The sweet smell of nostalgia, Barrel Organs & Barges

IMG_1739A display of the maritime history of Ipswich seen through a window at “The Waterfront, Ipswich, Suffolk” Copyright 2014

I have a tiny bolt hole on the East Coast and when I feel like some inspiration, a glass of real ale and a weekend of rabid gardening, I make a pilgrimage of about 160 miles and with a following wind it’s three hours well spent ! My last grass cutting expedition was completed at breakneck speed to make time to take in the delights of the Ipswich Maritime Festival.

When you get over “a certain age” there are things that come back to haunt you, reminding you of just how old you are and for me the above photo illustrates this very well ! It was part of a historical display of objects and ephemera recording the maritime history of the River Orwell on whose banks Ipswich was built (back in the 7th century). Amongst the objects on display were two very familiar pieces of kit that in the mid 1970’s I used to sell hundreds (if not thousands) of, in my time as a ships chandler in Notting Hill Gate, West London. At the top is  a “Walkers Log” and the grey box is an electronic “Seafarer Log”.

For the uninitiated, a “log” is a device that records the speed and distance traveled by a boat and without which, in the days before Satellite Navigators and Global Position Finders, navigation was almost impossible.

On a much larger scale what has happened to the Dock itself and the whole area surrounding the docks makes me feel part of a bygone era ! I remember when the dock was a thriving port with the last of the commercial sailing barges unloading grain, coal, timber & aggregate. Now where there used to be cargo ships moored up to granaries and coal yards there are bustling pubs, restaurants, high rise buildings, containing offices ,penthouses, a college and now even a university campus.

I suppose, the moral of this tale is that when you start seeing things in HISTORICAL displays that you used in the past or in my case sold in the past – you know you “have been around the block a few times” (are rather OLD) !


IMG_1736“Lucy and her barrel organ” © All rights reserved 2014

IMG_1720“A group of (Suffolk) Vikings about to strut their stuff outside The Old Customs House on the Waterfront”

IMG_1663It would appear that I am not alone in liking Adnams Real Ale – Thomas seems to have had one glass too many ! © All rights reserved 2014

IMG_1665SB Centaur, a Thames Spritsail Barge, built in 1895 in Harwich, Essex is one of the oldest surviving wooden barges. Apologies for the rubbish photo but the light was failing, followed by a torrential downpour of rain ! Check out the link to see Centaur sailing

IMG_1703© All rights reserved 2014


IMG_1704© All rights reserved 2014

IMG_1686© All rights reserved 2014

IMG_1677© All rights reserved 2014

IMG_1672© All rights reserved 2014

IMG_1729Swallows’and Amazon’s Ahoy ! Lovely safety boat – shame about all that glass-fibre stuff in the background ! © All rights reserved 2014

My next post will be a little less nostalgic !

About chriswoodartist

painter, print-maker and illustrator

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