Image Hosting by These are the tales of the brave and foolish Souls that ventured into the treacherous dark Lemurian Waterways aboard the Mysterious Buccaneer Ship The Calabar Felonway as they search for the infamous Dead Man's Chest

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I wrote a story early July'06 of my Maternal G/Grandparents
migration by ship from London in 1887
Travelling with their 6 children on board the Port Adelaide
They arrived and lived in Port Melbourne Victoria Australia
until their deaths

I was asked by a friend at the weekend how we choose names
for new born babies especially girls
I said "They have lists of favourites,up to the date names now
on the internet"
"Don't they call them after the family anymore ?" asked Maree
"I don't really" know I said "Perhaps the names are not of todays likings"

It was then ,I remembered the Family History sheets I have ,not yet completed by my Sister In Law who has been documenting and researching it for some 15 years.
I wrote down the names
The 1st ones are the Daughters of Cornelius and Polly
They would be my G/G parents and my(Great Aunties I think)
There was
Georgina Emma
Susan Kate
Emily Mabel
Maria Sophia
Alice Harriet
Charlotte Eliza
and then their children...
Valerie Barbara
Helen Mary
Margaret Noelle
Mary Ann
Jean Elizabeth
Kathleen Sophia
Jessica Georgina

From this list I deduced that we sometimes take the name
of an Aunt Mother or Grandmother or female cousin
BUT it seems as each generation is born
They want to be individual or up with the times
OR perhaps a name that others will not jest about
Or depending on the country of Birth
they named their children after the Queens and Kings
of whence they came to make them seem less detached

ONE notices than in naming the males of the family
There did not seem to be such diversions
until many many years along the way
They stuck to the
Frederick (Odd one)
Sammual (strange one)
Clifford(not English)?

So as I close I am none the wiser
as to how names eventuate
Me I was named (as my Mother told me)
Lois....because it could not be shortened
But.....She was not correct for I am called many names
like...Lo Lo...Loey...Shorty....Toots....Sis..Lovey....
Just a little bit of Trivia from.....
Lois (Muse of the Sea) 24.7.06.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Xiao Zheng Yi Sao

This sweet looking lady knows how to use that cutlass, and not just for gutting fish.

At home in the Galley of the Calabar Felonway, Xiao is busy preparing skilly and duff for a hungry crew.

Skilly and duff,
Skilly and duff,
There's never enough
skilly and duff.

Skilly and duff
makes us rough
Makes us tough
Never enough
skilly and duff.

How do you make skilly and duff?
Scrub and chop up potatoes with your cutlass. Fry in hot oil or butter. Clean, gut, bone your catch of the day. Fry in butter or oil. Season with salt, pepper, lemon to taste. Yummmm.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ahoy there, do ye need a laufgh??

What is the pirates' favourite film??

"Jason and the Aaaaarrrrr-gonauts!!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another Piratical Pun

Here we be brave lads and lasses of the Felonway, today's bit o' humour to make the day lighter.

Did you hear about the fat pirate??

His crew dubbed him 'Jowly Roger'!!!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Just a quick chuckle

Does anyone know what sort of socks Pirates wear?

Groan, boos, and helpless snickers. Good morning loves!!!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I have moved my computer to the kitchen area where I am now
warm and cosy.
Above my desk is a story of my Great Grand parents
A photo of an old farmhouse at the bottom of the Great Divinding Range in Whittlesea
in my state of Victoria.
This old home was owned by my Maternal Grandfather Sydney John Craske

The journey goes back to 1887 when Cornelius John Craske
and his wife Polly travelled from Necton in England for Australia
The ship sailed from London on 2nd April and was called the Port Adelaide ,the journey took many months
The Craskes travelled with their 6 children
Fares were in Guineas ..44 for top of the range saloon cabins
18 for two berth cabins ,sixteen for 4 berth, and 13 for open berths
These were adult fares...1/2 price for children under 12..

