Archive for November, 2007

Resource question: any musicians around here?

Thanks to who posted the link, I’ve spent far too much time on this website, where reproductions of various items from the 18th and 19th century are available – from clothes to mugs to toys to everything.

Among other precious things, I found reproductions of various flutes and fifes. Now here’s my question: the only instrument I’ve ever learned to play is this

(first one to laugh or crack some daft “blow” joke gets the Glare of Death, and by the way, I played this bloody thing REALLY well, so nyah!


Now I’ve fallen in love with this beautiful Rosewood Fife


and I wonder if I would be able to play it. Yes, both are flutes/fifes/fatever, but the piccolo looks far more complicated.

Anybody out there who could give me some information? Thanks in advance.

28 November, 2007 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment

Duchess and Princess

I can’t decide if I’m looking forward to “The Duchess”. I’m curious about the story, and hey, costumes, but… eh. Let’s look at a real Duchess for now. I guess I’ll stick this to my desk, for it expresses my feelings after writing “The End” under a story!

Duchess Georgiana

Well. The following is for (and everybody else who appreciates a beautiful woman in a beautiful gown), and I had to smile for various reasons. A quill, a quill!

Princess Margaret

Edited to add: the lady is (or rather, was) Princess Margaret, Elizabeth’s sister (not the sister of Mrs. Turner. The sister of the Queen of England.)

Back to cleaning the kitchen. Ah, my Sunday’s are filled with joy…

25 November, 2007 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

News: "Sea surrenders ring 89 years on" (BBC)

Let’s say “awww”, everybody…

To Stanley from Flo, 6 March 1916

Awww. :,-)

22 November, 2007 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

Resource: Horatio Nelson's Funeral

Admittedly not the most cheerful of subjects, but being the daughter of a retired funeral director, funeral customs and rites have always interested me. Don’t wave it off as morbidity; the way the dead are treated can tell a lot about a society.

Our hectic times do not allow for mourning and saying good-bye anymore. People aren’t allowed the dignity of breathing their last at home, relatives are far too often dying alone at a hospital, with nobody there to accompany them on their (probably) last way.

I’m of the opinion that funerals are, expression of respect for the deceased aside, mainly a support for the bereaved. It’s the moment when they’ll fully realise that the separation is final. The healing process can begin.

Back to Nelson.

As I’m a little old lady, I still remember Lady Di’s funeral. Yes, yes, I know, people roll their eyes nowadays about this wave of mourning sweeping over the world. Know what? Roll your eyes all you want, I don’t care. I know it’s the “cool” thing to do, a bit like laughing about Britney Spears. Yet she still sells tons of CDs. Ah, the sweet smell of hypocrisy in the morning…

I think this public mourning was important; there was a need for it, and no matter what your thoughts on Lady Di were or are, those who liked her needed to express their feelings. And looking at the following pictures of Nelson’s funeral, you’ll see that “the big do” was neither an invention of the 20th century nor have the journalist writing about “the biggest funeral in Britain ever” done their job. Royal funerals have always been very impressive, but I’d say Nelson’s was on parr with them.

Let’s start with the hearse – which was built to resemble the “Victory”, figure head and flag and all.

Horatio Nelson’s Funeral

A memorial sheet – “Britain’s last tribute of gratitude to her departed HERO, HORATIO VISCOUNT NELSON

This memorial sheet shows the order of the funeral cortege. Position 29 shows seamen of the “Victory” carrying the heavily dammaged flag of the ship. The funeral service at St. Pauls went on for four hours; when men of the Victory’s crew were supposed to cover the coffin with flags, they tore off strips of the large St. George’s flag and put them in their coats or shirts, just above their hearts.

Horatio Nelson’s Funeral

Thousands and thousands of people gathered along the Thames, on the bridges, windows and roofs when Nelson’s body was transported from Greenwich to Whitehall and to the buildings of the Admiralty. Please note in the bottom left corner the man who fell into the water, and how somebody tries to fish out his hat. People were lined up like sardines in a tin, and it’s simply impossible to imagine the atmosphere of that moment.

Horatio Nelson’s Funeral
(click the picture for the larger scan)

The funeral cortege arrives at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Twelve seamen of the Victory lifted the coffin from the hearse. Six admirals held a canopy of black velvet, and then Nelson’s body was carried into the cathedral.

Again you can see the mass of people gathering.

Horatio Nelson’s Funeral
(click the picture for the larger scan)

People in Britain were hit hard by Nelson’s death – not only because they lost their hero, but also because it was one of those things they simply never considered. Heroes don’t die. It’s nothing they bothered to think about. That’s why it was important to offer the opportunity of public mourning, to send out the signal: “It’s final. Now we have to move on.” Nelson was mourned by people from all walks of life; for one moment, there were no class distinctions – everybody was shocked, even if not everybody was grieving.

