Olla-Podrida: Julian Stockwin Newsletter, Summer 2013

COVER Caribbee UK 100

Summer 2013

[Olla-podrida: an affectionate 18th-century term for a colourful medley of items]
Some great contests and offers this month! You could win a salty CD, a proof copy of CARIBBEE or a fascinating book on Jane Austen’s England. There’s also an exclusive offer on Art Marine prints.


Nigthhawk News


Broadly Boats News

Firetrench Directory

+ CARIBBEE Collectors Set
This will comprise a signed, numbered and embossed UK First Edition, a signed cover postcard and an exclusive leather Julian Stockwin bookmark. It’s strictly limited to 500 Sets so don’t delay if you want to secure yours! The list is filling fast!

+ Publication schedule
The BETRAYAL paperback is out in the UK on 4 July, and in the US it will be published in October.

CARIBBEE is launched in hardback in October in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia/NZ and South Africa.

+ Kydd Club
Why not join? A nominal fee applies.

+ Print offer
Art Marine has produced stunning limited edition prints of the first eight covers of the Kydd Series from original oil paintings by Geoff Hunt RSMA. From June 1-14 “Olla-Podrida” subscribers can get a 10% discount on any of these prints – or any of the other fine works at Art Marine. Just enter STOCKWIN10 as client code and click on “check”.

+ Bristol Bound
Julian has been invited to join an open panel discussion, “The best Port of Trade in Britain: Bristol’s Maritime History” on 26 October 2013, 2-4 pm at The Studios, M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 4RN.

The event, organised in partnership with Bristol’s M Shed, is part of the Historical Novel Society’s new initiative Meet the Historians which aims to bring together members of the public and experts such as historians, archaeologists, genealogists, librarians, archivists and fiction and non-fiction writers.

This is a free event but please book your place by emailing <gerardboyce@blueyonder.co.uk>

+ Upcoming Age of Sail board game

Looks like fun!
+ Royal Patronage

It has been announced that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has agreed to take on the Patronage of The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, for a five year term from March 2013.

+ The Cuban Grandmother
We always enjoy hearing from Julian’s readers. Here’s one recent email, from Martha Berry, who describes herself as “a Cuban grandmother”…

“O’Brian got me addicted to Tall Ships. Imagine how delighted I was when I discovered Julian Stockwin. The Kydd books are wonderful. Julian knows how to combine romance with the harsh realities of life in the ancient Tall Ships during the wars.

Julian instructs (after all he was a teacher) and entertains. I can never put down Kydd’s books until I read the last sentence. People can be trained to write good English, but to produce masterpieces of historical and human interest is a gift. Julian has that gift!

I hope Renzi proposes before too long!!! He is not getting any younger.”

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Kydd books.

+ Looking for a Signed UK First Edition of a Kydd title?
On a First Come, First Served basis, we’re offering a special price for Signed UK First Editions of some of the earlier books. Email <admin@julianstockwin.com> for details of what is available.

+ KYDD review


Nothing quite gets the feet tapping like a sea song. In Kydd’s day sea songs were generally of two types – shanties, sung aboard merchant ships as a means of coordinating hard physical labour (the Royal Navy worked in silence), and forebitters, recreational songs sung by sailors around the forebitts (belaying points next to the foremast) in their spare time.

Julian has been known to perform a credible rendition of “We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors” himself!

And what author can say he has been serenaded during a book signing? A couple of years back Julian was delighted when the Falmouth Shout arrived at the local bookstore and lustily performed a number of favourite sea shanties.

So it’s no surprise that when Julian was recently emailed a nautical question by a group called “The Bounding Main” his curiosity was piqued. He looked into them and found they have been performing and sharing their love of traditional maritime songs for over ten years. We decided to have a chat with the founder, Dean Calin:

1. How did the group get started? Can you tell us a bit about each of the members?

Living in the Chicago area there are a lot of opportunities to become involved with theatre, both conventional (plays and musicals) and environmental (theme parks, museum reenactment characters). I was fortunate enough to have been performing at one venue or another with all of the current members of “Bounding Main”. When an opportunity arose to gather a group of people together who could not only sing but had a solid stage presence this group, almost literally, walked up on stage with me.

