Dirty Dutch Coaster and Other Ships

Travelling from Rotterdam to Hull the other week, on a grey and breezy North Sea crossing,  I spent hours on deck, enjoying the busyness of the cargo vessels puttering back and forth, back and forth across the steel-grey waters.  I was reminded on John Masefield’s ‘Cargoes’ – the last verse of it anyway:

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rail, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

My memories of our trip are of grey seas, grey skies, grey industrial coastal landscapes, grey wind turbines.  With red highlights –  those busy ships: the cargo of lorries on our ferry: and an almost lurid sunset.

Click on any image to view full size.

Linked to Debbie’s Six Word Saturday, which I’ve been following for a while.  Time to join in!

And also an entry for the Which Way Photo Challenge.

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

30 thoughts on “Dirty Dutch Coaster and Other Ships”

      1. Ahem…. are you sure about that, Margaret? I think we can manage fog pretty well down here at any time of the year. We just call it brume or mist or harr or smir… But maybe there’s such a think as proper Yorkshire fog that I’ve yet to experience? 😱 😉

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  1. your photos never fail and these are absolutely up to speed – the last one in particular is superb. And the Masefield (which alas I don’t know by heart – must be too young) explains the 6 word title.


    1. So I was lying when I told my American blogging friend Kerry that all Brits Of A Certain Age know this poem?! You disappoint me Ros! I was just having fun with my camera on the voyage – I was quite pleased too.


    1. I guess you learnt the Masefield at school too… I was pleased with the red. I was mucking about with my camera – I’m not at all clever technically – and this time it worked.

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  2. Very interesting photos – hadn’t seen the big trucks exposed on deck before like that. Your beautiful pictures appear to tell a tale of a reasonably calm crossing. Can’t imagine those lorries in storm conditions! Busy port, mmm, I wonder it’s going to look like on 1st November 2019?


    1. Hmm. Don’t ask. And don’t ask about the Channel crossing a few years ago, that took over six hours in a dreadful storm, some of which was spent mid-channel just marking time as the crew desperately tried to stabilise the lorries, which had all lurched sideways…..

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    1. I recently read an article that invited the reader to imagine Roman and post-Roman Britain. Then, the seas were the highways, the well-trodden (mixed metaphors here) routes, known and understood. Inland was scary, dangerous, Ill – travelled, and to be avoided. I thought this was an interesting and entirely believable idea, and as far as the North Sea goes, maybe little has changed. It’s quite simply a motorway for goods and services.

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      1. How interesting. So places like London and other ports began in part as intermediate places between the ocean highways and the wild and woolly interior. Makes me consider the sea in a different light – I had always thought of it rather as a wild and unpredictable danger for sailors and fishermen (for example as emphasized in some old sea shanties).

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      2. Exactly, me too. But with the sea, there were stars and the moon giving information quite well understood even then. The scary forested interior however, unmapped, and populated by wild animals and evil spirits was a different matter. This new way of looking at the travellers’ world makes sense.

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