One of Captain Bruce’s great-great-granddaughters invited me to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival which is held every two years in Hobart, Tasmania. I was so excited to be going back to Adelaide as my first port of call, especially as I was giving two talks on board City of Adelaide, on the weekend of 3 and 4 February. I was met at the airport by my lovely, generous hosts Ian and Jeanette, who are always very welcoming, fun and helpful, and friend Rosemary who was waving the Saltire.
I could hardly contain myself the next morning when we went to Port Adelaide to see the clipper ship. She is still sitting on barge Bradley, however a good amount of work is going on inside the hull, such as scraping off the old paint from the iron beams in the ‘tween deck and painting them with the original colour from 1864, planning out for replica 1st class cabins. New windows have been fitted into the stern where Captain Bruce’s cabin was, as well as a very smart new South Australia Coat of Arms.
It was such a thrill to have two fantastic musicians involved with the first talk. I had understood City of Adelaide‘s honorary piper, and Commander of Clan Ross in Australia would not be able to come along for the evening. As I immersed myself in the sights, smells and feel of the ship in the ‘tween deck where I was giving the talks, I heard the lilt of the pipes permeating through her planks. I rushed out and saw Des in finest regalia, playing the pipes. I was also hugely honoured that Adelaide-based international singer/harpist Siobhan Owen accompanied me on her clarsach (small lever harp) with my composition City of Adelaide : Farewell to Scotland whilst I read my poem City of Adelaide Bleeds before launching into my presentations to a well-attended audience.
I was lucky to meet Siobhan again in Edinburgh during the Festival Fringe in August 2017, when we repeated our performance on two evenings. https://siobhanowen.com/
Hannah Lavery, Creative Director of Coastword, invited me to be part of ‘Journeys with Poets’ during Book Week Scotland 2015 which ran from 23-29 November. Recently appointed BBC Scotland’s first Poet-in-Residence Rachel McCrum cast us under a spell of performance poetry, whilst singer/songwriter Kirsty Law delighted us with a capella ballads, and songs accompanying herself on keyboard. I brought along my clarsach, and read a few of my sea -related poems.
In the second half I spoke of my voyage on a heavy-lift ship with the oldest surviving clipper ship City of Adelaide/Carrick as cargo ship from Rotterdam to Adelaide, South Australia over the winter of 2013/14. We had a delightful audience in the cosy environment in the Library in Bleachingfield Centre, Dunbar, with refreshments and warm hospitality provided by Hannah.
It was a grand night, thoroughly enjoyed by all, and a fantastic way to put Winter’s chill on the back burner.
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 …
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.