I do not know how they travelled,if they had money or not
I marvel at the risks involved in a journey like this
How to keep an eye on 6 children on a ship,"Where are they" would be the common words of the day
How to amuse them on such a long journey
How to overcome illness
I think to did they do
their washing,change nappies see the children ate their meals
and on and on.
And how they coped without family support
But.....they did and arrived safely in Port Melbourne
at Town Pier some months later in 1887
Settling in a little weatherboard house in Port Melbourne in a house they named
Necton after their home town

This small farm cottage I am looking at was
purchased by my Grandfather Sydney John Craske in 1929 and it was here
he took his parents Cornelius John and Polly for holidays.
Travelling from Port Melbourne in whatever was available perhaps an old truck of some sort ..I have no photos just this one of the house taken by the local
Historical Society.
And then Sydney took his his children,then his grandchildren
and then I took my children, only for a short while, till
the house was mowed down for road widening
I can still see it sitting on the top of the highest hill
with its gigantic pine tree shedding its cones and needles
which as children ,we painted for Christmas decorations

So you see from a short story of a journey by ship
There is a reminscence of a family and their journey
and this is where I belong...Part of the journey
I always say to friends that my maternal family is a
matriachal one each women from that journey through to now
were strong ,vibrant and their genes are worth bottling.

Lois(Muse of the Sea) 5,7,06

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dragon Lady of the South China Sea

“I was twenty years old when I set foot on land for the first time, granddaughter.”

My Grandmother’s words surprised me. But then, Grandmother had many secrets. I grew up on her stories, stories of excitement, and adventure. I knew I was to hear more of her life story today, as I joined her for tea.

We sat in my Grandmother’s garden as a slave brought us tea. Grandmother prepared it, steeping the fragrant leaves and pouring the delicate flavored brew into fine porcelain cups as if she had been a lady all her life, and not the Dragon Lady of the Sea, Zheng Yi Sao.

“It was a strange sensation, to have the ground still beneath my feet! I was used to the movements of the sea. I was so wobbly! I laugh now, but at the time I was quite embarrassed.”

“In time I learned it is normal to be unsteady after time at sea, just as you would be unsteady aboard the junk, living all your life on land. Still, I was sure everyone was looking at me and laughing.

“Everyone may have been looking at me. I am old now, but then I was considered uncommonly beautiful. And no one laughed, no one dared. I walked beside my husband, Zheng Yi. His legs did not wobble!

“The trip ashore was a wedding gift to me. A new experience, he said. So it was. So many people, crushed together, I scarce could breathe! So many new sounds and smells. I was excited, trying to see everything and yet remain dignified. I wanted to be worthy of Zheng Yi. Being his wife was a stroke of good fortune for me, but it was not the beginning of my life as a pirate.”

“I was born on the Pearl River at Guangzhou. So you might say I was born a sea bandit. We lived on a junk, my father, mother, father’s mother, sisters and two brothers. My mother and grandmother never went ashore, but lived all their life on the water. That is not uncommon. Everything one needs can be had on the water. Peddlers come by in boats, selling anything anyone could want, everything we needed. The trick was to have yuan enough to buy!

“Merchants gave credit, but not from generosity. You must then sell them your fish, and of course it is the merchant who sets the price! If you dare to sell to another and pay back the money you will suffer. Perhaps you will be beaten, have your ear cut off, or your junk ransacked, or worse. Life is hard on the water, granddaughter. It is very difficult to get enough to eat.

“My brothers were fed after our parents and grandmother. When they were satisfied, my sisters and I were allowed to share what was left. When food was scarce daughters did not eat at all. So early I learned to steal. I would sneak away to join a band of other children. We were clever little bandits. I stole enough to feed myself and sometimes bring something home. Then my mother did not beat me as hard for running off and neglecting my chores. If I brought back betel or rice wine, she did not beat me at all.

“During the times when the fish were not running, my father would disappear for week or month with others and go raiding. In this way he was able to provide enough for subsistence, but little more.

“I do not know how many sisters I had, for when daughters are old enough we are sold to the flower boats or as slaves. You, my granddaughter, are a treasure to our house. We are rich and can enjoy the luxury of daughters. But to poor fishermen a daughter is she-pen huo, goods on which one loses. She costs more to feed than will be recouped when she is sold. There are no dowries among the fisher folk. Not like we will provide for you.

“I think, perhaps, my father would not have sold me had there not been famine, for I was successful thieving. I became the leader of my little band. But the rice crops failed almost every year for five years. The money from my sale purchased enough rice to feed my parents and brothers for only a day or two. And I brought him a better price than most, for I was uncommonly pretty.

“I was nine when I was sold to a flower boat. I see shock in your face, granddaughter. I have come a long way that my grandchild has sensibilities I never knew. You do not yet know what transpires between men and women in private chambers. But on a fisherman’s junk there is no privacy. Nor is there childhood. By nine years old I did the same work as my parents. I minded my little brothers, cooked, mended nets and sails, fished, drank rice wine, chewed betel when I could get it. And knew what would be expected of me on the flower boat.

