BBC3 The Verb – Sea Special – Ira Lightman

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On 13th July 2015 I was delighted to be asked by poet Ira Lightman, a regular on BBC3 The Verb, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b061glf9) to collaborate with him on a commissioned poem using Standard Marine Communications Language in ‘dactylic hexameter’. We wrote the poem as dialogue, with me being rescued from the Corryvreckan whirlpool off the west coast of Scotland between Scarba and Jura by Ira, and then us voyaging together to Salford, Manchester.

We were to record at BBC Studios at Salford on Thursday 16th. I took the train to Newcastle where I met Ira and we travelled to Manchester together, returning later that day. The programme went out on Friday 17th.

We were very fortunate to have the spontaneous added atmosphere to our poem of fellow guests the Ballina Whalers humming background as we read. The Ballina Whalers are : Pete Truin, Jamie Doe and Sam Brookes, who sing sea shanties in gorgeous harmony.

South Uist poet Niall Campbell, winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for his 1st collection ‘Moontide’, published by Bloodaxe, was also on the programme, as well as novelist Susan Sellers who spoke on Virginia Woolf.

A Petit Pot of my Writing so far …

In 2006 I attended a couple of Arvon courses, in June at Moniack Mhor in Writing for Children which was my principal interest at the time.  This was with Mhairi Hedderwick and Cathy McPhail.  In July I went to The Hurst in Shropshire and indulged in  Travel Writing with Rory McLean and Miranda France.

Between 2009 and 2011 I was really privileged to work with children in Primary One to Primary Five across schools in East Lothian, freelancing with East Lothian Council Arts Service.  The work was part of the Curriculum for Excellence, and designed to give the children a different learning experience to formal teaching by having an artist delivering poetry workshops during which the children achieved four learning outcomes.  The children produced some amazing work.

One child inspired me to write the following poem.  She was reluctant to participate in the poetry workshop; I encouraged her to draw a picture into which she might later put words.

MELTING  ERIN

 

The northern light paled her small face

as she stared at the Arctic wilderness

that stretched before her

and stilled her hand.

 

All around sea lions barked

and clapped their flippers

at the great sounds they made

eager to make more.

 

The wind carried her hurt voice

to a distant polar bear

who slipped across the floes

to crouch beside her.

 

His breath shrouded her head

and she inhaled a power

that cracked the ice

and melted a spark into her hazel eyes.

 

Her fingers brimmed with colour

and caused an Aurora Borealis

that crackled and danced a path

into her darkness till her story unfroze.

 

She traced the footsteps of the polar bear

to the edge of an iceberg where she grew a castle

frilled with trees and studded with flowers

guarded by rabbits and blades of grass.

 

And on the ramparts  –

Erin.

 

This poem won 3rd prize in Thynks Publication ‘A Little Book Of Healing’.

In the early days I had several poems published, including in diaries on two occasions.  In 2011 I went to Chateau Ventenac and spent a week on a poetry course with Pascale Petit www.pascalepetit.co.uk/.  It was during this course I was distracted by the deadline for a poem which led to https://vimeo.com/49789591.  This poem has subsequently been published in Eiks an Eins here www.lallans.co.uk/pdfs/eiksanens02.pdf as well as numerous other websites, posted by Alastair Cook who was commissioned by northlightarts.org.uk/ to make the FilmPoem.  The Herrin Trail was long-listed for the McCash/Herald Poetry Prize in 2011.

A number of my poems have also been published in anthologies.

 

 

Tall Ships Regatta September 2014 and Serendipity

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.

Moored up at Woolwich Sept 2014 Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta 20140909_163540

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.

On board Oosterschelde sailing towards Thames Barrier 20140909_145534

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.

On board Ooseterschelde passing Stavros S. Niarchos to Port 20140909_131020

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.

On the Stavros BowspritPicture 057

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.

 

 

Radio Saltire 27 August 2014 – 6-8pm – www.radiosaltire.org

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!

Serendipities – 12 August

Serendipities today:

 

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.

All images

© Rita Bradd

Lashing the City of Adelaide in her cradle to the deck of MV Palanpur
Lashing the City of Adelaide in her cradle to the deck of MV Palanpur

This image is taken in Rotterdam, City of Adelaide has been wrapped in plastic after being fumigated to conform with quarantine regulations for Australia.

 

 

 

 

Blind Poet, Edinburgh

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.