Jon Krivitzky is our music director. He has twin degrees from Washington University: one, computer science, he uses to pay his bills – he’s a programmer for a very successful medical supply distributor. His other degree, music, lets him have all of his fun with Bounding Main.

Gina Dalby and Christie Dalby are twin sisters who are a rare combination of intelligence, beauty and talent. For “Bounding Main” they are obviously wonderful singers, but they also write songs, and head up promotion.

David Yondorf is our baritone-cum-bass. David has mad, intuitive vocal skills!

For myself, I’ve been in and around performing all of my life.

2. What have been several of the highlights of your time together?

It is wonderful that we’ve had so many experiences together that this is actually a bit of a challenge to answer. From the gestalt of the group as a whole I would say that our most memorable time was our 2008 trip to Germany. We always have a wondrous time at every tall ship event that we perform at – Maritime music is best performed on a tall ship.

3. You’ve got quite a few interesting gigs coming up this year. Can you tell us a bit about what the group will be doing?

Well, there are two really big things for us this year. First of all, the American Sail Training Association has the tall ships back on the Great Lakes this year, part of the observation of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. We’ll be performing in three cities: Green Bay, Wisconsin, Bay City, Michigan and Put-In-Bay, Ohio. That last stop is where the official reenactment of the Battle of Lake Erie will be held. We will be a part of the opening of that event and are honoured and thrilled to be singing on stage and entertaining the audience as they wait in line for deck tours of these fabulous ships.

The second big event is that we are going to France for the Festival du Chants de Marin in the city of Paimpol on the coast of Brittany.

4. Do you personally have a favourite sea shanty?

I think “Blow the Man Down” is my favorite. It is iconic in its simplicity and is pretty universally understood to represent a song of working men of the sea.

5. The group has made four CDs to date, any plans for future recording?

Absolutely! While we love to perform in concert and we try to tour as much as possible, releasing a CD is the best way to generate international interest in the group and to satisfy our fans’ cravings for new music. We are assembling, arranging and performing new songs specifically for the next CD. It is a lot of hard work and we all have crazy schedules, but we hope to have the next release for 2014.

6. What do you think is the reason for the universal appeal of sea shanties?

For those that take the time to listen – to really listen to maritime tunes – I think they reach people as a tangible part of their heritage. It is one thing to read history books and listen to family stories, but there is something about song that touches a deeper part of the brain. One of the parts of our mission is to create a sound and tempo to click into the contemporary audience’s ear – to bring the ancient words in a friendly format into their personal catalogue of songs. I firmly believe that the maritime music motif could fill a void of creativity in the popular charts today. The manufactured music groups that are created today only spill out brain candy with no substance and I’d like to think that the vox populi call out for a form of music that actually means something to them.

Henry Fitzgerald asks: Why is Portsmouth called Pompey?

Julian replies: “Nobody knows for sure, but I’ve seen a number of suggested reasons for this friendly nickname for one of the UK’s major port cities.
Perhaps my favourite concerns Aggie Weston, a great female philanthropist to sailors, who became known as “The Mother of the Navy”.

It is said that in 1904 she was giving a talk at the Sailors’ Rest in Portsmouth on the Roman general, Pompey the Great. When she mentioned his assassination one of the audience, a little the worse for wear after a night on the town, shouted out ‘Poor old Pompey’ in a drunken slur. The name was taken up by others at the lecture and moved into common usage.

Another origin of the term that has been put forward is that a group of Portsmouth-based sailors who climbed Pompey’s Pillar near Alexandria in Egypt around 1781 became known as the ‘Pompey Boys’…

Or the source of this nickname could go way back in history. Portsmouth has been a port ever since Roman times, the Romans having a military base at nearby Portchester. Later when the port started to be developed locals nicknamed it Pompey, likening it to Pompeii, which was well known for its Roman ruins.

