Development of writing. Sam Grant. – latest novel for 2022 – Chilling Encounter. Action, mystery. Aboard Steam Vessel Albany Contessa.

Poems were chosen to be published in varied editors anthologies before first novel Atlantic Hijack, reached final manuscript publication in 2015. Listed at URL

Poetry composition and submission of short story entry continues into 2022. A third martime novel has been published, July, 2022. Chilling Encounter by Sam Grant. In Chapter 15 – Steam Vessel Albany Contessa, is positioned off West coast of Nigeria, on course to discharge cargo at Lagos. Author, started this novel in 2020, but decided to complete Galactic Mission Part Two and followed through with adaptation of Persuasion’s Price, mystery novel to Persuasion’s Price The Play.

A complex cast of characters board S/V Albany Contessa, in action, mystery novel Chilling Encounter by Sam Grant. Contessa, leaves Liverpool, on passage to Lagos with a part cargo of gold ingots, stowed in refrigerated chambers.

Author Sam Grant’s blog, was started in order to hopefully, achieve a platform for readers, with poems, stories and blog commentary about author’s writing ventures. Pre- lock down this included market events, to advertise and talk about author’s novels, which has led, into detail being given, to author, by visitors to market events, about their own writing projects. Conversation, has followed, with wives, sons, and daughters, whose husbands, fathers, saw sea service, after discovery of author’s professional seafaring background.

Maritime novel, sea poems and sea short stories, are part of author identity. For example – Atlantic Hijack, River Escape, Parthian Kinsman, Winter in New Jersey.

Understandably, with ten years of early sea service, from age of fourteen, shore based work life presence, has subsequently, had a strong influence on life experiences. This has led to, author selection of varied genres, for his novel, poetry and short story writing.

Recognition has been given to poems and short stories, with the request, by five Main UK Deposit libraries for individual copies of Sam Grant’s publication – Mists of Time, in hard cover. January, 2021.

Recently, author published thirteen chapters of Dancing on the Beach by Sam Grant, on WordPress. This was a Lock Down venture, intended, to provide a read for anyone at home who finds interest, from a read of a romantic thriller.

A prime reason for these blogs, is to provide an avenue, for readers to discover author’s writing, and books, which can be found in Somerset and Wiltshire Libraries and can be purchased from good book stores. Author requests customers provides the ISBN from Back cover of books to assist stores to order where not in stock.

Display of publications
Table display – Sam Grant, novels and anthologies.

Lock down, of course ,ensured a universality for all authors. That, their books were locked up, inside book shops! Author did not have that problem. Public libraries in the South West of UK have always been very supportive, for which the author, is immensely grateful. These books are donations, to date. This, mainly because there are specfic suppliers of books, to both libraries and book stores. Books, for libraries are sourced , mainly from mainstream publishers, which is understandable, when appreciation, is made for publication quantities, needed to meet supply.

Author, continues to update readers, about latest writing projects and experiences, with regard to writing and publishing. A Smorgasbord of topic, from an individual writer, Sam Grant, with everyday name of Colin Coles.

Selection of books, published in partnership with Paragon Publishing, Rothersthorpe.

Display of books – Sam Grant – not including – Galactic Mission Part Two – published in 2020

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Featured post

Writing into future after novel publication

There is that sense of relief when your novel finally goes live. Latest Chilling Encounter has reinvigorated reader interest, for this author’s maritime novels and perhaps even sea short stories and poems?

Prior to publication, sci/fi novel Galactic Mission held sway as most popular Sam Grant novel, on author’s Amazon site. Galactic Mission, the first novel in series, did sell at Frome’s Silk Mill Small Publishers’ Fair back in July 2022. There’s perhaps a positive about a sci/fi novel, in that it can hold potential interest because it’s not going to go out of date until that future approaches?

Photos, biography commentary with previews for novels are available at URL

It has always been author’s policy, to get writing again, before a novel is published. That’s not to say that you as author, shouldn’t contact journals, media outlets etc… prior to publication with view to getting mentioned and or advertised. You really need to get out there and do book events, seek, radio or TV interviews, if possible.

