Sailing Down The Orwell

(Mike Sparks)

A sailor's life is wild and free
It certainly appealed to me
So I took myself to Neptune Quay
To try to go to sea
This man with an earring looked in charge
He said try something not too large
And signed me up on his old Thames Barge
On which I went a-sailing

Sailing down the Orwell
Sailing down the Orwell
Sailing down the Orwell
On a wild and windy day
Sailing down the Orwell
Sailing down the Orwell
Sailing on an old Thames barge
We took from Neptune Quay

It was very smooth across the dock
But it got quite choppy in the lock
When we got outside I had a shock
The day I went to sea
This man I said with the gold earring
Went and pulled this piece of string
Let fly this damn great canvass thing
The day I went a-sailing

He called this damn great thing the sail
By then we were passing Pipers Vale
I was sick three times off the left-hand rail
The day I went to sea
And Freston Shores I could tell
Were bobbing wildly in the swell
I was sick off the other side as well
The day I went a-sailing

Off Levington Creek he hollered tack
Back your jib, heave in the slack
I heaved alright, but off the back
The day I went to sea
And the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill
Was moving round not standing still
And oh my God I did feel ill
The day I went a-sailing

With Buttermans Bay straight ahead
I was wishing I was dead
With mal de mar and a thumping head
The day I went to sea
Now if he turned left instead of right
Felixstowe would come in sight
And we could park there for the night
Instead of going sailing

At Shotley Gate I disembarked
I'm giving up this sailing lark
Up some other tree I'll bark
No more to go to sea
But I've sailed oceans deep and vast
Served me time before the mast
And now I'll make my story last
Of when I went a-sailing

1991 Mike Sparks

This song appears on the CD 'Going Round Again'