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Alexandra’s last voyage

Rye’s bonfire is tomorrow. We drove past this afternoon as they were building it. It’s traditional to include a boat on the pile (though they usually don’t — even a scruffy old boat is worth something).

I got curious about this one and searched its registration: RX87.

It is a very photographed boat, mostly in recent years picturesquely dilapidating on the shore. Her name is Alexandra. According to this Flickr account “She is the Alexandra was registered RX87. She was built in 1958 at Whitstable for a Rye fisherman then went to Hastings where she ended her days.”

Her working days, that must be. She seems to have ended her days on land on Rye Harbour Road, and she will truly be ending them tomorrow night in flames on the salt flats in front of Rye.

Here she is halfway between then and now, looking scruffy but jaunty in a boat race in 1988. There are only a few scraps of blue paint on her today, but she is red in the oldest photos.

Google offered a glimpse of her in a book called The Coast Road, a 3,000 mile journey round the edge of England, published in 2004.

Maggie points out of the window to a man in a red baseball cap walking the beach. ‘That’s Peter White. He was a fisherman. Until three months back. He was the last to give up.’

Old habits die hard. Peter White is pacing the shore, looking to sea one moment, down at his feet the next, and then across to the small beached, red fishing smack, RX 87, that he owned for most of his working life.

I probably should have read a bit more, but I didn’t. I wonder if that was his real name and if he’ll be there at the end tomorrow. There’s an 85% chance of rain but that won’t stop them.

Good weekend, all!


Comment from Dan Patterson
Time: November 9, 2018, 11:12 pm

Last to give up.
I know the feeling.

Comment from BJM
Time: November 10, 2018, 2:05 am

I love this bit from Visit Rye: Rye Bonfire Night 2018 10th of November from 19:00 launches the winter season with Christmas in Rye just after then Rye Bay Scallop festival …

One might posit that’s a boatload of entertainment.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: November 10, 2018, 5:08 am

Poor boat 🙁

Comment from thefritz
Time: November 10, 2018, 12:26 pm

Curious I too hit the interweb and came across the Rye Bonfire Facebook page. There’s ‘ol Alexandra amongst the various posts.

Then I saw this: “A reminder to all visiting societies this weekend…Please note, absolutely NO dropsies/throwdowns, boom barrels or marine flares are allowed during the parade.
Boom barrels are also NOT allowed at the fire site.
Rye looks forward to seeing you on Saturday!”

So what are ‘dropsies/throwdowns’ and ‘boom barrels’?

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: November 10, 2018, 1:44 pm

Oh No! The landlubber in me is saddened that Alexandra would be torched. But I suppose in a sea-faring nation, there is regular supply of old wooden boats. But still—doesn’t she have lovely curves?

As a draftsman—I always wanted a box of Copenhaven curves, but could never justify the expense or need. Not much boat-building in the Texas panhandle. But there was always a box of railroad curves to use. Not as romantic though.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 10, 2018, 6:50 pm

Dropsies and throwdowns are homemade fireworks they used to throw at each other and the crowd. Boom barrels are barrels of gunpowder that go off with a load boom. They start the bonfire with one.

The procession through the streets can be quite a wild and lawless affair at all the bonfire processions.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: November 11, 2018, 1:11 am

Speaking of bonfires, are you guys hearing of the giant fire here in SoCal? This latest one is so bad, Trump is tweeting about it. Maybe something will get done this time? The big burn last year up north did nothing to wake up the Dems running my state.

You may not know, but Calif is a yuge environmental wacko state. Not big, YUGE. So we no longer clear dead trees, dead vegetation, dead anything from govt lands since that means running polluting tractors and brush cutters. And no way in hell do we light those controlled fires to clear areas in the winter — way too much CO2, don’t you know.

This fire was started at the old abandoned Rocketdyne site; some reports say by homeless living there. And it’s a straight shot through dead, dry, overgrown weeds in every direction. GD Democrats. Maybe Trump will withhold funds until something is done.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: November 11, 2018, 5:50 pm

Meanwhile, Kentish police captured the Folkestone bungler burglar. The guy apparently thought the was Smaug the dragon; the cops found him asleep on his horde of stolen swag, cuddled up to a box of jewels. Of course he says he’s innocent, and has no idea where all that loot came from. Riight. To the tanty, 7 years!!

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: November 12, 2018, 3:50 pm

An 85% chance of rain? Do they give intermediate numbers in England, then? Here the forecast is always “80%” or “40%,” never an intermediate value.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: November 12, 2018, 7:12 pm

Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee, has passed away at the age of 95.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 12, 2018, 8:37 pm

The procession through the streets can be quite a wild and lawless affair at all the bonfire processions.

I had quite the plagiarized poem based on this very theme worked out which started out with

“The Weasel stood on the burning deck…”

But discretion, combined with the fact it wasn’t good made me decide to pass on posting it.

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