This time, sea related journals have been contacted prior to Chilling Encounter publication, but also sea port situated library services. Interest has been shown by Liverpool Library Services, in that their team leader has messaged to say that copies are being ordered. There’s mention of Liverpool, several times in authors maritime novels. Topicality exists. Author, is in a type of shocked state! Over how diligent he’s been with – Chilling Encounter’s, publication publicity. A seventh novel.

Author’s not written sky with colour smoke or banner streamed over towns and cities with fleet of planes to advertise – “Sam Grant’s latest novel Chilling Encounter is published and available from good book shops near you.” But there’s been more direct advertising than at other times, when a novels been launched.

With regard to other writing, author has recently been very fortunate, to join, a newly started writing group. Latest novel is sea related. More seaside, than at sea – with narrative development, around a new character.

Listed at URL

Author, remembers second novel Dancing on the Beach, where plot narrative was very developed before first chapter was even written. In perhaps, a novelist’s ideal writing world, scenes in each chapter were set out in those brain storming like bubbles on paper. Dancing on the Beach, romantic thriller did grow from chapter plotlines previously dilenated. Characters need introduction, of course, but their position on stage, and place in the novel was pretty clear from the outset. Author, cannot say that all novels started with such a crafted structure!

A short story has begun, with plans to adapt, a novel into screen production. Persuasion’s Price, mystery thriller has been play adapted, into Persuasion’s Price The Play.

A few years ago, author didn’t envisage a screen production, for one of his novels, could be considered a possibility. Previous Theatres Studies, did lay foundation for play writing and originally Dancing on the Beach by Sam Grant owed its later writing from an idea to produce a musical, consisting mainly of a group, who were deck chair assistants, employed on a beach during summer months.

Needless to say, this was unlikely to go ahead since author is not a musician. Possibly, this earlier idea filtered through into becoming storyline for novel?

A screen adaptation is planned for a maritime novel. Confidence abounds, around this project, because unlike publishing a novel, where it becomes the real thing, there’s unlikely to be a screen film production of author’s novel, ever hitting a real studio screen anywhere near you!! In author’s Walter Mitty land of creative endeavor, Tom Cruise has already been pencilled in for role of Captain Mike Peters and Hugh Grant as Captain Dougie Pearce!! Reference – Chilling Encounter by Sam Grant. Action, mystery novel on the high seas.

Novels featured are listed at URL

Front cover to romantic novel Dancing on the Beach by Sam Grant.
URL (ISBN 978-1-78222-431-0)
Back cover to romantic novel Dancing on the Beach by Sam Grant.
URL ( ISBN 978-1-78222-431-0)
Front cover to Persuasion’s Price, mystery thriller.
URL (ISBN 978-1-78222-687-1)
Back cover to Persuasion’s Price, mystery thriller by Sam Grant (ISBN 978-1-78222-687-1)
Front cover, to an actor’s copy of Persuasion’s Price The Play. URL

ISBN 978-1-78222-870-7

All books are available through good book shops. Please give ISBN to good bookshops.

For example, Waterstones, WH Smiths or a good independant book shop.

Broadband down for few days

How quickly we take for granted modern technology. Issue was resolved after an hour or so on phone to BT. The young woman at BT was very helpful and a replacement hub arrived the next day. It’s a good lesson for those of us who benefit from modern technology, that there will be enormous pressures on work forces to keep systems up and running. We are very fortunate to benefit from the skills employed across such a wide range of industry.

Author, managed to read two books and although day to day internet activity ceased a reappraisal of priorities was made. Very fortunate that there isn’t an e-Bay business to run.

Author ccmpleted two chapters of a new novel and started a short story before ability to continue was foreshortened, mainly due to interuption in online access.

Liverpool Library Services had just contacted to say that they believed there would be readership for Maritime novel and would be ordering copies for their libraries.

Chilling Encounter is now available at Frome Library. Point of interest. That’s in edition to Amazon and availability at good book shops. Please give ISBN

Africa continent, 3d image, white background. Pre worded photo. Front cover design Chilling Encounter by Sam Grant


First in series. Preview at URL Atlantic Hijack

Second in series at URL River Escape.

