Wednesday, June 09, 2010

blowing, hoot, shanties


Posted by PicasaBlowing in the wind.

At this time of year at weekends and on bank holidays,  we hear the whistle of the single track railway between Tunbridge |Wells West station and Groombridge. It is one of those railways revived by enthusiasts and is used by parents taking their children out for a treat or a picnic. The whistle, more like a hoot, is a single note, and comes to the ear like an "oh!". The short of sound an old fashioned woman might make when shocked by something coarse on indelicate. Sound though it is, you see it as a sort of O in the air.

A programme on sea shanties on BBC 4 holds us enthralled. We hear a choir of fishermen singing the songs, which they inherited from their parents and grandparents. Their faces are weathered  by their calling.  They live and work in the North Yorkshire, seaside town  of Filey. Their expressions are grave, kind perhaps, but far from jovial. They do not smile easily, and you feel that when, rarely, a smile appears, it will have true warmth and sympathy. Like their songs, these faces seem to come to us from another age, a harder, simpler less facile age.

2 comments:

Lucy said...

I do like that 'O' in the air, like a smoke ring blown by the engine's funnel.

Plutarch said...

I once saw a smoke ring blown by a steam engine passing under a railway bridge. I was hitch hiking and remember the perfect ring rising above the parapit of the bridge.