Olla-Podrida: Julian Stockwin Newsletter, Spring 2012


Spring 2013

[Olla-podrida: an affectionate 18th-century term for a colourful medley of items]


Nighthawk News


Broadly Boats News

Broadly Guns

Firetrench Directory

+ Writing tips
Julian has been invited to contribute a monthly post throughout this year to a special site on writing historical fiction. Check it out! <http://writinghistoricalnovels.com/2013/01/10/researching-the-thomas-kydd-novels-by-julian-stockwin/>

The next title in the Kydd series, CARIBBEE, will be published in October. There will also be a Collectors Set, strictly limited to 500. Full details next issue but if you want to ensure you’re on the list now – email admin@julianstockwin.com with your details with “Collectors Set 2013” in the subject line.

+ “Quarterdeck”
The February issue is just out and includes part one of a two-part article by Julian.

Edited by George Jepson, “Quarterdeck” is a splendid monthly guide to the best in maritime and historical fiction. George told us he’s also planning to do a special interview with Julian later in the year about CARIBBEE.

+ “Vega” update
Julian has a high regard for the humanitarian work of a former Baltic trader built in Norway in the late nineteenth century, Historical Vessel “Vega”. Working on a shoestring budget, the plucky little ship under the dedicated stewardship of Shane and Meggi brings much-needed supplies to isolated communities in Asia, sailing about 6000 miles each year. Please help her to continue her work in the future by joining Julian in supporting the campaign to bring her under the Norwegian flag.

+ Out and About
Julian will be giving a talk on April 6 at the Annual Writers Weekend of the West Country Writers Association.

And on April 24, as part of the Tavistock Festival, Julian will be taking part in a Meet the Author Afternoon. Julian’s books will be on sale at the event. From 1 – 4 pm at Tavistock Library, The Quay, Plymouth Rd, Tavistock PL19 8AB. 01822 612218.

+ More praise for BETRAYAL

The UK paperback edition of BETRAYAL is published on 4 July. It will come out in the US on October 1.

+ Lifetime Membership
We have extended the term of the Kydd Club to Lifetime Membership. Current members will be automatically upgraded.

+ Bookish
Julian’s books are featured in this new U.S.-based site for readers, authors and publishers

+ Stockwin memorabilia
Special memorabilia packs are available. A nominal postage charge applies. And there’s a special draw of the next 50 orders – a special Navy Blue Kydd Cap to the winner!

+ Signed First Editions
If you’re looking for a specific signed First Edition why not email admin@julianstockwin.com – we have a few titles still available but don’t delay as they will go fast! We’re offering a New Year discount of 15% off any purchase of two or more titles until the end of February or until stocks run out.

+ Down Under Centenary
A major milestone this year will be an International Fleet Review in Sydney. This celebrates the first full gathering and entry to Sydney Harbour of Royal Australian Navy warships a century ago. On 4 October 1913, the battle cruiser HMAS “Australia” led seven cruisers and destroyers into their home port. A spectacular programme of naval events is on offer from October 3-11 this year. Julian is proud to have served in the Royal Australian Navy, as well as the Royal Navy.

Something for everyone in our selection of salty titles.
+ Elizabeth’s Sea Dogs
by Hugh Bicheno
Published by Conway

The author shines a light on the motivations and exploits of a unique group of corsairs who came to define an era. Many today have heard of John Hawkins and Francis Drake but a corsair culture grew up spontaneously on either side of the western English Channel long before these two were born – and continued long after their deaths.

+ The Challenge
by Andrew Lambert
Published by Faber

In a book written with passion and expertise, the author contends that, in three titanic single-ship actions, a decisive victory was gained by Britain in the Naval War of 1812. The most iconic of these encounters was the one between HMS “Shannon” and USS “Chesapeake”. Within a year after that, Washington DC had been taken and burnt by British troops.

+ The Great Trade Routes
Philip Parker
Published by Conway

Perhaps the ultimate single-volume history of the development of trade and commerce across the world. Superbly illustrated with material from many of the world’s leading museums, archives and libraries, this book celebrates the far reaching impact that the global exchange of goods had on history, civilisation and culture…and more.