Recall of story, poetry competition, raffle entries

Royal Mail Leicester, over the years posted competitons for employees, in courier magazine and other postal communications. Competiton wins, for author, at time, included a set of gardening implements and a win of £300 BP Vouchers. Long service awards, gave choice of household goods. A set of cooking knives was chosen, on one occasion. Author gave a ten pence coin to presenter of award. It had to be explained that when you’re given knives, scissors etc… a coin has to be handed over, not to sever a relationship. Manager Eric Cook was bemused? Puzzled? Fortunately, someone in the group knew about this tradition and it was explained about not severing a relationship. A Somerset uncle of author’s was particular about this, and handed over a coin when given gardening shears one Christmas.

Workplace national lottery group entries were rampant at time. Lottery organizers, at Market Harborough office got fed up with buying fifty plus tickets and lottery participation reverted to choosing the weekly bonus ball. Win was ten pounds. A significant reduction in the original possible shared prize punt! Author won with number one, on occasion. Apart from a yacht club raffle prize of dinner for two at a popular Devon restaurant there are no memories of significant chance wins from raffles.

Swiftly moving forward, to 1990, author entered a first poetry competition sponsored by United Press.

Poem “Dispatch Time,” was chosen for compilation of poetry in their Publication “Book of Dreams.” It was amusing because poems were said to be composed by the best of works from poets around Britain. It was a first entry, by author, but most likely gave encouragement for further entries to Forward Poetry competitons, from 1990 up to 2022. A number re- published in Poems with themed notes in 2016 and Mists of Time. Poems and short stories, in 2018. Poem “Eye of the Storm,” short listed apparently from, 60,000 entries across the world.

Short story competiton entry has not been as prolific. “Station Encounter,” a short story was entered into a literary festival. The discipline of competition entry is beneficial, where you have to follow instructions with right word count number, and adherence to rules. Author, was fairly attuned to this after over one hundred poem competition entries.

“Station Encounter,” is about encounter with an alien on Stroud station, in 22nd century. This short story unfolded into sci/fi novel Galactic Mission and Galactic Mission Part Two. A number of short stories have been entered for competition locally. Forward Poetry has also published several of author’s short stories.

A breakaway from poetry, novel and short story writing was made in 2021 with publishing of “Play – Persuasion’s Price The Play.”

A new novel has been started. Newest project type, hopefully, in autumn is a screen written adaptation of latest novel “Chilling Encounter.” Point of interest.

(Africa continent, 3d image, white background) Front cover, without title “Chilling Encounter,” by Sam Grant. Most recent Sam Grant publication, July 7th, 2022. Amazon listed.

Please give ISBN 978-1-78222-685-7 for Paper back editon, to good bookshop, who can order in

Recent reader has ordered via Waterstone’s for first novel Atlantic Hijack.

Second in series. Complete story, in itself. Complements. Follows on from Atlantic Hijack

Persuasion’s Price The Play. Front cover from play edition. Adapted for stage from novel Persuasion’s Price (2019) Thirty copies were on sale on Amazon in the United States. Copy number required for play production.
In a state, somewhere in America, Persuasions Price The Play might go live on a stage?

Edition preview and listing is available at Sam Grant Author.


Welcome return of Silk Mill Small Publishers’ Fair

Welcome return of Frome Writers’ Collective presentation of small publishers, authors, illustrators, at Frome’s Silk Mill on Saturday July 2nd, 2022. A wide range of expertise through a spectrum of publications, accompanied with editoral, publishing and illustrative attendance across stall holders.

Local authors and publishers displayed their books. Contributors, from as far afield as Nottingham, Dorset and Devon.

Rain did not deter a lively get together of both contributors and visitors to the Fair, which was opened by historian Peter Clark, who kindly talked with author and asked about his writing path to publication.

On June 24th, 2022, author’s novel “Chilling Encounter,” was published. A novel started in 2019, but not completed until May 2022. Copies were not available for Small Publishers’ Fair, unfortunately.

Introduction to novel writing started with a re-write of a novel first started in 1985, named “Pilot’s Daughter.” A new plot was developed while author attended “craftyyournovel” classes in 2012 and with A new title Atlantic Hijack, action, mystery novel was first published in 2015.

Back cover photo – Atlantic Hijack.

