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Monday, June 23, 2008

The Poop Deck

Taking into account Great Britain's maritime history, it is hardly surprising that our vernacular language is rife with expressions of nautical origin. These include such expressions as "letting the cat out of the bag"; "square meal"; "no room to swing a cat"; " the sun is over the yardarm"; "to be taken aback"; and many others.

I was recently confronted with the exclamation "I'm pooped!", meaning of course "exhausted".

This too has its origins in naval history, and derives from the poop deck which lies aft (i.e. astern, at the rear of the ship), usually raised and can serve as the roof of the captain's (or admiral's) cabin. It also served as a function in conflict when armed men could shoot from it as a vantage point.

This is the poop deck of Nelson's ship H.M.S. Victory

It is not unknown in a following sea for a a large wave to overtake the ship and crash over the poop deck. Such a condition is known as "being pooped". In extreme events the water may fill the ship resulting in disaster.
This ship may be described as well and truly pooped

18 Comments:

Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Talking about HMS Victory, I was at Cape Trafalgar last week with Jemima!

10:12 pm  
Blogger simon said...

is that the same as feeling F&%^d?

11:34 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Simon, the expression "rooted" comes to mind.

8:50 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Simon! You wait til I report you to Bluecollar.

10:30 am  
Blogger simon said...

ooooh! I hope so Lorenzo! its funny reading about the history- I am SO english, yet stuck an an island down here......

1:19 pm  
Blogger Merisi said...

Oh, the things one doesn't know about! Thank you for the lesson. ;-)

While it is true that Austria once did actually have a naval force, - the only ship I remember from history lessons is the Tegetthoff, and that one got not pooped but locked in pack-ice during a North Pole Expedition -, I can very well empathize with anyone feeling pooped. As far as ships and waves are concerned, a German friend of mine introduced me to the so-called Donauwellen "Danube Waves" Cake, a very fine way out of feeling pooped, especially if consumed while listening to the Donauwellen Waltz. A cup of coffee may enhance the experience even further, so much so you may want to go ride a wave (at your own risk, please!). ;-)

2:09 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Lorenzo: That is down near Cadiz somewhere, isn't it? I went there when I was a student (the same trip that I ended up sozzled on the steps of Seville Cathedral).

Simon: I guess your Aussi vernacular can boast a lot of expressions relating to convict ships! LOL!

Merisi: I remember reading about the discovery of Franz-Josef Land, as a boy, in a book called "Polar Exploration" (pub. 1947 - I have it in my hand right now). I guess it was that book that triggered my fascination for exploration, especially of polar regions. Of course the Tegetthoff was an interesting vessel, being a Schooner schooner, a ship whose rear mast is taller than the fore-mast.

That cake looks good, I should try to make some, I am a sucker for anything with cherries in it :-)

2:42 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Sorry the link went wrong. It is here and I don't know how schooner duplicated itself, I seem to be seeing things double.

2:46 pm  
Blogger 菩提樹之舞: Mind Dancer said...

Impressive!

4:15 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

C'mon Merisi, surely you have heard of Admiral Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar?

Maalie, Yes, Trafalgar is between Cadiz and Gibraltar.

Simon: Did you get a good whipping from Bluecollar?

5:02 pm  
Blogger NaNcY said...

actually, very interesting.

9:53 pm  
Blogger Merisi said...

Lorenzo,
I was referring to the Austrian Navy, not ships of any other nation! Of course, Nelson and Trafalgar even I do remember (just wished that had kept Napoleon from attacking Vienna again!). ;-)

One other Austrian ship is the SMS Novara, which was the first Austrian ship in the Austro-Hungarian Navy to circumnavigate the world, and of which there is a large scale model at the Museum of Natural History in Vienna (seems that something like a million and a half plants/specimen were brought back from that expedition alone to the then Imperial Museum):

"The Novara-Expedition (1857–1859) [3] was the first large-scale scientific, around-the-world mission of the Austrian Imperial war navy. [5] Authorized by Archduke Maximillian, the journey lasted 2 years 3 months, from 30 April 1857 until 30 August 1859.[3]

The expedition was accomplished by the frigate Novara, under the command of Kommodore Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair,[5] with 345 officers and crew, plus seven (7) scientists aboard.[3] Preparation for the research journey was made by the "Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna" and by specialized scholars under direction of the geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter and the zoologist Georg von Frauenfeld.[5] The first coca plant (cocaine) investigations, in particular on the St. Paul island, the Nikobaren, and on New Zealand (first geological mapping by Hochstetter), created the bases for future geological research.[5] The oceanographic research, in particular in the South Pacific, revolutionized oceanography and Hydrographie.[5]
"

(Quoted from Wikipedia,
here is the link.)

Sorry for the length of the comment, couldn't resist the opportunity to show that there is more to Austria than waltzing and Sachertorte baking. ;-)

9:22 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

> there is more to Austria than waltzing and Sachertorte baking

And Julie Andrews, glaciers and chicken-bagels ;-)

9:32 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

>specialized scholars under direction of the geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter

Of course. It was he who gave his name to the Hochstetter Glacier in new Zealand. I have seen it.

9:39 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I really admire landlocked countries that keep a navy.
The Bolivians optimistically keep their navy, one gunship, on Lake Titicaca. They have had their land corridor to the sea pinched so many times by either the Peruvians or the Chileans! They are determined to get it back one day.
Good old Austria!

1:10 pm  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Nothing of worth to add to your discussion - but reading, and enjoying it.

1:14 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Lord Nelson is one of my heroes. I love popping to his old local in Burnham Thorpe and enjoying a glass of Nelson's Blood!

5:56 pm  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Quite interesting. Makes me sick to think about it as I'm a land lubber. But I used to enjoy reading about the ship battles, the British victory over the mighty Spanish fleet comes to mind.

Those ships are beauties as well. I still remember getting on what was supposed to be a copy of the Santa Maria (as I recall it) at the World's Fair near New York City in 1965, Christopher Columbus' ship to the Americas (the west Indies). I can still smell it, too. It was beautiful, but I think I remember being struck by its size, relatively small.

2:35 am  

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