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Excerpt:-"What is your idea?" my wife asked.

"To accept my friend's loan of his ship, the Calenture for a couple of months; to furnish her cabins comfortably, and to anchor her off the prettiest and safest piece of scenery that our coasts have to offer. We can take our servants with us."

My wife and daughter grew to like the idea.

But which was not only the prettiest but the safest part of the British coast, off which to moor an old hulk during a couple of the finest summer months, I was now to consider. I consulted charts and maps and talked with seafaring friends. Milford Haven was recommended to me and so was Spithead and Yarmouth Roads. The owner of the old ship fell so far out of my views as to suggest Ramsgate. I said I did not want a harbour. I required an open roadstead, which should be as safe as the sea could possibly be, and which should have the attractions of towns and a pretty show of cliffs, and which should keep a couple of lifeboats handy under our lee. The association of the lifeboat with this idea of holidaymaking was a little strained, and my friends looked as if they thought it so.

After grave consideration and much searching of charts, I decided upon the Small Downs, which is a piece of water that washes close in to the Sandwich levels. It is the safest anchorage on the coast. Here you have command of two or three towns within an easy pull of the oar, and the stately procession of the Channel is always in sight from your deck. All being settled, I sent a quantity of furniture on board, and on a bright and beautiful Tuesday in June embarked in the Calenture, together with my wife, my daughter Daisy, and her fiance, Walter Stevens. A number of friends towed down with us as far as Gravesend, and a crowd collected in the docks to see us haul out " 'Ere was a old coal 'ulk agoing to take a 'oliday," they said, and they seemed immensely pleased.

  • Author: William Clark Russell
  • Title: A Voyage at Anchor
  • First Published Format: HC
  • First Published Date: 1890

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