A journey through novel writing saw publication of “River Escape,” among other publications. A second sea story, with first person narrative from Mike Peters, once more. Character, in this novel overtook author’s executive officer role in merchant service, at this point, as newly appointed First officer aboard Albany Princess. Author, did join, a tanker, in the River Fal, as senior apprentice, in 1963. Voyage description and technical references were developed from those experiences. A fictional plot story line, was created for writing of River Escape. (2018) by author

River Escape, action, mystery novel. Paperback cover photo.

Chilling Encounter follows four years after River Escape, in June 2022. Covers were photo shopped and produced by Paragon Publishing, for all three maritime novels.

Chilling Encounter, action mystery novel, third in series, of maritime novels is available on Amazon listing and from good book shops. Please present ISBN 978-1-78222-685-7 to secure order. A reader recently ordered through Waterstone’s, a copy of Atlantic Hijack ISBN 978-1-78222-291-0

Interest for Galactic Mission, science fiction led to a sale to Ellie from Wareham, who was visiting Frome, who is an artist, also into writing.

When Galactic Mission was first published in 2017, a reader in North America wrote that she couldn’t put “the book down!”

There were several very interesting conversations with authors, who visited the Fair on Saturday. Mainly seeking information about how to promote their novel and the possibilities for publication. Author’s novels are partner published wth Paragon Publishing Rothersthorpe.

Africa continent, 3d image, white background. Cover for latest novel without text Chilling Encounter by Sam Grant. Published 24 th June, 2022

Paul McCartney performs at Cheese and Grain, Frome

Word got around and those in the queue, at the Cheese and Grain were phoning friends and family to get down there quick. Caught a Radio 4 transmission and a person local to Frome was chatting about obtaining four tickets for the show. The presenter, asked if the BBC could have two of the tickets? But they were reserved for friends. Quite right!

Author’s not that qualified to write about the popular music scene. A little voice in background chants – “you seem to manage to write about nearly everything and anything, if the mood takes you.”

The gig at Cheese and Grain was a warm up for Glastonbury, which was a rip- roaring success. BBC crtiticised for delaying live transmission. Believe there were ten songs performed at Cheese and Grain, with performance starting at five, in the evening.

Way back, author’s eldest sister, a teacher, remarked that underneath, every girl students desk, photos of the fab four were displayed. This, at the height of Beatlemania. Years later and there have been many follow on success songs and performances, from Beatle star, Paul McCartney. Not least the 2004 Glastonbury appearance, apart from this years fantastic 2022 performance,

Author, was on the north american coast, aboard an oil tanker in 1963, with the Beatles arrival on tour. Mobbed by thousands of fans there. Led, to the first eighteen most played discs to be Beatles hits, for radio channels. Much, to the chagrin of American disc jockeys, who resented the fact that Elvis and other American singer stars, and groups, were replaced by the Beatles, in their hit parade!! The songs played were a bit of home, for those aboard ship. Author, serving, at time, as senior apprentice, on a tanker, which carried oil to North America from Venezuela and Mexico, on six month voyage charter, to Metropolitan oil Company.

The Cheese and Grain, Frome performance of Paul McCartney, made national newspapers, with a photo of the building displayed, in the Times.

Frome Festival starts this weekend. An out of the blue performance by Paul McCartney has certainly highlighted the town and set scene for all the activities and performances, which have been prepared, for the 2022 Frome Festival.


River Escape, the novel, captures shipboard environment, in part from author’s experiences aboard tanker, on the American coast. Back cover to novel displayed. Point of interest. Fictional story line, but technical aspects, ship description etc….drawn from author’sprofessional sea – going experiences.

Back cover display from second novel, River Escape, in series.
Chilling Encounter, by Sam Grant, has recently been published. June, 2022. Third in series.

Details available at URL

Chilling Encounter by Sam Grant. Action, mystery novel. Soft and hard cover edition + Amazon Kindle ISBN 978-1-78222-685-7 please provide ISBN for good book shops.

Destination: Lagos Nigeria. Author, has returned to a prologue epilogue format, similar to that of Atlantic Hijack, in this latest Sam Grant, maritime novel – Chilling Encounter.

A leg injury, has led to Mike training for a shore position in retail management. He’s manager of a store in the prologue, but in Chapter one reader is plunged into previous sea – life experiences.

