My writing began in 2006 when I wanted to share the experiences I had had during my travels to see sailing ships during the tall ships races that are held each year. This book is was abandoned as I completed the story of me voyaging on a heavy-lift cargo ship accompanying the oldest surviving clipper ship in the world 'City of Adelaide' aka 'Carrick' as deck cargo from Rotterdam to Adelaide, South Australia over the winter of 2013/14.
I also wanted to develop children's stories that I had written. A rejected children's story that lay smouldering in a drawer at home spurred me to turn it into script, and The Three Craws series was spawned.
Poetry became an unexpected pleasure, and I have had a high success rate of having them published. My first pamphlet was published in August 2017 by CrawsNest Press.
Harps for me only existed in films and in orchestras until I saw Savourna Stevenson some years ago. I found out about the Edinburgh International Harp Festival and became a regular fan. I took it up in 2009 when my eldest daughter gave me the gift of a harp lesson. I play the small lever harp known as Celtic harp or clarsach.
The Three Craws had a great time in Dumfries on 25 January 2015 celebrating Scots bard Robert Burns’ birthday! We were thrilled to do three rehearsed readings of ‘The Three Craws Gaun Tae Rabbie Burns Birthday Pairty At The Globe Inn, Dumfries’ on Rabbie’s actual birthday in his actual howff where he would gather for blethers with friends and also wrote poetry. Here are The Three Craws lined up from left to right:
Craw One – Wesley Bradd
Craw Two – Bob Mitchell
Craw Three – Melissa Bradd
This was our second experience performing beyond the studios of East Coast FM Radio 107.6, where we had broadcast a new play every month from December 2012 to September 2013, which was when we went to Bayeux, and Nicola Louise Shepherd was the original Craw Three.
I then went to Australia with clipper ship City of Adelaide and the Craws had a well-earned rest.
Steven Hill of Dunbar T-Shirt Shop http://dunbartshirt.com/ gifted me this for Christmas 2014 (available from Merchandise).
I ordered some Haggis Truffles (seriously!) from Thinking Chocolate in Edinburgh, stuffed them into the boxed sets of mug and coaster and took them down to Dumfries, where they galloped away faster than Tam ‘O Shanter’s horse, Meg!
We returned to Dumfries on 31 January 2015 for the close of the Big Burns Bash. Here are the Craws again, this time Craw Three is Alice Kinloch. This was her first ever outing as a Craw, and she did a fantastic job.
Here are The Three Craws outside Robert Burns House where we did two shows. Hugh Brydon http://www.hughbryden.com/ came along and I was really privileged and delighted when he presented me with this beautiful pure silk signed limited edition tie …
It was essential for me to go to the tall ships regatta at Greenwich in September. As many of you know I have been a bit of a tall ships groupie since I first discovered them in 1993 at Newcastle. I tried from then on to see them somewhere each year as they made their way through the races and cruise-in-company legs of the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Races, subsequently http://www.sailtraininginternational.org/.
I wanted to experience sailing on the Thames on a tall ship, to capture the feeling of what it would be like in the great days of sail when City of Adelaide graced the seas, and be amongst the sails of other great vessels as we glided past the Royal Naval College at Greenwich from Woolwich, where some of the participating vessels were moored.
I had the great privilege to be drawn to sail on Oosterschelde. The day was calm and sunny and we sailed through the Thames Barrier.
I chatted with the Captain for several minutes about the vessel and discovered she had been a cargo vessel originally.
Here we are with Stavros S Niarchos to port.
Here I am on Stavros S Niarchos bowsprit in 2005, whilst crewing the ship round the Greek Islands with my husband, Alan, over Hogmany 2005.
and at the top of the 145′ mast.
I visited the National Maritime Museum and discovered City of Adelaide‘s builder, William Pile was not in the listing of shipbuilders in Sunderland. This sent me on a mission to find out why. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I met a lady called Cathy at Kings Cross on my way home. Her cousin Pam knows all about the shipyards. I have been to stay with her and spent many hours carrying out research and learning how to caulk under the experienced, watchful eye of Derek.
