As I wrote at the start of my semi -autobiographical novel Tales From The Sea, I had been destined for a life at sea for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can recall vividly even now the first time my family started to take it for granted that I was going to sea when I left school.
It was at one of our family get togethers when I was about six years old. Suddenly Granddad put his large hand on my shoulder and announced in a voice which brooked no argument. “ Edmund is going to sea when he grows up. He will be the first Captain of a foreign going ship in the family.” The sound of his voice dropped into the sudden silence as everybody in the room nodded sagely. On hearing this and feeling his large hand squeezing my shoulder, I did not protest. I suppose at six years old, I did not fully appreciate the true implication of what was being decided on my behalf. Oh, many times I had sat at the feet, so to speak, of my grandfather and listened to his stories of when he was at sea on White Star Liners. He had talked of the people, the ships and the sea much of it incomprehensible to me. He made life at sea sound so glamorous, mysterious and fascinating that I had been attracted to the sea from that time.Tales of the Sea is a novel based on my life at sea between 1957 and 1969. Going to sea and leaving home were very dramatic events in my life. In its pages the reader will meet the characters with whom I sailed and their antics. They will experience nights ashore and visit through my eyes exotic places. Read about the different ships, old and new as they plough across the oceans carrying the products of the world. Throughout there is the sea and its dangers. The sea can be angry or benevolent. There are blissful days or violent storms.
During my life lecturing at a British University after leaving the sea, when my students' attention appeared to be wandering as we discussed licencing in the bus industry or something similar, I would entertain them by relating some of the events that had happened during my time at sea. They encouraged me to write these stories down. I composed a series of short stories out of which came the novel Tales From The Sea.
The essence of the novel can be summed up in a poem:
The sea is calling, always calling
Even when the sailor has long left voyaging behind.
The sea calls, ever calls,
Over the noise of this sometimes dreadful life.
To sail away , to leave this life behind,
But to where?
That is what adds to the thrill.
Let the voyage be long or short,
Let the oceans be calm or fierce,
In the urge to sail away,
Lies man's eternal quest
For something new.
Why oh why does man always strive after the new
When accepting the present would save a lot of heart ache.
It has long been a mystery to me but,
More than in any other profession,
The sea offers a greater chance to satisfy this need.
The sailor never arrives
Because each new port is a stepping stone to the next
And on to the next
Until the nomadic lifestyle grows too much.
It maybe that the sailor observes other people
Settling into a pattern of life which brings rewards
Such things as family and home,
Anchored to other views of living
Rather than constantly on the move.
So the sailor leaves the sea
And puts down roots.
Or does he?
The sound of a seagull screaming ,
The wind moaning around the roof of his house
The sound of waves lapping on the shore
Will awaken in the hidden recesses of his mind
The longing to feel the excitement once more
As the ship goes silent,
Ready to leave for the sea.
The novel can be purchased from Amazon as a paperback or for downloading to kindle or other e readers. Also from www.smashwords.com for downloading and www.createspace.com as a paperback.