+ Blackbeard
by Craig Cabell, Graham A Thomas and Allan Richards
Published by Pen & Sword

Edward Teach is one of the legends of the so-called Golden Age of Piracy. This book confronts the myths that have grown up over the years about Teach and focuses on the roles played by the governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood and Lieutenant Robert Maynard in hunting down and bringing to an end his short, bloody career.

+ Nelson’s Navy
by Brian Lavery, Conway Maritime

One of the most successful titles in Conway Maritime’s 40-year history, this book is now updated with the inclusion of sumptuous colour sections and new material. It was the first single-volume work to cover in such depth the vast and complex subject of the Georgian Navy and it’s still the book most recommended by Julian as an indispensable reference for all readers of historical novels set during the age of fighting sail.

* For a chance to win a copy of this magnificent volume, see CONTESTS *

Across the UK, 14,000 Sea Cadets (aged 10-18 years) in 400 units take part in nautical adventure activities every week and learn valuable life skills.

Julian was a Sea Cadet in his youth and remembers his time with the Coventry unit with great affection. [J: add link to Sea Cadet pic 2rd from bottom <http://www.julianstockwin.com/Album.htm#SEA_CADET>

The flagship of the Sea Cadets, T.S. “Royalist” has given 30,000 young people the unique chance to experience life at sea – but she is now well past her prime.

Five million pounds is needed for a new ship to ensure this great tradition can continue well into the mid-twenty first century. Three million pounds has already been raised by the Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC).

Julian recently spoke with Cdr (SCC) Noel Wheatley MBE RNR, Senior Staff Officer, London Area Sea Cadets about the appeal. This is what Noel said: “The Sea Cadets themselves have been targeted with raising ?250,000 towards the cost of the new ship. If any of the readers of Olla-Podrida wish to make a contribution to help the cadets reach their target, they could send a cheque made out to MSSC to London Area Sea Cadets, HMS President, 72 St Katherine’s Way, London, E1W 1UQ. If people prefer to pay electronically they can email me for BACS details.” Noel’s email is ssola@btinternet.com

We’ll keep you posted…

For a chance to win a copy of “Nelson’s Navy. The Ships, Men and Organisation 1793-1815” here’s the question –

In what professional capacity is Brian Lavery connected with the National Maritime Museum?

Emails to admin@julianstockwin.com Please include your full postal address. Deadline: February 25. First correct entry drawn will win the book.


“And I had done a hellish thing
And it would work ’em woe
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah, wretch! said they; the bird to slay
That made the breeze to blow!”

– The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge

Sailors were (and many still are to this day…) a superstitious breed, and a number of their long-held beliefs about good and bad luck at sea relate to animals.

+ Cats
Should a cat cross a sailor’s path on his way to his ship – bad luck will surely follow.
Conversely, if a cat, especially a black cat, runs ahead of a sailor en route to his ship, good luck will ensue.

And felines aboard have a strong connection with the weather: a cat licking its fur against the grain means a hailstorm is on its way. Did you know cats carry lightning in their tails and can call the wind by sneezing? If you anger the ship’s cat you have no-one but yourself to blame if it subsequently summons a gale.

+ Birds
Killing an albatross, as the poor old ancient mariner found out, will bring disaster.

Three gulls flying together directly overhead means someone on board will die.

The sighting of a swallow while at sea, however, foreshadows good news.

The feather of a wren slain on New Years Day will protect a sailor from dying by shipwreck. This belief stems from the tale of a beautiful mermaid who lures seamen to their death by singing in a voice so sweet none can resist. One man, however, did discover a means of counteracting her charms but was foiled by the mermaid changing herself into a wren on New Year’s Day.

+ Other animals
A shark following the ship is a sign of inevitable death.

Stormy weather is foretold by the appearance of a white hare or a dead hare.

According to legend, pigs can see the wind and speaking the name of this animal will cause the wind to blow unfavourably.

