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Author Topic: "Maiden Voyage" Notes from a Ship's Harpist by Sarah Deere-Jones  (Read 2075 times)

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Offline Waverley

Notes from a Ship's Harpist

An interesting little book.

http://www.cornwallharpcentre.co.uk/maidenvoyage.htm
Robert

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: New Topic
« Reply #1 on: Apr 16, 2011, 11:39 AM »
Notes from a Ship's Harpist

An interesting little book.

http://www.cornwallharpcentre.co.uk/maidenvoyage.htm

A wonderful interview with the author, Sarah Deere-Jones, on the BBC today :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b010dd41

Being radio, this should be available to listen to the world over! Start at minute 8 -- and she comes back briefly too at the end of the programme.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Willum (Sarah's husband) has very kindly told our recent Zoom meeting that Sarah's book "Maiden Voyage" is now available as a .pdf download or Audio Book. It is up on their shop website at :

www.cornwallharpcentreshop.co.uk

Willum and Sarah are looking for people to review it and would be very happy to send the .pdf and / or the Audio version to anyone interested to let us get a glimpse of the story and what you thought of it.

Intriguingly, he adds "She is not afraid to tell it like it was without mentioning too many names !" Suspense...

If you are interested in taking on the review, let us know here, and you will receive the necessary :) .

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Thanks to Willum's patience, I have now uploaded chapters 1 to 3 in audio book form. I have just listened to chapter 1 and am very much taken by the author reading her own story, which is so well written, and then so well read out. Maybe that is the best way to enjoy a book -- read in the author's own voice.

Already in Chapter 1, she discovers various parts of the ship where many of us have never been, and also realises that no one is going to help her lug her HUGE harp around the place.

I am looking forward to the next instalments. Please let us know here whether you have also started :) .

Chapters 1 to 3 (attached) are offered as a taster. If you would like to obtain the remaining chapters (there are 12 altogether), the entire book is available for purchase @ GBP 8.00 (pounds) from the web site :

http://www.cornwallharpcentre.co.uk/maidenvoyage.htm

There is also an alternative version, downloadable in .pdf, with illustrations, available for the same price at the same web site.
« Last Edit: Jul 18, 2020, 09:06 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Review of "Maiden Voyage"
« Reply #4 on: Jul 13, 2020, 12:51 PM »
Some weeks ago, I was the lucky recipient of a review copy of this splendid book.

It is useful to add immediately that the book is currently not a printed version, but a downloadable PDF or an audiobook. I received both, but decided that the audiobook is perfect to listen to while taking a break for lunch. It has the attraction of being read by the author herself, with her voice reflecting her memories. She is a beautiful reader, and I can highly recommend the audio version. The PDF version is great if you like to read on screen, as it includes some photographs which are obviously not part of the audio version.

The book concerns two years in the life of a harpist who had never up to then set foot on the QE2, but who went on to play the harp during two entire world cruises, in 1984 and 1985. We accompany her as she first sets eye on the ship and tries to find her way around. It is surprising to realise that the musicians on the ship did not seem to be of any interest to most of the organising crew, and that she had to pretty much organise herself, right down to the place and time when she was expected to play the harp.

Very soon, she discovered that it would be possible for her to undertake excursions in port with the passengers, if she acted as the organiser of a particular trip. This was a challenge at first, and there are some hilarious descriptions of the passengers and their wishes during such port visits.

For those of us who would love to be on a World Cruise right now, the tales of numerous exotic ports will be fascinating, as we accompany Sarah and her passengers. As time goes on, she heads off on some self-planned excursions with friends she has meanwhile made with other musicians and crew members.

In Mombasa, she first encounters the Radio Officer Phil Williams (our Willum) and immediately feels herself drawn to him. It is a slow romance, but by the time she embarks on her second World Cruise, they are "an item", and life on board becomes a lot easier for her, thanks to his status. They manage to have several shore trips together, a couple of them hair-raising adventures, which the cocooned QE2 passengers would never get to try out.

From him, she received the birthday present that many of us would have coveted -- a full tour of the Engine Rooms! Her account conveys the enormous size of the space containing that essential machinery which kept the ship moving and passengers in comfort.