Another historical connection might come from the fact that Bombay was part of the wedding gift of Catherine of Braganza to Charles II. Portuguese seaman possibly saw a resemblance between the two ports and may have called Portsmouth ‘Bom Bhia’ which became Anglicised to Pompey.

And one last – Ships entering Portsmouth harbour make an entry in the ships log ‘Pom. P.’ as a reference to Portsmouth Point (this being too long). Navigational charts also use this abbreviation.

Do you have a question for ASK JULIAN? Email <julian@julianstockwin.com> with “ASK JULIAN” in the subject line and he’ll respond in a future issue.

Surviving alone on a life raft for 133 days, Poon Lim’s 1942 achievement remains a maritime record.

Poon Lim shipped out as a steward on the British merchant ship “Ben Lomond”. It was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat on November 23, 1942 and Poon Lim managed to escape before it sank.

After struggling for two hours in the water he managed to swim to a life raft and climb aboard. The raft was eight feet square but carried several tins of biscuits, a large water jug, some flares and an electric torch.

He rationed himself to a few swallows of water and two biscuits in the morning and in the evening, estimating that he should be able to stay alive for at least a month.

On two occasions rescue seemed imminent, once when a freighter passed within close range, and once when a U.S. Navy patrol plane buzzed his raft. But both times his frantic shouting was ignored.

To keep in shape, Poon Lim swam twice a day when the sea was quiet. He circled the raft, always keeping his eyes open for sharks.

He used the canvas covering of the life jacket as a receptacle to catch rainwater. He also made use of other materials that he had on board, taking apart the torch to get a wire, which he made into a fishhook.

Poon Lim counted the days with notches on the side of the raft.

On the morning of the 133rd day, April 5, 1943, he saw a small sail on the horizon. He had no flares left; he waved his shirt and jumped up end down in an effort to attract the crew’s attention. The craft changed direction and headed for him. They took him to Brazil, where he spent four weeks in hospital before going on to New York.

He received numerous honours, including the British Empire Medal. He was also granted permanent residency in the US.

An exciting range of books to recommend this issue…

“The Conquest of the Oceans”
by Brian Lavery
Julian was guest reviewer for this book at Literature Works

“Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England”
by Roy & Lesley Adkins
A vivid portrayal of the daily lives of ordinary people in Kydd’s day. In twelve thematic chapters, the Adkins recreate a world of forced marriages, child chimney sweeps, bull baiting, corpses on roadside gibbets, the horrors of surgery without anaesthetics – and more. It is, however, their vignettes of the challenges of daily existence that are most illuminating.

For a chance to win a copy, see CONTESTS

“Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea”
By Rod Macdonald
Whittles Publishing
In 1941 two Royal Navy capital ships, HMS “Prince of Wales” and HMS “Repulse”, the core of Churchill’s deterrent Force Z, were sunk with huge loss of life.
This is the first book to explore in detail the wrecks of these two famous ships, which lie at the bottom of the South China Sea. Specially commissioned illustrations accompany this moving account of the World War II tragedy.

+ We have a copy of “Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England” up for grabs.

Here’s the question: Name Jane Austen’s two sea-faring brothers. (Note: this contest is restricted to UK residents.)

+ For a chance to win an advance proof copy of CARIBBEE: what is the name of Kydd’s valet?

+ If you’d like to go into the hat for a “Bounding Main” CD – in what book does Kydd sing “Spanish Ladies” – to the delight of Admiral Lockwood?

Contests close at the end of June. Please send entries to <admin@julianstockwin.com> and include your full postal address.

Browse Julian’s website at <http://www.julianstockwin.com/>

Connect with Julian on Facebook and Twitter at :

We’ll be back in the autumn with a special feature on rum – in celebration of CARIBBEE!

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