09/18/14

Etiquette at Sea, Part 1: Manners in the Mess

10506572_10100231590235335_6038180306118770936_oA photograph of Dar Młodzieży during the Tall Ships Regatta, 2014

Etiquette on board ship is just as relevant as any other time or place, perhaps even more so as you’re living in very close proximity to others. Your days and nights are spent pulling on ropes and scrubbing the decks, keeping watch in the pouring rain, climbing the rigging and setting the sails. It can be a high stress environment but in order for a ship to run smoothly there must be discipline and there must be teamwork. Manners and considering the needs of your shipmates are therefore of paramount importance.

When I refer to table manners at sea I’m not talking about the manners you use on some lavish Caribbean cruise or leisurely yacht charter. If that’s the kind of seafaring you enjoy then I recommend eating as you would at a fine dining establishment. I’m talking about when you’ve barely slept in four days; you’re cold, and your clothes are dirty and smell musty. Your muscles ache and you have bruises down your arms; your stomach is churning from sea sickness and you feel woozy but there is no option of taking a nap. Etiquette and manners may be the furthest thing from your mind but they matter. Continue reading

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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09/10/14

A Small Sampling of International Flag Etiquette and Protocol

Having emigrated from England to South Africa in August of 1992, my family arrived amidst much upheaval and change. The apartheid era was drawing to an end and the country was preparing to welcome Nelson Mandela as the nation’s first African president. Part of the process in building a new South Africa was changing the design of the flag. The choice of a new flag that would incorporate all the attributes of a new South Africa was not an easy decision to make. [Read more here].

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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04/26/14

Etiquette and Afternoon Tea Rituals

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The British ritual of afternoon tea is attributed to Anna Maria, 7th Duchess of Bedford. The Duchess was staying as a guest to John Manners, the 5th Duke of Rutland, at Belvoir Castle (pronounced beaver) in Leicestershire when she found herself experiencing a “sinking feeling” during the long hours between midday luncheon and late evening dinner. [Read more here].

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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04/15/14

Absent Without Leave

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I recognise that this blog has become rather neglected lately, although this was not intentional. After an unfortunate and quite serious car accident at the beginning of February I found myself a little bit preoccupied with other things, and despite having nearly seven weeks off work I wasn’t quite up to doing much. It was a very frustrating and boring couple of months. Anyhow I’m mostly fully healed now and back to my old self. Recently I have had the pleasure of contributing to Etiquipedia, an Etiquette Encyclopaedia which I’m really enjoying. The articles on the blog are so interesting and so varied it’s really great to be able to contribute to it. So at the moment I’m focusing my writing mostly on that but I will get back to bringing Shipshape Etiquette up to date shortly.

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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01/19/14

The Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette – A Review

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It was with unexpected pleasure that the much anticipated Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette fell gracefully through my letter box on 11 January, as it was not due to be released until almost a week later. A good half hour later, after getting over the excitement with copious amounts of smelling salts and makeshift fans I then proceeded to spend the morning learning how to bluff my way through many a society affair from a Royal Garden Party to a low-key Baby Shower (the latter is far more needed than the former – I’m due to attend my very first Baby Shower in a few weeks so it is very timely advice indeed).

There are two main reasons why I had been looking forward to this latest etiquette handbook to add to my already overflowing bookshelf. The first reason is that it is a British handbook on etiquette and sadly, such offerings from the Mother Country are hard to come by these days. Unless you want to read a book on Edwardian etiquette (which I love by the way, but it is important to keep with the times). Continue reading

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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11/23/13

Etiquette in the Age of Piracy

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I always wanted to be a pirate. Of course, at the time I was about six and didn’t actually know what that meant, but the idea of running away to sea, sailing the high seas and searching for buried treasure massively appealed to my overactive imagination. In fact, my love for tall ship sailing is a direct consequence of this early obsession with pirates. When I was little I went to every fancy dress party as a pirate (no princesses for me, yuck!) and I remember begging and begging my father for the Lego pirate ship which he did eventually give me for Christmas (thanks Dad!). Continue reading

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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11/21/13

Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top

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Today I received my copy of “Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top” by Dorothea Johnson and Liv Tyler. When I first heard about this new book several months ago I was very excited and couldn’t wait to receive it. The book is written in a modern, engaging style and is designed to give the advice from the points of view of two generations. As Johnson gives plenty of advice on everything from meeting and greeting, electronic etiquette, dining skills and even youtube etiquette, Tyler is on hand to provide helpful hints, tips, ideas and anecdotes in a very informative and entertaining way. Continue reading

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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11/18/13

Hero by Superchick

This is a really powerful anti-bullying song by one of my favourite music groups, Superchick.

It is quite distressing because this is a reality our society deals with every day, and as the song puts it, “This is our problem. This is just one of the daily scenarios which we choose to close our eyes instead of doing the right thing. If we make the choice and be the voice of those who won’t speak up for themselves, how many lives would be saved, changed, rearranged?”

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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11/16/13

Downton Abbey Joy

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Has anyone else noticed how some people win prizes almost every competition they enter while others never do? My best friend is one of the former. Ever since we were children she has won prizes as grand as mountain bikes while I never so much as won a bubble gum stick. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating by saying “some people win prizes almost every competition they enter” but honestly I’ve often thought about just asking my friend to enter competitions on my behalf so I might have half a chance at winning. Continue reading

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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10/30/13

Naval Traditions

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WP_20131026_008I recently attended a Trafalgar Day dinner with my father as part of the Maritime Volunteer Service. It was a highly enjoyable evening and a very educational one too.

After mingling with the guests for some time we were commanded to “stand fast” and “clap in the top table” before proceeding to our seats for the first course, which was a delicious prawn cocktail dish.

Most dinner guests had once served in the Royal Navy and were now involved in the Maritime Volunteer Service, of which my father is now proudly a member. I was sat beside an elderly gentleman who had fought in World War Two and had some extremely interesting stories to tell. Continue reading

Rachel North

Rachel North is a writer, etiquette and tea enthusiast with a heart for young people and a special interest in youth development. In her spare time Ms North enjoys sailing, visiting places of historical interest, attending social events and curling up with a good book, her husband and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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