Monday, April 25, 2016


This letter U put me in a quandary. There's that Ulysses (Odysseus in Greek ) who we all know, the swashbuckling hero immortalised for children by Charles Lamb. Then there's the Ulysses of Tennyson who returns after his long travels and is re-united with his wife (Penelope) and son (Telemachus) but yearns to go off in search of more adventure. (THAT I can identify with!)

But then, my favourite Ulysses is not a man, not a hero but a ship, a well armed light cruiser, to be exact. HMS Ulysses. I loved the war story genre. All that patriotism and intrigue, the tragedy, the mutinies. Alistair MacLean had me hanging on to his every word. One that I read again and again still? South by Java Head. 

“She was still doing forty knots, driving in under the guns of the enemy, guns at maximum depression, when "A" magazine blew up, blasted off the entire bows in one shattering detonations. For a second, the lightened fo'c'sle reared high into the air then it plunged down, deep down, into the shoulder of a rolling sea. She plunged down and kept on going down, driving down to the black floor of the Arctic, driven down by the madly spinning screws. The still thundering engines her own executioners.” 
― Alistair MacLeanHMS Ulysses

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