The British government, profiting from this major “public relations event”, didn’t cover itself with glory when it came to respecting Nelson’s last wishes; an unpleasant story repeating with Collingwood some years later.

“Gratitude has a short half-life…”

19 November, 2007 at 2:03 am 1 comment

"Samuel Blackwood" now available on Amazon Germany!

From :

The first book of the “Penny, Dreadful & Tarbottom” series has set sail and will hopefully soon make port in your mailbox!

The book will be available through my website in about ten days from now. I learned today that ye merry folks who are customers of Amazon Germany can already place orders for “Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased)” through – yes, you guessed it – Amazon Germany.

Delivery time for orders will very likely be the same for both direct sale and Amazon, but if you combine orders, you can save a bit of money if you order through Amazon.

“Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased)”
by Emma Collingwood
Illustrations by Amandine de Villeneuve

Amazon states a delivery time of “2 to 5 weeks”, but ten days to two weeks would be more realistic.

I will sell the book as soon as I have it here on stock, so if you order through my website once the shop is online, I will ship immediately.

The book will become available through Amazon UK in about two weeks. I’ll keep you posted!”

14 November, 2007 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

Birthday THANK YOU!

Thanks so much to everybody who has sent me birthday wishes by LJ, email, snail mail or bottle message! It’s been a fantastic day for me and the party was woohoo! So good to see Naurring again and finally meet Bimo, who’s as nice in real life as she is online (see? See? There ARE good people online!)

Thank you to Alex and Anonymousie for the lovely cyber roses, and to my favourite Duck With Camera for the amazing surprise! Big hugs for all my friends, and for Earthgrazer and P. for calling, C.C. for the flag (I herewith claim this living room for Britain…) and to all my friends who made this day so special for me. Extra hug for Menegroth, who knows why. I’m still having a dopey grin on my face.

Love you all, and I hope all your kindness will be returned to you thrice.

me xx

13 November, 2007 at 8:16 pm Leave a comment

Resource: the secret diary of a midshipman

In 1820, Captain Frederick Marryat (author of “Mr. Midshipman Easy”) made a series of drawings about his life as a midshipman. His “career” as a middie started in 1806, so we can assume that these drawings describe events between 1806 and 1812.

They are definitely not “high art”, but that’s exactly the charming thing about them – they are honest and straightforward, without the pathos and glorification of the paintings atthe National Gallery or the Maritime Museum. They show how Marryat saw the world as a middie, and while he certainly exaggerated or satirised some bits and pieces, I think we can take these drawings as a rather realistic look on the life of a midshipman in the very early 19th century. 🙂

Midshipman Marryat

Here’s a – eh – “self portrait”, showing his mother weeping because his departure is near. He’s poking his sister in the backside, and the sea chest is being packed with all the things a young gentleman might need at sea (“powdre, green tea, portable soup, holy bible, cherry brandy, meat”.) He’s marked the sea chest with “Mast. Will. C….. – H.M. Ship Hellfire, West India Station”. Please note the painting of Nelson over the mantle. 🙂

Midshipman Marryat

Young Frederick drops his hat in shock as he sees where he’ll spend the next six years of his life. The older midshipmen are smoking, drinking rum or playing the flute, while a young middie is cleaning his boots. Another is napping, and one of his “brother officers” obviously plays a prank on him.


Here you can see a midshipman who’s been “masted”. That’s a light punishment which means he has to spend a couple of hours in the masthead. The young gentleman is napping (he has tied himself to the cross tree so not to fall down). Usually this meant to miss a meal – unpleasant, but not harmful. However, when the weather was rough, it was not really fun to sit in the masthead! No captain would have risked a midshipman to fall to death in a storm, though, so it’s not like one of the lads would have been sent up there just before a hurricane…

Midshipman Marryat

Badly secured cannon balls are rolling dangerously across the deck during rough seas, and the midshipmen try to get a hold wherever possible. It was NOT easy to keep balance under such circumstances, as you can see on the picture!

Midshipman Marryat

Now look at this poor, dripping wet and freezing middie in the front of the picture! Poor lad – the others had more common sense (or the means) and wrapped up in thick cloaks and coats. A ship’s boy is bringing some rum for the officers on watch to warm up.

Midshipman Marryat

A midshipman is serving his lieutenant a cup of tea. The lieutenant, spy glass under his arm, supervises the daily holystoning of the deck.

Midshipman Marryat

Once a midshipman passed his lieutenant’s exam, he was allowed to partake in the – eh – “festivities” in the officer’s mess. Some of the officers are already completely plastered, one is throwing his cup after the ship’s boy and – well. I don’t want to know what’s going on in the background, and as I’ve been to parties like that, I guess I just post the picture and shut up now. 😉

Midshipman Marryat

Hope you liked them! 🙂

5 November, 2007 at 1:15 am 3 comments


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