Friday, 19 October 2012

Ocean Pearl on TV

I got my first opportunity to go aboard Ocean Pearl a couple of weeks back at an open day at Emsworth Marina where her owner and restorer, Nick Gates, has his boatbuilding business. In the past I have only seen her from the water.
The interior is still a bit unfinished but Nick's main priority seems to be taking her out sailing, entirely understandably. 
And last night she was on the telly!
I've been following Wartime Farm with fascination, partly because it is packed with stuff I didn't know (eg rats don't have bladders so they weeweewee everywhere they go) but also because it was filmed in Manor Farm near Botley on the River Hamble.
To illustrate that farmers weren't the only ones to suffer from government interference during the war, presenters Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn went to sea on Ocean Pearl to find out what the impact was on fishermen.
Quite a lot, Nick told them. Ocean Pearl was built as a fishing vessel in Scotland in the 1930s and was commandeered by the Navy for inshore supply work. This might have meant depriving some bloke of his livelihood were it not for the fact that most fishermen had been called up.
Then the historians released a carrier pigeon on a training run back to Southampton, to illustrate the importance of pigeons to military communications. That was another thing I didn't know - pigeons were used when the entire invasion force was observing radio silence prior to D-day.
It was illegal to shoot carrier pigeons, naturally, but wood pigeons were not so lucky. The Royal Observer Corps used to report movements of flocks of pigeons so country folk could shoot them down by the hundred. Delicious boiled, stewed or fried.
PS - Nick, in a previous email you sort of invited me to come sailing in Ocean Pearl sometime.....just a reminder...

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