On leave from serving aboard one of the company’s oil tankers, in role of First Mate, Mike is offerred position of Staff Captain, aboard Albany Contessa, premier refrigerated liner in the fleet. His wife is able to join him, with grandparents, returned from Rosario left to child mind, in the summer holiday, during the voyage.

The rescue of a coaster off the African coast leads into a deadly situation, where the Foreign Office have to intervene to stave off an international incident.

Third in series. Preceding novel, River Escape, and Mike gets tangled up with a civil war in Venezuela. In Chilling Encounter, he meets again, with Peter Haynes, Chief Steward, who first appears in Atlantic Hijack.

Composition by Hand or Type Written?

Recently, read a commentary, that declared – hand written script produces better writing than author script, completed through a keyboard.

It depends on the nature of the beast? Would be this author’s answer. For one thing, the appearance of author’s writing is invariably untidy. What’s the point of preparing a hand written grocery list, while there’s a struggle to unravel item written, while stood in the way of other customers in a store? Well, most of the items can be unravelled and success rate is usually above average, than without a list; and anyway, no one else is likely to have the faintest interest in reading it. A shopping list – ingredients for a novel, perhaps?

One school of thought states that for memory retention it’s better to commit a shopping list to memory. Albert Einstein was of the view, apparently, – that he preferred writing down information or referencing it, rather than cluttering his mind with unnecessary memory. While not possessing a mind, like the great man’s, prefer his reasoning. Hence, an intention, to diary trivial everyday events, with a knowledge that these can return meaning, when read back, weeks or months later. Also, the too rapid scribble of a shopping list, as mentioned, gives a sometimes more coded, than explicit list of what’s required from the shop.

Writers, can be dogmatic about writing technique. There’s that grip of the pen or pencil. A more personal involvement with writing process, experienced when hand -writing script on to paper, suggesting, creativity at work. Stories, commentary, on blog site are often prefaced with several pages of ramble, by author, before approach to keyboard is made and that final draft emerges from original mist.

Ideas, in particular verse, author knows will run away from mind, within milli – seconds if not scribbled immediatly on to paper. Testification, to value of hand written, as against booting up a device?

Apparently, John Denver, argued with his wife; left her at home; and jumped into a ski – lift. A journey to the summit lasted half an hour, in which time -” Annie’s Song,” was composed. Do not have record of whether he later transposed his song by keyboard or pen, but the song was already completed. No hand writing or keyboard required.

Ideas and sentences can develop before a move is made to record written words. A type written transposition can work well in these situations. The method can vary and flexibility of a human mind suggests that a move can be made to be equally creative whether keyboard or note pad is employed.

Writers, are invariably expressing a point of view, over writing techniques, but can come across, with a best and only approach to writing! There’s a definite need to improve writing skills going forward, especially when new genres of writing are attempted. There are several ways to skin a rabbit etc…

Probably, five years previously, for this author, hand written is best argument may have appeared to offer greater creativity. Now, the keyboard gives instant recognition to the presentation of ideas, dialogue and description, which is not delayed by the practical slowness of hand written script. Author, still often writes preamble by hand and likes brain – storming ( bit over- rated description, in this case!) ideas for chapters, into hand written, stand alone boxes, which contain entries – like a very short synopsis. It’s most probably, a bit of kidology, to convince author that framework for his novel is building meaningfully!

Display logo for Book fairs. Mists Of Time, First novel Atlantic Hijack, River Escape, Dancing on the Beach by Sam Grant and Galactic Mission, can be viewed beneath action, mystery novel, River Escape.

All novels and anthologies, including most recently play – Persuasion’s Price The Play, can be viewed at: –


Point of interest. A third action, mystery, maritme novel is in preparation toward publication. June 15th, 2022.

Music and Song in Life

Those born in the nineteen- seventies and since, have been born, in the western world, into a deluge of recorded music; be it cassette, CD and the likes of Spotify with fingertip internet access to music. Earlier birthers remembered strategic songs and music, through gramaphone records and popular music station radio.

Other families, in the nineteen – fifties probably owned more forty – five records, than author’s did. Eldest sister, bought a record player with four forty – fives, which captured the songs and music from Oklahoma. This followed with a smattering of forty – fives of popular show songs.

