Eight Bells and Topmasts - Ships Nostalgia

Welcome!Welcome to Ships Nostalgia, the world's greatest online community for people worldwide with an interest in ships and shipping. Whether you are crew, ex-crew, ship enthusiasts or cruisers, this is the forum for you. And what's more, it's completely FREE.

Click here to go to the forums home page and find out more.
Click here to join.
Log in
User Name Password

Eight Bells and Topmasts

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Old 14th January 2006, 09:59
fredkinghorn fredkinghorn is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1
Eight Bells and Topmasts

Great reading by Christopher Lee. What it was like in the 50's
Reply With Quote
Old 13th March 2006, 01:55
Tom Haywood's Avatar
Tom Haywood Tom Haywood is offline  
Senior Member
Organisation: Maritime Enthusiast
Department: Engineering
Join Date: Dec 2004
My location
Posts: 3,217
A good read, reading it at the moment.Just left Korea (minus salt) for Japan.
Tom Haywood

Last edited by Tom Haywood; 13th March 2006 at 01:58..
Reply With Quote
Old 4th October 2006, 20:59
Roger Turner Roger Turner is offline  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 97
Smile Eight Bells and Top Masts, by Christopher Lee

Originally Posted by fredkinghorn View Post
Great reading by Christopher Lee. What it was like in the 50's
Just finished reading this excellent account of tramping in the fifties, it explained a lot about the relevance of the demise of Empire and the changing of shipping to the new order i.e. Bulk carriers and Container vessels, a period which I was at sea through 53-62, but as usual the player doesn`t always see as much of the game as the spectator.
Reference another interesting current thread regarding shipping in Hong Kong, there is a good account of this vessel`s visit to Hong Kong and the dry docking process, "dockyard mateys" and Hong Kong Mary`s gang.
Reply With Quote
Old 14th July 2007, 22:30
Steve Hodges Steve Hodges is offline  
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 449
Just came across this book in a 2/H bookshop in Hay on Wye - read it within the week. A really engrossing account of a deck apprentices first trip in the late 50's, tramping with the old Saint Line. Heartily recommended.

Reply With Quote
Old 26th January 2009, 15:17
christopher lee christopher lee is offline  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4
Smile Eight Bells & Top Masts

Thank you Steve & co for your enthusiasm. The book is dedicated to James Eamon MacCobb, Master Mariner. Jim MacCobb as manyu members will have heard, died in December 2008. He was 90. He was the mate who chased us 24/7 in Eight Bells. Shortly before he died, he asked me to do the sequel. The publishers, Constable, are looking at the idea at the moment. It's a fashionable period and they're interested in how a lad of 16 joined a ship and so never really had a teen-age life. Act your age, said MacCobb. But Mister Mate, I am. I'm 16! Not on this ******* shp your not. I will post the result of Constable's deliberations. But I would encourage others to write of their experiences, now and then. You're historians of an intriguing period of British history.
Reply With Quote
Old 27th January 2009, 12:09
andysk's Avatar
andysk andysk is offline   SN Supporter
Super Moderator (L)
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Radio Officer
Active: 1970 - 1978
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,725
Got it for Christmas, and had read it by the return to work in the New Year !

It's a great book, well written, and though before my time at sea in the 1970's, a fascinating account of a period of history now being forgotten.

Looking forward to the follow-up ....

Thanks Chris ....
Reply With Quote
Old 19th February 2009, 19:05
Shipbuilder Shipbuilder is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,095
I got the book when it first came out and enjoyed it very much. The title put me "out of gear" for a while as I had just completed my massive manuscript EIGHT BELLS that covered my years at sea from early 1961 until late 1992. It would have sounded too similar, so I changed it to IT ALL RUBS OFF WHEN IT'S DRY. That had to be knocked on the head though when (after years of rejections), I finally found a Scottish publisher that would take it on. However, they said it was far too long and they would take the second half only, if I rewrote it to their specifications. Considering two previous publishers had said the same and then after each re-write (a year for each), had changed their minds and wouldn't even read the re-write - I said "No, take it, or leave it!" I was pretty fed up by then and couldn't care less. The "left it," but after two weeks, contacted me again to say they had changed their minds and would take it. Everything went smoothly after that and it came out with it's final title in 2006. But from acceptance to publication was another year. It has virtually sold out from the publishers now, but is still on Amazon and selling all over the World. After a year, the Amazon price slumped from 14.99 to about 5, but it has recently shot up again to almost the original price.
I am not detracting from EIGHT BELLS AND TOPMASTS, but my point is that if you do produce a manuscript, be prepared for maybe years of searching for a publisher and a lot of aggro along the way. It is a very slow process. I hope they will take the first half of the original manuscript, but I am not actually trying - I am thoroughly fed up with the whole idea of book writing! I complete it in 1999 and it did not come out until 2006. I don't regert doing it and it has never had a bad review. But the number of times I got the parrot-like "No-ones interested in personal recollections about boats these days!"

Sometimes I feel that publishers and the great British Public think that the Royal Navy consisted of only VICTORY and BOUNTY and the Merchant Navy consisted of only TITANIC and CUTTY SARK - full stop!

I still write, but I find that an article that article writing fetches about 30 an hour. But again, it took many years to get my "foot in the door" of a reputable nautical journal to the stage where I am in every issue!

Once the manuscript is complete you need a very great deal of persistance and patience to say nothing of requiring a "thick skin" as well.

I remember a Snoopy cartoon, where he was in a "writing phase." The publisher said "Please find enclosed, a book of rejection slips to cover your next few books!" That is really what it felt like sometimes!


Miniature Merchant Ships
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Support SN

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.