Friday, 7 August 2009

Richard Woodman Blue Funnel Voyage

Lowry's novel Ultramarine does give us some insight into life aboard a Blue Funnel ship. However, it wasn't Lowry's intention to give us a full account of life onboard a ship.

Richard Woodman's Blue Funnel Voyage is one book which gives us a better idea of life onboard a ship making a similar voyage to the one made by Lowry on Blue Funnel ship Pyrrhus. Though set in the early 60's, Woodman's novel describes an era of seafaring which was nearer to Lowry than to present day shipping.

Here is the publicity blurb:

What was life like aboard a British vessel in the last days of the British Merchant Navy? In this novel Woodman takes us on one of the Holt Line's "China Boats" on a typical trip to the Far East and back. The time is the 1960s and it is a style of seafaring now totally lost among today's container ships and roll on-roll off ferries.

With the Fourth Mate, who acts as narrator, we keep the long watches of the night, observe officers and men, sea and weather, in every mood. We learn about the transvestites of Singapore and the whores of Hong Kong, as well as the intricacies of derricks and cargo stowage, human hair and hog bristles from China, liquid latex and palm oil from Malaya. It's all here in a wonderful time capsule as only Richard Woodman can write it.

You can still pick up copies on Amazon or direct from McBooks Press.

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