I am glad to say that both of them have been happily married for many years now, and Sarah experienced many more QE2 voyages -- indeed, the ship became a "second home" to her as it was for many of us.

The first three chapters of the audio book are uploaded above -- give them a try, and then continue! It is an engrossing story, beautifully told, and it deserves our interest here, because we still know very little about the lives of the musicians and other agency workers on board the ship. To us, they were crew, but to the QE2 crew, they were strangers, neither crew nor passenger.

All in all, this is a book I enjoyed very much, and not only because they made my lunch breaks so much more pleasant! It is a beautifully told reminder of our favourite ship and times on board, which I think we all need after having left her at sea more than a decade ago.
« Last Edit: Jul 21, 2020, 11:35 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Lynda Bradford

Thanks Isabelle, it was good to read your review of the book.  Looking forward to hearing more reviews. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline June Ingram

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Thanks, Isabelle, for your review of Sarah's book. It sounds very interesting, and I can identify with several things mentioned about being a musician aboard ship.  :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Boris

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I didn't know Sarah personally, as she joined long after I left. But when we heard the QE2 was to be sold, a group of four of us decided to have a reunion as passengers on her 2008 Norwegian cruise. We nicknamed ourselves The Three Musketeers and The Wench and used to meet in the Midships Bar for cocktails prior to dinner (I have a feeling it was no longer styled the Midships Bar at that time, but can't recall its name).
Anyway, we always enjoyed the soothing background music from a talented musician, whom I now presume to be Sarah. As The Wench commented the first evening, in a broad scouse accent: 'She's har pissed'
PS. The Wench became my wife about 4 months after our reunion cruise.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Anyway, we always enjoyed the soothing background music from a talented musician, whom I now presume to be Sarah.

If it was 2008 (as I believe it was, from reading your text), it would have been Siân Williams, who stayed on board all the way to Dubai...


Siân Williams
by Isabelle Prondzynski, on Flickr


Harpist playing
by Isabelle Prondzynski, on Flickr

The second photo was taken in the room you are probably thinking of, the Chartroom.

Offline Boris

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If it was 2008 ...it would have been Siân Williams, who stayed on board all the way to Dubai...
The second photo was taken in the room you are probably thinking of, the Chartroom.
Thanks so much Isabelle. Gosh you're good: filled in so many gaps in my rather boring story - which turns out to be completely off topic in any case. And, yes, the Chartroom rings a bell as the latter day name for the Midships Bar.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

We have a link to a blog from another QE2 harpist, Diane Michaels :

https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php?topic=8141.0

I see that she has gone on to write a book ("Ellen at Sea") about a harpist on a cruise ship. Amazon does not mention whether this is the QE2!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0997710756/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i3

I wonder will we be able to draw up a list of all QE2 harpists over the years... I have a few more photos, but not the names of the musicians. Maybe the daily programmes will help... when I get the chance to look for them.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

I wonder will we be able to draw up a list of all QE2 harpists over the years... I have a few more photos, but not the names of the musicians. Maybe the daily programmes will help... when I get the chance to look for them.

Willum and Sarah have responded and added some harpists' names :

Quote
Other harpists

Prior to Sarah there was a harpist called Annabel Etkind on board. She was on TV a bit in the 80's
With Sarah in 1985 was Sue Rothstein Sarahs long term friend and harpist they were the London Harp Duo
So for a few months QE2 had a brace of harpists.

Online Lynda Bradford


I wonder will we be able to draw up a list of all QE2 harpists over the years... I have a few more photos, but not the names of the musicians. Maybe the daily programmes will help... when I get the chance to look for them.

June 1997 Lois Colin
July 2001 Bethany Chattin

Sorry I cannot find any photos of these harpists, but maybe other members have photos
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Chiara Capobianco was harpist onboard circa 2005, when we were onboard.
First travelled on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and travelled on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008 - we had the better view!

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Chiara Capobianco was harpist onboard circa 2005, when we were onboard.


Chiara Capobianco on 8 July 2005
by Isabelle Prondzynski, on Flickr

She was excellent, and I bought her CD (which I have temporarily mislaid...).