The Seaman


Between the innocence of infancy and the recklessness of adultery comes that unique specimen of humanity known as a seaman. Seamen can be found in bars, in arguments, in bed, intoxicated. They are tall, short, Fat, thin, dark, fair but never normal.

They dislike ship’s food, Chief Engineers, writing Letters, sailing on Saturdays and ‘dry’ ships. They like receiving mail, paying off day, nude pin ups, sympathy, complaining and beer.

A Seaman’s secret ambition is to change places with the owner for just one trip, to own a brewery and to be loved by everyone in the world.

A Seaman is a Sir Galahad in a Japanese brothel, a psychoanalyst with a “Readers Digest” on the table, Don Quixote with a Discharge Book, the saviour of mankind with his back teeth awash , Valentino with a fiver in his pocket and democracy personified in a red Chinese prison cell.

A seaman is a provider in war and a parasite in peace. No one is subjected to so much abuse, wrongly accused, so often misunderstood by so many as a seaman. He has the patience of Job, the honesty of a fool and a heaven-sent ability to laugh at himself.

When he returns home from a long voyage no one else but a seaman can create such an atmosphere of suspense and longing as he walks through the door with the magic words on his lips;

Have you got an ale then?

About allatsea

Sixty year old master-mariner. Absolutely gorgeous. Well wedged.....when compared to a Nairobi street urchin. Sorted, in that I haven't been in court recently. Hopelessly optimistic, terminally disappointed. Good with cats and other fluffy things. No musical talent. Generous to a fault provided it's someone else's round. Political centreist with far right and left viewpoints. A green activist from the hydrocarbon position with nuclear leanings. Averse to avarice but always happy to receive lottery wins, gifts, windfalls, legacies, prizes and wet sloppy kisses.
This entry was posted in Maritime, Prose and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Seaman

  1. Thanks for this. Reminds me of similar that featured in Shell Tanker News magazine back in ’56 – ’60 when I was doing my deck apprenticeship. Recall that there were ‘What is an Apprentice?’ A Sparks, an Engineer, A Master … and maybe one or two others. Have no idea who wrote them.

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