The Old Ferrie

While Emily has been on holiday in England, I’ve been on holiday too. I’ve not been thinking about smoking bans. I’ve not been thinking about global warming either. I’ve not been thinking about anything much at all.

So yesterday we went to Goodrich castle. But we didn’t find the lost Roman road and bridge that it once guarded. It is in the nature of lost things that they are usually difficult to find. And we didn’t really try to find it at all.

Instead we adjourned to the nearby scenic Old Ferrie pub on the bank of the river Wye, to watch boats and ducks and swans, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and eat olives.

The Old Ferrie lived up to its name, because there actually was a ferry across the river. For there was a steel cable stretched across the river, with a boat attached to it. And since there seemed to be some sort of engine with lots of cogs to which the cable was attached, I speculated that it was used to haul the ferry boat across the river, probably making a loud clattering sound as it did so.

I was, however, mistaken about how the ferry worked. For after a young couple had climbed into the boat, a young man appeared, took a handful of coins from them, unmoored the boat from the shore, and ferried them across a river in a rather surprising way. For all he did was to slide the rope that attached the boat to the steel cable along it, with deft flicks of his wrist, as the boat swung to and fro like a pendulum downstream of the cable.

It was all very, very simple. So simple that I wondered whether a 10-year-old child could have acted as the ferryman. I’d never seen a ferry like it before. No need for engines. No need even for oars.

And before there were such things as steel cables, I supposed that there had been a tall sailing ship’s hempen rope stretched across the river, perhaps rigged by sailors from the Royal Navy.

It crossed my mind also that this ferryman could be Charon ferrying the souls of the dead across the river Styx in his “rust-coloured skiff.” According to Wikipedia:

In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon (/ˈkɛərɒn,  -ən/; Greek Χάρων) is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead.

All of which reminded me of Bocklin’s Isle of the Dead:

Greek allusions pursued us at our next destination, a nearby garden maze which included a museum of mazes, in which we heard recounted the story of Theseus and Ariadne, in which Theseus escapes from the labyrinth of the Minotaur using a ball of thread provided by Ariadne.

And finally, entirely by chance, we ended up watching the Greek tragedy of England’s defeat by Croatia, over a few more beers.

About Frank Davis

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Old Ferrie

  1. RdM says:

    I had mentioned uk crop circles a while back, a bit before the summer began there, and it’s probably a bit late now – and not that much on, a few in July, one the farmer has harvested already (Martinsell Hill) – but only down in Wiltshire, a couple of hours from Herefordshire by car.

    And near Stonehenge, near where other famous crop circles have occurred.
    Your writing of mazes reminded me again…

    And if I visited the UK, would Stonehenge be on my “to-do” list? Or Bath? Or…
    Nevertheless, for instance,

    Very slowly getting my head around UK geography… Google Maps is a help!

    One looks dangerously close to Salisbury! (salt bury?) ;=})

    Of course there are some accomplished fakes nowadays, including brand names, maybe the one above in Martinsell Hill, by the look of it, and the recent F**K Trump crop circle in the news, but in the early days there was and maybe still is real mystery – wheat plants laid down unbroken in swirls, when it would be impossible to do so mechanically without breaking them , and the appearance of impossibly complex ones overnight or in a short time period, like that famous one at Stonehenge.
    (The Julia Set Near Stonehenge July 1996)

    But O, la la! So much to do, so little time! :-)

    Just random thoughts!

    I hope Emily has a fine time in the time remaining of her UK visit!
    And her host;-)

    • Rose says:

      I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Bath, the Roman Baths is a favourite.

      Stonehenge was a wonderful place that you could visit by parking up on the side road and walking right in to the centre of the stones. Now it’s surrounded by a chainlink fence, a visitor centre and you have to pay to go in, so I haven’t been there in a very long time, but as a visitor to this country, I would.. A much friendlier place to visit is Avebury and it’s stone ring, it’s free you can walk all round it and I do whenever I can. I have seen crop circles from the Uffington Horse and at Avebury but I doubt they are anything other than human works of art.

      Mayan ‘apocalypse’ crop circle appears at Silbury Hill
      https: //

      If you interested in such things, whilst you are in the area, I would also recommend a trip to the main street of Glastonbury, beneath the Tor and an excellent cup of coffee at the Mocha Berry Cafe.

