :)

alexa said...

Beautifully constructed post, htough I nearly didn't read on after your words about hanging the monkey! Glad I did and have enjoyed your super illustrations too.

Nathalie said...

Great family history you have been kind to share with us! I really enjoyed reading about your dad's amazing adventures!

Abi said...

A really lovely post Jo. How amazing to have all those stories and photos of a very special time.

Lizzie said...

What a fab story, Jo! Your dad must have had some wonderful years in the Merchant Navy.
My DS' step-dad was in the Norwegian Merchant Navy and had a very happy (if hard) life there.
The pictures were all very interesting - loved the route map from UK to South Africa!

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