Patrick O’Brian is dead now. He wrote the book of the film ‘Master and Commander’ which was the first of a series of 20 volumes about Captain Jack Aubrey and his ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin. O’Brian spent the last 50 years of his life in the South of France. Now you might think stories about seafaring during the time of Bonaparte would be dry, boy’s own type tales but not at all! The relationship between Aubrey and Maturin is touching, the humour bawdy, the technical details of the sails and workings of tall ships fascinating and the ship’s routine, along with the intensely male hierarchy on board, gripping. It has the same appeal as epic tales like Lord of the Rings; you enter a different world, a different era and via them, you travel.
Of Food in the Navy, Samuel Pepys wrote - "Englishmen and more especially seamen love their bellies above anything else and therefore it must always be remembered in the managing of the victualling of the navy that to make any abatement from them in the quality and agreeableness of the victuals is to discourage and provoke them in the tenderest point, and will soon render them disgusted with the King's service more than any other hardship that can be put upon them."