“On the flower boats you do not go hungry. The work is no harder than on the fishing junk, and can be pleasant at times. There are tricks to every trade. I mastered the tricks of mine. As my popularity grew, so did my price. I turned down every offer of marriage, until your grandfather.

“I remember the first time I saw him as vividly as it was yesterday. Our flower boat came along side his junk, an ocean going craft of teak. I can still see it, a dragon on the water, eyes painted on the prow, crimson sails glowing with the light from torches on the deck. We came aboard, awed. The ship could have belonged to the emperor it was so rich, so large.

“Your grandfather was seated on cushions above the rest of his crew. He wore brocade of imperial yellow, a symbol of the honor bestowed upon him by the Tay-son emperor in Vietnam. Your grandfather, Zheng Yi, served the Tay-son faithfully and ably. Had the rebellion succeeded our fortunes would have risen along side theirs. Who knows? It is possible the House of Zheng would be the ruling House in Beijing now, not the Manchus.

“It is ironic that I, the daughter of an illiterate, impoverished fisherman could trouble the Son of Heaven. We never saw each other’s faces, yet our destinies were entwined. In the end the Emperor may not have kowtowed to me in person, but he did in policy. He had no choice but to meet my demands… But that is a story for another day.

“The beginning of my journey to negotiating with the Emperor began that night on your grandfather’s junk. I knew I was in the presence of the great Zheng Yi. What a man! A man like I had never seen before. Not tall, but muscular. He wore an aura of power as imperial as his robes. His queue was oiled with fragrant oil. There were jeweled rings on his fingers and gold earrings in his ears. He wore boots of fine, red leather. His sword and pistol were functional rather than ornamental. Undisputedly a lord of men. Never had I wanted a man as I wanted your grandfather.

“I did not wait for him to choose, lest his favor go to another. I knew who he was, but he did not know me. I took a jug of expensive rice wine and a cup and went to him. I bowed to him, but my eyes did not leave his face. I was a bold one! Your grandfather was such a man who had respect for boldness and contempt for weakness. A demure maiden would have repulsed him. But I was a beautiful woman in my prime, confident of myself.

“I poured him wine, keeping my hand on his as he downed the cup. What I sold for a living I gave to your grandfather with a passion that surprised me. He asked for my name. I was born Shih Hsiang-ku, but I answered, ‘Zheng Yi Sao, wife of Zheng Yi.’
He laughed. I could always make him laugh.

“When the others returned to the flower boat, I remained behind.

“The priest on the ship consulted the joss to for an auspicious day for us to marry. Of course it was that day! It was always auspicious for what Zheng Yi wanted!

“Learn this well, Granddaughter! It is one thing to attract a man, it is quite another to keep his interest. That requires more than skill in lovemaking. I asked questions. I learned from him. He taught me to fight and shoot. By watching him I learned how to lead. In private I spoke to him of my observations. He listened to me. Such is a trait of a good leader, to listen and consider the thoughts of subordinates. Doing so cements their loyalty. And sometimes the advice is good.

“It was not long before he included me in the discussions with his captains. I earned their respect as well. Thus I became a pirate. In time I lead the Red Flag Fleet with him, and after his death, the entire confederacy. We controlled the entire South China seacoast, defeated the Imperial navy, even ransomed barbarian English.”

Grandmother stopped speaking. She looked away toward the westering sun. Then she looked again at me.

“If it was my beauty that brought me to power, it was also my beauty that brought my demise. Tsung-ping Pao, leader of the White Flag Fleet, wanted me. When I chose Chang Pao over him, I lost his loyalty. His return to allegiance broke the bonds of our confederacy.

“We cannot control the events of fortune, but we can use them to our advantage. The terms of Tsung-ping Pao’s return to allegiance were generous, setting a precedent. The Emperor had no force to stop us and our attacks on Western vessels caused him to lose face with the rest of the world. He needed our return to allegiance, and in the end paid the price we demanded.

“So you are the daughter of a wealthy house and great one, the house of Zheng. But, pay attention, Granddaughter, You cannot control the circumstances of fortune, but you can take advantage of them. You have been born into muchness, but it can turn to nothing if you are unwise. Be wise, Granddaughter.”

Grandmother rose gracefully and went into her quarters. I stayed in the garden, pondering over her story, until the moon set, and I, too, went inside to sleep.