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Ship’s Log 24 Dec 2018

Christmas eve, we have reached Christmas eve 2018,  I sincerely wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I wish time permitted me to write to or phone you all.

My day started with a nice surprise, an enquiry about a favourite of mine, the classic B I ship ‘Rajula‘. I keep a print of the painting, very long since sold on my salon wall, just for pleasure. 

Rajula at Madras

It was my links with B I, Blue Funnel, Ocean Steamships and similar companies that prompted Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to ask to meet me. Curious how loose threads in our lives intertwine as we grow older, to make the individual yarn that is each of us. 

A gentleman had written to me “My father,  … , sailed on the Rajula in 1951, as Navigation Officer. I was wondering if there is a painting I can purchase?  He’s 87 now and this will be his last Christmas, so I am crossing my fingers.”  For me it is always a pleasure to paint classic ships so I do hope this surprise becomes a command. I’ve learned the hard way though, not to get excited, that no enquiry is firm until there is money in my bank, that banks are not to be trusted although some staff are very honest, and that the funds must not be counted on or spent until the task is completed which includes the client being satisfied.

Having answered the enquiry I headed for my galley making a solid ‘English’ breakfast of 2 lightly friend eggs, mushrooms, beans, toast and some excellent home made Dundee marmalade given me by my good friend Katy Goodwin over which I read more from RK-J’s book “A World Of My Own”. 

Thehillac galley

The book is a good read for any single sailor who lives alone. I’m surprised by how much of the ‘psychological’ side, as an artist alone, I have in common with the author. What I could never match is his courage, his immense knowledge, we do though to some extent share a background in traditional seamanship and bloody minded persistence.

Today I’ll take some real exercise, it helps ward off winter fat, gives me more energy [later]. I’ll sleep better for it.

Aside from a long walk I’ll give the house a through ‘holly-stone’ and polish, just in case Santa decides to make a visit.

My intention is also to have all shipshape and ready for action so I can focus on painting the ‘Titanic‘ “Plymouth Harbour” and write the two requested articles about my now famous “Roaring Forties” and “I Have Urgent Dispatches“. 

“Plymouth Harbour” progressing nicely

Christmas eve 2018 … a mild calm day, a heat wave by December standards, this during a very wet and windy month that ended rather abruptly, a long sunny dry autumn.

I’m surprised to have lived so long.  I remember thinking at school when learning about calendars, as an 8 year old boy, thinking 1990 seemed an unbelievable distance in the future and wondering if I’d live to see it pass … 

Gordon age about 7

By 1990 I was well into my second marriage, a lovable wife, two beautiful children whom I totally adored, a nice house at Plymstock ; a history far astern now.

Christmas is not such a big event in France as it is in some other countries although it is going this way.

France, a predominately Roman Catholic country, despite the futile efforts of our Muslim ‘friends’, Christmas eve is usually THE family evening, often with midnight mass attended after. Christmas day tends to be a quiet affair so I’ll use the peace to start writing my two requested articles.

I wish you a very merry Christmas.