Monday 30 March 2009

Belle's Blog - Of Yardarms and Terminologies

Captain Ahab’s Word for the Day: ‘Be sure to use the correct boating terminology at all times.’

Now this is where I have a fundamental problem with the whole boating malarkey. My brain appears to be totally of the landlubber variety and nautical terminology whistles in one ear and out of the other. Captain Ahab gets somewhat exasperated when after numerous boating trips and owning a boat for several years, I still refer to sitting at the pointy end. Seems it just isn’t done and I should by now know my bows from my stern, my port from my starboard as well as being au fait with gunwales, tillers and fenders. Perhaps I should read more Hornblower or watch old episodes of Captain Pugwash. Then again, terminology in general is something I’ve never been very good at, sporting terminology in particular. Half time is when you buy an ice cream at the theatre, isn’t it? Tennis players have just two more points to win before they can stop for a drink from the umpire’s call of ‘Juice!’ And that Rugby is played by gentlemen with odd shaped balls is something that I suspect whoever said it was quite accurate about. Given that I have a lifetime of being terminology blind, it’s not so surprising that I have problems wrapping my head around all this boat-speak. However there is one nautical phrase I have taken to like the proverbial duck and that is knowledge of the sun’s whereabouts in relation to the yardarm. Now I do know enough about narrowboats to realise that yardarms are not a feature, but this is a mere technicality. No self-respecting Galley Slave should be without this most useful of phrases. So enthusiastic am I about this, that you’ll frequently find me imbibing some alcoholic beverage or other simply out of respect for tradition. For once I find myself in agreement with Captain Ahab and can see that correct boating terminology most definitely has its uses. And as the sun is over yardarm by anyone’s estimation, I’m taking my G&T and am off to sit at the pointy end while the Captain uses that stick thing to drive the boat from the back.


D Baynham said...

You really need to visit The Robber Button, we don't have a yard arm, if there is food there is a drink to share it with...apart from brekkie, when there is only tea or coffee, unless of course there is any bucks fizz about.
As for tech terms...err I am a bit of a dimwit, but I did do a few months in the navy so I do know my port and starboard, bows and stern even what the heads are.

Paula on NB Wharram Percy said...

Loved this! Not sure how I got here but am enjoying this.

Andy Tidy said...

And here we are - 8 years later and even today the yardarm was noted and a snifter imbibed!