In the RN, salt used to be called Lot’s wife

Last Sunday I discovered some lo-carb noodles. Rather than normal flour, they are made with konjac flour and, therefore, carb free. Last night I decided to try them in a Chez Gaz ramen. They worked very well. This means that Mirinda can try my ramen which, as well as the no-carb noodles features pork, prawns, shiitake and seaweed. It was delicious.


Meanwhile back at work, I was once more immersed in naval poetry and anecdotes. By the end of the day, when Kate asked me how things had gone today I admitted I was just about full of the poetry and was looking forward to the next section which is warships. She agreed that naval poetry wasn’t one of her favourites either.

According to one of the books I catalogued today, sailors love a bit of poetry. My only experience of a navy type was my grandfather and, as far as I know (and I knew him quite well) he didn’t have a poetic bone in his body.

Even so, while saying that and admitting my own feelings as far as poetry is concerned, one of them I happened to catch a glimpse of did tickle me somewhat. It’s called Cockroach Pie and was by Robert AB Michell. Here’s the first stanza:

Oft in the stilly night,
When slumber’s chain has bound me,
The cockers find delight
In revelling around me.
Some go to taste
My dental paste,
Or with a fly to banter,
My pot of glue
Attracts a few,
One bathes in my decanter.

It continues in that vein for quite a while and probably sums up life aboard HM’s Navy when there was competition for ship’s biscuit that belies the quality of the meal.

One small book which was in desperate need of some love and care, was this small and battered mini-volume.

I wondered why it was still on the library shelves until I found a pencilled note in the front. It was one of the very few survivors from HMS Vanguard which exploded in 1917 and sunk off Scapa Flow killing almost everyone aboard.

At first I thought that it may have been a victim of the insidious German U boats but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There was an accident in the magazine room in the centre of the ship, and the whole thing just blew up. A board of inquiry was inconclusive as far as direct cause was concerned but it was seen as an awful accident.

Anyway, my best find today was the little book above with it’s little pencilled, though sadly undated, note below.

By the way, I don’t know if salt was really called Lot’s wife aboard navy craft but that was the claim in a book of naval slang I worked on today.

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