Am off soon to Greenwich for the Tall Ships Regatta from 4 to 10 September. So looking forward to it. It was at Greenwich last October that City of Adelaide was renamed from Carrick back to her original name by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Thanks Angie Townsend! Looking forward to being on your show on online community radio Radio Saltire – www.radiosaltire.org – next Wednesday 27 August 2014 between 6 and 8pm to talk about my writing, journey from Rotterdam to Australia with clipper ship City of Adelaide. Taking my clarsach along to play a tune or two. Come and join us!
1. This afternoon I was in Edinburgh for Bizarre Guitar and Terse Verse. Outside the Blind Poet I passed two girls. One had pink and blue hair. I heard her say ‘Adelaide’. I stopped dead in my tracks and spoke to her. She had come across especially to take in the wealth of Edinburgh Festival.
2. I caught a wee bit of Ade At Sea (http://www.itv.com/presscentre/ep1week12/ade-sea) and lo and behold, after a map appeared with Plymouth on the map, he visited the Eddystone Lighthouse.
150 years ago today City of Adelaide picked up passengers from Plymouth and set off for Adelaide, South Australia on her maiden voyage. Diary entry for 12 August 1864:
August 12, 1864 – Friday
A beautiful day. About 9.50 A.M. a boatman came to tell us that the City of Adelaide was in sight. Tom and I took a walk and bought several little things. At 1 P.M. we took a boat and sailed to the ship. Blanche and I wrote letters to the Patersons. Tom stayed on board for about two hours. We sailed at 4 P.M. We stayed on deck till after we had passed the Eddystone Lighthouse and then went down to bed but not to sleep. We were dreadfully seasick during the night.
This is Day One. My diary of City of Adelaide‘s final voyage as cargo on the deck of heavy lift ship MV Palanpur begins on 26 November 2013 and is written in tandem with this diary from the maiden voyage.
Last night I read at the Blind Poet pub in Edinburgh during a 5 1/2 hour marathon of spoken word put on by Blind Poetics (www.blindpoetics.com). My slot was placed amongst bards from the Federation of Writers (Scotland). I spoke briefly about my voyage on board MV Palanpur with our precious cargo clipper ship City of Adelaide taking her back to Australia, and shared a few poems written on the voyage.
Today I spent a worthy afternoon in the company of Bil & Cyn at Edinburgh Fringe, in the Blind Poet. For the last few years they’ve had their own show called Bizarre Guitar and Terse Verse, a wonderfully balanced duo act of poetry and jazz guitar (www.bil-cyn.com). They introduced me to their friend and guest musician Les Ray (www.leslieray.co.uk) who is also a freelance writer and musician, and is involved with the Cambridge Folk Festival. All three are coming to my house tomorrow, bringing their guitars and voice. So looking forward to that.
Today is the 150th Anniversary of the maiden voyage of clipper ship City of Adelaide. She was built in Sunderland by William Pile and left London headed for South Australia on 6th August 1864. Photo from Wikipedia.
William Pile and I share the same birthday – though I hasten to add, not the same birth year!
I was lucky to voyage with City of Adelaide on board heavy-lift cargo ship M V Palanpur, leaving Rotterdam on 26 November 2013 and arriving in Port Adelaide on 3 February 2014 after 70 days at sea.
Captain David Bruce was City of Adelaide‘s first Master and part-owner. Photo from Wikipedia.
I was delighted to meet Captain Bruce’s great-granddaughter Pam Whittle at a Reception to welcome City of Adelaide home, on board one of Port Adelaide’s cruise boats Dolphin Explorer. Pam is an amazing lady with two sparkling daughters, Meredith and Julia and all have become treasures in my life. This photo gives the scale of size of City of Adelaide, thanks to Meredith for sending me it.
… and here I am. I stayed on board Palanpur until City of Adelaide was off loaded onto the barge Bradley, her temporary home.
Thank you for looking! I hope to see you again soon.