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Thursday, July 28, 2011

What time is it?

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five (it lacks rss feeds & commenting):

Aboard a ship, time is told by the striking of the ship's bell. Charts at the Antique Horology website, and the Wikipedia article, illustrate how many bells at what time. In the library we have extensive collections of ephemeral items, and this handy chart is part of our file of printed ephemera dealing with bells--it illustrates the system graphically:

What time is it where you are? How many bells?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What d'ya mean by "Donkey's Breakfast?"

A "donkey's breakfast" is "a sailor's nickname for a straw mattress, issued in some forecastles in the early 19th century."

(Source: Rogers, John G. Origins of sea terms.)

And, what's a "forecastle?" "A forward living compartment for the crew."

(Source: Kerchove, Rene de. International maritime dictionary.)

(Contributors: Palma J. You, Archives Technician & Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

--Mirrored from Full Fathom Five due to its lack of rss feed & commenting.

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)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Ships on the Shore

For those of you reading the blog via your feeds, I wanted to call your attention to an addition to our blog roll, Ships on the Shore, a very interesting blog where Jamin Wells writes about shipwrecks--news, research, and the thoughts of one who studies them.

Thanks to Jamin for alerting me to Ships on the Shore!

Wind on Different Sides

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

Here's another instructive rhyme from Nautical Nursery Rhymes by Billy Ringbolt, which resides in the Park's Peterson, Peter H. (Capt.) Papers (SAFR 18665, HDC 571):

Wind on Different Sides

With wind on starboard you hold right of way,
But with it to port you must not delay
To do what is best in order to steer
Quite clear of the other and not interfere.