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Windy Old Weather

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Windy Old Weather

In Shanties from the Seven Seas, Stan Hugill calls this "The Fishes", and gives nearly 30 verses for his version 4 of Blow the Man Down. When sung to that tune, or the one given here it was popular at topsail halyards, but he also gives an earlier version used at the capstan and often at pumps as well.  This version is apparently Scottish, and the chorus runs:

Blow the wind southerly, southerly, southerly, Blow bonny breeze, blow my lover to me.


Sharp and Whall also give similar versions, and Whall says that sometimes each member of the crew had to take his turn at singing a verse, and if one of them couldn't think of a fish, all hands would chip in with the chorus and thus save the situation.

Roud Number 472
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Windy Old Weather
Windy Old Weather

As we were a-fishing off Happisburgh** light
Shooting and hauling and trawling all night,

In the windy old weather, stormy old weather
When the wind blows we all pull together
When the wind blows we all pull together


We sighted a herring, the king of the sea
Said "Now, you old skipper, you cannot catch me,"

In the windy old weather, stormy old weather
When the wind blows we all pull together
When the wind blows we all pull together


We sighted a cod with his great bulging eye
Said "Here, you old skipper, your rig is too high"

In the windy old weather, stormy old weather
When the wind blows we all pull together
When the wind blows we all pull together


We sighted a mackerel with stripes on his back
Said "Time now old skipper, to shift your main tack"

In the windy old weather, stormy old weather
When the wind blows we all pull together
When the wind blows we all pull together


We sighted a conger as long as a mile
"Wind's blowing easterly" he said with a smile

In the windy old weather, stormy old weather
When the wind blows we all pull together
When the wind blows we all pull together


We sighted a plaice that had spots on his side
Said "Watch out, old skipper, these seas you won't ride"

In the windy old weather, stormy old weather
When the wind blows we all pull together
When the wind blows we all pull together


I thought what these fishes were saying was right,
So we hauled in our nets and we made for the light.

In the windy old weather, stormy old weather
When the wind blows we all pull together
When the wind blows we all pull together


**Happisburgh is pronounced  Hazeboro'

Recorded by Alan Whitbread
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Windy Old Weather
Windy Old Weather, sung by Alan Whitbread
Haisboro' Light

Happisburgh (pronounced Hazeboro') lies on the north coast of Norfolk, and is the site of the earliest known human settlement in Northern Europe.

Archaelogical digs on the foreshore in 2009/10 revealed flint tools dating back 800,000 years, a hundred thousand years earlier than any other finds in Britain. In those times the River Thames entered the North Sea here, but has since changed to a more southerly course.

The
Happisburgh lighthouse (GPS 52.8204,1.536852) was built in 1790 as one of a pair guarding the dangerous Haisborough Sands which lie just offshore. Rapid coastal erosion meant that its twin had to be demolished in 1883 before it fell into the sea. Eighty five feet high, it is easily visible from a distance being painted in red and white horizontal bands of about twelve feet in height. The lantern is 134 feet above sea level and was not electrified until 1947.

As well as being the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia, it is unique as the only independently operated lighthouse in Great Britain.

In 1987 Trinity House declared the lighthouse redundant, and plans for closure were drawn up. Villagers were determined to save it, and went to great lengths to ensure its survival. In 1990 they obtained the passing in Parliament of the Happisburgh Lighthouse Act, which set up the Happisburgh Lighthouse Trust as a Local Lighthouse Authority.



Happisburgh lighthouse


Hev yew gotta loight, boy?
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