Let’s leave the whole question of the bad omens of women at sea for another issue…

We know that quite a number of ship modellers are also great fans of Julian’s books. This issue we catch up with two of them, Clayton Johnson and Malcolm Darch, who will be familiar to regular subscribers of “Olla-Podrida”. (There’s a special section on ships in miniature on Julian’s website. <http://www.julianstockwin.com/Ships%20in%20Miniature.htm>

+ Clayton Johnson:
“After finishing my 1:50 scale Vasa project during the summer of 2012, I have not seriously planned any new modeling projects. One of the ideas that I have in mind is a model of ‘Essex’, a 19th century (1876) wooden screw sloop of the U.S. Navy. This ship is significant because not only was it one of the last wooden warships ordered by the U.S. Navy, but it was also designed by the famous ship designer Donald Mckay. The ship was sold to a private individual in the 1930’s and was burned for her metal on Minnesota Point in Duluth. Some of her remains, including part of the keel, harbor keelson, and floors and first futtocks are still visible today. This would be an interesting project and has something of a personal connection to me, since I grew up in the Duluth area.

My ‘Vasa’ is currently on display at the Folke Bernadotte library at the Gustavus Adolphus campus in St. Peter, Minnesota. The staff there is very happy to have it, since the college is named after the Swedish king that built ‘Vasa’.”

<http://www.julianstockwin.com/Vasa.htm> (The Vasa page on Julian’s website)
<https://sites.google.com/site/clayton707/home> (more on Clayton and his passion…)
+ Malcolm Darch:
“Since finishing the commission of HMS ‘Minerva’ I have built a D Day diorama and a Livery Barge. The Diorama represents Landing Craft Tank 455, the largest British built Landing Craft (200 feet long). The model depicts Sherman tanks modified to swim for the 13th/18th Royal Hussars landing on Sword Beach very early on D Day immediately after the Flail tanks had done their work. The model was commissioned by the son of the First Officer. The sea was carved out of lime, painted and varnished.

The Livery Barge was started in September 2011 and completed in July 2012. It took 2,384 hours to complete. I employed a professional gilder to apply the 23.5 caret French gold leaf to the 37 figures I had to carve out of English boxwood; she also gilded the house and the gargoyle dolphins. The roof is covered in pure silk. I did all the decoration on the model which was clinker planked in satin walnut with the carved Coat of Arms of the Livery Company who commissioned it.

My current commission is of HMS ‘Agamemnon’ launched 1781 from Bucklers Hard in the New Forest by Henry Adams. My job is to build the model to 1/64th scale, the same as HMS ‘Minerva’ in English boxwood to represent the vessel during Nelson’s command after 1794 so that she is shown with a Dolphin Striker and all the other Admiralty modifications to that date. The model is full hull, mounted on a mirror showing rigging but no sails.”
<http://www.julianstockwin.com/Minerva.htm> (The Minerva page on Julian’s website)

Malcolm has promised to keep us posted on the work in progress of the ‘Agamemnon’ model. And we can be sure that Clayton will not be resting his carving tools for long…

Many settlements around the world have a strong maritime connection. Here’s three:

+ Amsterdam – birthplace of the mother of all seatraders.
In 1602 a Dutch company was formed to take advantage of the burgeoning European demand for spices. The VOC, or East India Company, would become the most significant company in the history of world trade. By the late eighteenth century the VOC had on its books 150 trading vessels, 40 warships, 20,000 seamen, 10,000 soldiers and nearly 50,000 civilians. Its trading routes connected the legendary spice islands, Japan, China, India, Africa and Europe to Amsterdam.

+ Funchal, Madeira – cheers!
Situated on the Atlantic shipping lines, Funchal was a famous port of call for ships sailing across to the Americas or south around Africa to Asia. Barrels of Madeira were often taken aboard naval ships to be exposed to heat and air on long sea voyages; the process caramelised the sugars, enhancing the flavour of the beverage. The modern-day replica of Cook’s “Endeavour” loaded a cask of Madeira in 2003 and after sailing around the Atlantic for 12 months the precious cargo was returned to Portugal and later auctioned.

+ San Francisco – sailor beware…
Demand for labour for the China-trade clipper ships spawned a breed of men known as crimps and they were a very real threat to the nineteenth-century sailor ashore. Crimps kidnapped men for the merchant service. One of the most infamous was James “Shanghai” Kelly of San Francisco. He kept a boarding house and also ran a number of bars. Cigar makers in Chinatown made up special opium-laced cigars which he handed out to sailors to render them unconscious.


We’ll be back in the Summer!

Browse Julian’s extensive website at <http://www.julianstockwin.com/>

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