In danger of registration for nerd potential, author’s first bought record was a long playing 33 of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto. Part of intitial attraction could well have been the plush purple cover and golden crown on its front. Listening booths did come into vogue, but this purchase followed from listening to a radio broadcast from part of the concerto. A long playing classical music, mainly Beethoven, collection was building, through to sea-going days. Later, a failed love affair, led to girl friend de- camping with said collection.

Prior, to the electric record player a wind up “His Master’s Voice,” player, with a photo of the dog listening to a trumpet was available. Metal needles needed replacing fairly frequently, but an aunt, subsequently reclaimed the wind up player. Apparently, her brother had only borrowed it! Memorable records were few, other than, ” Smoke gets in your eyes,” and the drinking song, which goes “drink, drink, drink,” at the start, some readers may recall.

School day music remains in memory. A head teacher often played – Praise to the holiest in the heights, as the morning prayer hymn. Another favourite was -Eternal Father strong to save. He’d added a final verse- “for those in peril in the air.” Former students fought in the Battle of Britain, apparently.

A piano teacher was keen on teaching students to play “The Lambeth Walk,” coupled with Toreador from Carmen. Chopin minuets accepted, this was tempered with the song “Tammy. ” A modern pop song.

Music made forced entry on author’s admission to pre- sea training college HMS Conway. A cadet, who was from Llandudno, owned a battery operated player and the Everly Brothers songs dominated the hut’s airways, so to speak. Repeat plays of “Wake up little Suzy,” “Bye, bye, love,” and “Cathy’s Clown,” were made. With limited record supply – there were repeat plays!

Also, of course, martial music, in the form of Reveille and the Last Post, featured daily over a two year plus one term training period. Author was so popular that he served an additional term? No, he failed his passing out exam plus every GCE, save English Literature which he pursued on his own, without class room study. It was not on the syllabus.

It may have been a condition of shipping company Houlder Lines that author completed an additional term. In general though, author has been accepted for employment from interview. Possibly an indication that the acting profession might have been as good a choice as seafaring?

Classical music reappeared in author’s life aboard an oil tanker, which traded regularly between Venezuela and New Jersey. Classical music was played on a battery operated player owned by the Third Mate. His record collection, included West Side Story, which chimed with living part lives, in the United States. Author, previously watched a Spanish sub -titled film version of West Side story, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It is that paricular songs evoke memory, which thread through lives lived.

“Blue, Blue the Sky is Blue,” was a song playing at the World’s Fair in New York, when author visited, and recalls that memory. As does ” I wanna be your man.” A Beatles song. A reminder of New Jersey, where this Beatles hit, was played consistently, across American radio stations at the time, in1963.

Popular music has the power to reconnect with memory and is believed to mood enhance.

Way back from childhood the playing and singing of Auld Lang Syne revives memory. Author’s parents would attend a Robbie Burn’s night celebration. A Scottish doctor friend invited them to a local gathering in Torquay for those absent from their homeland. Although there was no direct known family connect. New Year Parties, every year, did seem to have poignancy with hand clasp and togetherness of singing. Forgetting of old acquaintances, is no bad way, to start afresh with arrival of a new year.


Preview – Third in series. Maritime novel by Sam Grant – (extract) – further into novel, where Mike Peters, as Staff Captain interacts with passengers. His wife’s aboard Albany Contessa, to give support in his new role, which requires more etiquette than aboard an oil tanker.

Chapter 8

I returned to my cabin. Jane wasn’t there, but on the table, in the day room was a note, which read – Mike – in Smoke Room, if you want to find me – Love Jane x. I did want to find her and made my way there. Although the evening meal was over, an aroma of smells, which included that of roast beef lingered in the corridor from the adjacent dining saloon on my approach. A boiler suited engineer, said ‘good evening, sir,’ on passing. The eyes of two apprentices, sort of swivelled in my direction, from inside a cabin, with its door open, as I walked past. The senior apprentice, having no doubt, appraised them of my arrival, aboard, from when he was on the bridge. Four deck apprentices were aboard Albany Contessa, who came under – First Mate, Bill Cooper’s area of responsibility.

I heard Jane’s voice as I approached the Passengers Lounge, which doubled as the Smoke Room.