      • My memory of Bath from my 2006 brief visit is of a very vertical city. It looked like each block or two was built on a higher level than the block or two in front of it. That’s about it… just a “snapshot memory”… but nice! :)

        • Rose says:


          Another reason I love Bath.
          Once upon a time it was very fashionable to take the waters in spa towns for their alleged medicinal benefits and a wonderful excuse to party, whether you considered yourself to be ill or not..

          Visiting Georgian Bath – What to expect
          “Although the Roman Baths are perhaps the single main draw for visitors, it is the city itself, ‘Georgian Bath’ that normally leaves the fondest of memories.”

          Georgian Bath – how it started

          “Georgian Bath started in the 18th Century when England had a succession of Kings called George. The initial impetus came from visits in 1688, 1692, 1702 and 1703 by Princess/Queen Anne who visited Bath to take the waters. The frequency of her visits led to even greater aristocratic patronage.”

          Beau Nash

          “The cream of English society attracted people like Beau Nash, an opportunist and card shark. At that time Bath was a cramped city, crammed within its city walls. Beau Nash saw an opportunity by taking on the unpaid job of master of ceremonies.
          He would meet new arrivals to the city and judge whether they were suitable to join the select “Company’ of 500 to 600 people at the centre of Bath society.

          He would match ladies with appropriate dancing partners at each ball, pay the musicians at such events, broker marriages, escort unaccompanied wives and regulate gambling (by restraining compulsive gamblers or warning players against risky games or card sharks).”

          Wonderful descriptions of the times and the places.

          The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

          “Much of the comedy arises from differences in the descriptions of the same events and places seen by the participants.”
          “The setting, amidst the high-society spa towns, inns, and seaside resorts of the 18th century, provides his characters with many opportunities for satirical observations on English and Scottish life, manners, and politics”

          Leaving from Bramble’s estate, Brambleton Hall, in the south-western corner of England, the family passes through many cities, making extended or significant stops at Gloucester, Bath, London, Harrogate, Scarborough and Edinburgh.”

  2. RdM says:

    (Check out the Photographs menu link)
    (and some further admittedly pretty if weird stuff, also hard to read with underlined text)

    Some of it may be interesting, even if it’s a bit of an effort to sort the wheat from the chaff!


    • beobrigitte says:

      I am quite fascinated by crop circles – and I need to watch the 2 old men with their plank of wood to create them as the BBC quite a few years ago claimed they did. Who really creates these crop circles? No idea.

      The that shows a mode of transport via magnetism I do find interesting. I do remember some guy in the 80s developing a car engine using this. In theory we all could by now be using this totally environmentally friendly mode of transport. I can only guess that too many industries would lose out and lobbying idiot politicians (who try and make as much cash as they can in 4 years – please refer to Tony Bliar who still is raking it in) was the cheapest way to stop this. The “human-made”-climate-change brigade seems rather quiet about this energy, too…… Kerchinnnggg?

  3. beobrigitte says:

    While Emily has been on holiday in England, I’ve been on holiday too. I’ve not been thinking about smoking bans. I’ve not been thinking about global warming either. I’ve not been thinking about anything much at all.
    The thing with a holiday is – time passes quickly. And you have had no reason to think about smoking bans: the pub garden is comfortable in weather like this. A nice beer in nice company and an ashtray on the table and sunshine. All in the absence of anti-smokers. Where are they? Probably they are just too busy right now lobbying intensely for the outdoor smoking ban! Just in case the weather will stay sunny and there are “millions of non-smokers who will refuse to go to a pub garden if smoking is allowed there”. Did these “millions” of non-smokers turn up in pubs after the smoking ban was forced on us?

    I shall enjoy the nice weather while it lasts although it feels a little strange going to pubs again – in the past few weeks I have been going out more than I have in years! However, I did notice that some pubs have a high number of clientèle whose milkshake/water/lemonade is bought by the parents they watch knocking back pints…. Train ’em early? Well, I was very thoughtful, I showed them an adult drinking a pint whilst smoking a cigarette. After all, the healthists aren’t stopping targeting only smokers.

    In recent weeks I haven’t only been going to pubs or visiting people. I have also been putting up fences and clearing a nice area for people to visit me to drink a beer (etc) and smoke cigarettes and enjoy the magnificent view of the country side.
    And right now it is raining – much welcomed tonight. It saves me having to water my veg tonight.

  4. Emily says:

    Back home now and it was a lovely trip! Thanks to Brigitte for picking me up from the airport which was a huge help, and Frank for his hospitality. Frank lives in an absolutely beautiful section of England. I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.