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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Digging for Gold at the Library: Shipshape

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & commenting:

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

In my last post, we discussed what to pack on an ocean voyage. So now that you are sure to look your best, we’ll move on to what to do when you’re under way (besides standing there looking fabulous).

The book Shipshape or Sea-legs Without Tears by Edmund Vale will be our guide. Written in 1931, Shipshape has excellent advice for the novice traveler. There’s scads of technical information--entire chapters devoted to the Engine Room and the Bridge, for instance. But let’s be honest. What we care about is the nitty-gritty on the social scene. That’s where Shipshape shines. For example, the third most important thing to do as soon as you board (after finding your room and noting the time of breakfast) is to "fix the time of your bath" (177). Would you have had the forethought to do that on your own? No, of course not. The rest of your voyage would be spent sneaking in baths willy-nilly, haphazardly washing yourself in an unscheduled manner. It’s simply not decent.

Caption: Unfixed bath times result in chaos and anarchy.

Shipshape also gives the low down on the officers. "The captain is generally polite but a silent man" and "If you want liveliness, it will be bad luck, should you sit at the doctor’s table and not get it" (178) and "Your modern Steward is human, almost humane" (184).

Caption: This guy would beg to differ with that statement.

But the most intriguing part of Shipshape is the chapter dealing with deck games. In my last post, we discussed what to wear while playing quoits. Now, we finally learn what quoits is. Or at least you would have learned, but I’ve decided to cut the quoits description to focus instead on Bumble Puppy.


The name of the game is actually more thrilling than the game itself, which is basically tetherball on a ship. But if you are on a ship and are anxious to make friends, I recommend suggesting a friendly game of Bumble Puppy. Who could refuse such an offer?

Caption: Play Bumble Puppy with me! (photo credit Nixx Photography)

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