‘Did you really?’ Jane was sat across from a grey haired, vivacious older woman. She turned and smiled at me, as I entered. Two engineer officers were playing darts at the far end while the bar steward polished then reached up and hooked wine glasses back to their position, above the bar. A couple, who I subsequently discovered were doctor Robert and Mrs Lucy Sinclair, were sat at the far corner.

‘My husband returns,’ she said. I reached out to shake her companion’s hand.

‘Jackie Braithwaite, we haven’t met.’

‘Very please to meet you,’ I replied and sat next to Jane.

‘A regular Blue Circle Line passenger,’ I’m told.’

‘That’s right and Jane tells me that you met aboard ship. Perhaps I’ll have some luck like that. No, not really. I couldn’t cope with long absences. I think you need to be from a seafaring background, don’t you think?’

‘It probably helps,’I said.


‘You’ve sailed aboard the Contessa before, I understand?’

‘Oh yes, but this will be my first visit to Lagos. I’m sort of attached to the ship and am quite happy to go wherever she goes.’ There was a pause in the conversation before she said;

‘I don’t want to appear rude, but I have had rather a long day. I hope you don’t mind if I leave.’ Jane replied.

‘No, we quite understand. we’re the same. It’s been quite a long day travelling to join the ship, hasn’t it Mike? I nodded in agreement and made to rise from my chair, as Jackie Braithwaite, got up from hers.

‘No, do stay where you are, please. I’m just going to ask Max, if he’ll make me a cocoa.’ Max ,being the passenger steward behind the bar. The two engineer officers previously playing darts were now sat with two other passengers. Jane kind of waved to wish them a good night. I didn’t consider it necessary to introduce myself and anyway. I’m sure Jane would have made them aware of who I was. We decided to follow Jackie’s lead and returned to our cabin. Jane opening the door with a key

‘We’re at sea now,’ I said

‘Maybe, but it’s not just the ship’s crew. We don’t really know the passengers, do we?’

‘True’ I said. ‘Are you suspicious of anyone?’

‘No, but I’m not totally sure I would totally trust all of them on a first meeting. And this is what it is.’

‘You’ve met, I mean talked to all of them then?’ Jane, went to fill the kettle which was on an evening tray left by the steward and called back from the bathroom. There was a lurch and we both reached out and took hold of whatever part of the cabin was nearest. Jane, grabbed the bathroom door handle and I, the back of the settee nearby.

‘Hit a bit of heavy sea by the feel of it. Not that unexpected,’ I said. You’ve talked to them all then?’

‘Yes, pretty much. I’m having cocoa, like Jackie.’

‘I’ll join you then,’ Whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, Jane started running through the passenger list, with her take on them, so to speak.

‘Jackie’s retired, but apparently still tutors students.’

‘Right. What about the couple with the engineers?’ I asked.

‘Robert and Lucy. He’s a doctor. She’s his partner. Not sure what she does. work wise, but they’re aboard for the cargo passenger liner experience.’

‘Did you get to chat to the others?’ I asked.

‘Oh yes, well save for John Palmerston – Smythe. He wasn’t happy that he was given a single passenger cabin. Apparently, Blue Citcle Line head office stipulated that he could have a double. Peter sorted it out. He’s very good at smoothing over the waters, isn’t he?’

‘There spare cabins. We’re not at full passenger capacity. Oh yes, Peter knows the art of diplomacy, in these matters. Not sure I’d have that sort of patience.’

‘It’s probably just as well you’ve got me with you to temper any impatience that might surface, then, don’t you think Mike?’

‘If you say so.’

‘I do. Now Daniel Musgrove and Helen Taylor. They’re a mysterious couple. I mean they appear to be partners, but it might be more business than a personal relationship.’ Jane continued a run through the passengers.

‘Is she Nigerian, I mean by birth…?’

‘I didn’t find out that much, but she talked fondly about growing up there and it does appear it’s a return to their homeland. Stewart Hopkins and Pauk Jenkins, I’m sure I’ve seen them at some head office function.

‘You might’ve down. Past experience of passengers aboard cargo liners is that several can be relatives of the owner or employed by the company, in some capcity.’

‘You recognize them?’

‘No, can’t recall ever meeting thes two. Do appreciate your being on board, you know.’

‘To smooth over your possible lack of relationship skills toward passengers. Is that what you mean Captain Peters?’

