2 February 2009
The lore and language of the sea.
by Peter Mc
A geat deal of the English we unthinkingly use has its origins on the decks of sailing ships. Cock up. Three sheets to the wind (drunk). Not enought room to swing a cat. Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Devil to pay. Gone by the board. Taken aback. Bitter end. Just a few top of my head examples.
This delightful Radio 4 programme by Stephen Fry examines maritime English and metaphor. You have 6 days left to listen, and it will be a well spent 30 minutes of your time.
One contributor laments the increasing 'sea-blindness' and 'sea-deafness' of the British who are, after all, an island race. So here's a gratuitous pic of a square rigger. The eagle eyed among you will notice that her yards are not 'all square', an offence for which a flogging skipper might 'let the cat out of the bag'.