Chota

Chota

Monday, 12 September 2011

{ship shape & bristol fashion}

jillian room
The other day I was recounting the experiences of living in a household run be a sea captain with 5 daughters & one very able mother (who also acted as ship's nurse, first mate, ham radio operator & when on land, SALTS booking manager). What I took for normalcy appeared strange to my companions who were listening. Like a tight ship, my father believed that a well-run household would produce able bodies ready to face the world. Don't get me wrong, he was nothing like a Mr. Bounderby of Hard Times where there was no fun. There was PLENTY of fun, but like the unexpected adventures that came with the sighting of a new landfall, the joys & excitements of  our childhood were conditioned by a stable and well-run family order. First of all, all things were done according to a schedule that was kept everyday. There was plenty of room for spontaneity--anyone who knows my parents knows that they're awfully adventurous, but dinner was on the table at 6 on the dot every night. If it was 1805, it was strange if we weren't all sitting down for dinner. Nonetheless, because children lose track of time, my Mum (or one of my sisters who would be helping out in the kitchen) would ring the dinner bell to signal everyone to muster in the galley...I mean gather in the kitchen. While at sea, the bosun's whistle would sound, at home we had a dinner bell. If it was a Sunday it was sure to be roast beef & Yorkshire pudding, even if we were out at sea.
Our bell was a lovely sounding bell my father had picked up when he was in India as a boy. By doing some research online, I found out that it's actually an Indian cowbell...it looked very similar to this:
{via maryjane art}
Somehow this seems apt as my father grew up in India, but was from Bristol stalk. The phrase, 'ship shape & Bristol fashion' comes from his family's home port city of Bristol. In connection with his British/Indian upbringing, tea was also a ritual in our family (loose leaf only). Every morning, my Mum would wake up first and make her way to every girl's bedside to deliver a fresh steaming cup of chai chanting 'time to wake up...time to wake up...' to the clinging of the teaspoon...or our made-up song we devised in the taxi of Jaya Kumar, our Ooty taxi driver:
chai chai gurham chai, 
hot & sweet & gurham chai
My Mum would then deliver the tea to my Dad, & they'd sit in bed for a 1/2 hour, chatting. I think that 30 minutes together every morning is what has kept their marriage going for 40+ years. If it was a holiday, or a weekend, we'd all pile into the bed as well & talk over tea. This is a ritual we still do today. When I visit my parents on their boat, I still climb into their bunk (sometimes it's hard to fit all 3 of us in) and we sit & chat over chai.
Every afternoon between 330-4 we would also be served tea. We'd gather around, take a moment from our day and drink tea & nibble on some homemade cookies. I think that's the reason why we are still so close. 
Well, here below are some images to inspire you to go out for a sail, or drink some tea!
{the 5 girls in the rigging of Swift from the Australian newspaper, when we sailed down to Australia in 1988}

{my father & his family in India. My grandpa is driving, with my Dad, 1 in from the left}

{my parents drinking tea in the Imperial Hotel--a few doors down to where my Dad lived in New Delhi}
{my parents all dressed up in period style during the launch of the privateer Lynx}
{Passat, the boat my parents currently live on (which is for sale, check out my parents website, Clarks Maritime}
{Esther, me & Christina aboard the Robbie-we spent all our summers on this boat}

{Esther & Christina at the stern sheets of the Robbie}

{4 of the sisters & my Mum 'having tea'}

{the 5 girls}


{me, aboard the grand banks fishing schooner I spent most of my early years, Robertson II in 1985?}
{me, aboard Passat, 2007}
 Inspiration from a nautical life aboard ship:
{stripes & stylin' hat, via sarah is cool}

navy blue peach aqua grey ivory nautical inspiration
{via greylikesweddings}
{nautical guest room from apartment therapy (if you click on the link, there are more nautical room inspirations)}
{funky yet classic anchor pillow, via 2modern}
{nautical paper, from ohso beautiful paper}

{via black eiffel}

"He began in a tone of great taste and feeling, to talk of the sea and the sea shore."

                                                                                           -Jane Austen

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