‘You know I don’t just mean that ,’ Jane walked across with a tray which contained two cocoas and a plate of biscuits, which she placed on the table on the table next to the settee

‘Isn’t it great to be together. I mean the two of us,’ she said and sat next to me.

‘Don’t you miss Carol and Dinah?’

‘Of course, I do, but they’ll have a whale of a time, with father and mother and then Mike, normally I don’t get to see you for months on end. I’m in no way complaining.

‘It is all about compromise, I suppose,’ I said.

‘How very philosophical of you. Are you compromising your role of newly appointed Staff Captain by having your wife aboard, then?’ Jane smiled, with that look of careful what you say, as she handed me a mug of cocoa, and held out the plate of biscuits.

‘You know I don’t think that. Compromise is not the right word. More a golden opportunity for us to be together,’ quickly rescuing the situation, from any idea that Jane interfered with my role aboard ship. It could be that a husband might not want his wife in close proximity, to a place of work. Jane understood, however, demands placed on a professional seafarer, having grown up with a seafaring father. Seafaring was a way of life, not like work in an office or factory.

‘What’s got into you Mike? You’re Captain aboard the company’s flag ship.’

‘Staff Captain, I need to remind you. Not actual Captain.

‘As good as,’ I hadn’t told Jane, about the situation with Captain Pearce, although perhaps intuitively, she understood, as women can, my role was more than that of shadow, to Captain Pearce.


Chapter 9

‘You can have a ten – minute break, before you go off watch, but you need to be back up here to hot wash the windows.’ I heard Bill, give these instructions, as I entered the chart room. Previously, the apprentice would have been on look – out duty. The spread of wheelhouse window, was encrusted with brine, that had dried, now the sun was up. Hot washing was not as sophisticated as that of a car wash and required fill of buckets of hot water and a clamber on the monkey Island, before the water was flung on the windows. Several buckets of water were needed to completly clear the spread of windows. It was pre – breakfast and I wanted to meet up with Bill, to find out more about the cargo aboard and anything that might be of interest. My appointment was short notice. Sister ship, Albany Viscountess, was the only other vessel with a Staff Captain, and she was in South America. Appointment to Staff Captain was a definite step up the ladder, but I needed to reacquaint myself with the finer points of being aboard a refrigerated cargo passenger liner, rather than more practical and specfic demands of my previous ship, an oil tanker. Albany Contessa, was on authomatic pilot and we were the only two in the wheelhouse. Bill, looked up from noting the course on the giro repeater, when I walked into the wheel house, from the chart room.

‘Good to see you, I’d hoped we’d get a chance to talk,’ he said.

‘Yes, I said. ‘Are you expecting Captain Pearce?’ A stiff formality seemed to have replaced, a familiar ” old man,” moniker, whereby captains are talked about, outside their hearing, regardless of age. Captain Pearce did meet the age requirement.

‘Sometimes visits during the eight to twelve, to take a sight, but not that frequently. I’ve to get sand paper, brushes, varnish and scrapers from the Bosun. He plans to rub down and revarnish the mahogany hand rails outward bound.’

‘Won’t he be with the passengers? I mean, entertaining them.’

‘Yes, well, there’s a Staff Captain – and his wife, I’ve noticed,’ Bill smiled in my direction.

‘I expect , feels he can relax and do a bit of housework, so to speak.’

‘I see. Was that Tim’s role then?’ I mean entertaining the passengers?’

‘Pretty much. He had a movie projector and brought along a few films to show the passengers.

Gave lectures, about ports and countries he’d visited.’

‘They won’t be getting that level of entertainment from me,’ I said.

‘Don’t worry there’s deck golf and then you have Jane with you. Tim could be a bit too friendly toward the drink. Don’t get me wrong. He had it under control, whatever you might hear from Dougie.’

‘Captain Pearce does seem to believe it was drink which did for his liver.’

‘I’m not sure. There’s been stressful situations on the bridge. On occasion Tim said, he questioned one or two of Dougie’s instructions, when he went against the pilot’s decision.’

‘In Lagos?’

‘ No, it was Liverpool. And you know how reliable the pilots are.’

‘It’s in the remit of a captain to overule a pilot’s instructions, as you know. Save, when going through the Panama Canal when responsibility is totally given over to the canal authorities.


Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