Title: The Pickled Memory of Captain Silas E. Parks
Status: Published 15th September 2015
ISBN 10: 1515202275
ISBN 13: 978-1515202271
Word Count: about 88,000
Genre: Humour/Maritime Fiction
Brief Blurb: Twenty sea-hopping misadventures of the retired and pickled captain as he props up the bar at his local.
The Short Blurb
Captain Silas is retired, at least eighty years old if he is a day. From his merry perch on the same bar stool that he first sat on fifty years ago and with a frequently replenished glass of whatever is on offer he willingly dives into his misadventures. Silas is a very decent sort of bloke, he is a true 'salt of the sea' but his continually scuppered state always ended him in near disaster. Never his fault though or so he says.
The Long Blurb
An old ship's captain, retired and over eighty, the well-lubricated Captain Silas E. Parks lays out his past life at sea to a series of often dubious but always captivated listeners.
Silas can be found on most days and for that matter most times of the day, propping up the bar of his local pub. From his perch on the same bar stool that he sat on fifty years ago, and with a frequently replenished glass of whatever is on offer his adventures and drunken escapades flow freely. He is a very decent sort of bloke. He is a salt of the sea, but if you haven't got a couple of hours to spare, if you don't have an ear for a racing sea adventure or two and if you begrudge an old codger a whisky or three then don't sit down; go on, move on up the bar and let another sit for the ride.
Silas can never quite grasp the fact that the disastrous results of his many escapades are invariably due to his alcohol befuddled mind. That includes the time when his ship was apparently attacked by pirates in the middle of the Indian Ocean despite teaching the cook how to make Molotov cocktails, and not to mention that other disaster near Morocco when his spick-and-span cruise ship unexpectedly hit some rough weather. That was when he accused some Moroccan teetotalers of drinking his wine. From Venezuela where he ended up in jail after over-dosing on baked-beans, to Papua New Guinea where he upset the commodore of the Royal Australian Navy, Silas gives vivid recount as he remembers it.
In fact, even in Taiwan, when he accidentally lost the entire crew’s football pool winnings, that time when he was chased by two machete-wielding locals or indeed that unfortunate incident of the misunderstood Christmas speech, he maintains total blindness to his instigator status. Whilst never quite placing blame for the disastrous outcomes on other crew-members he frequently and perhaps conveniently manages to imply that others might have been conspiring against him for one reason or another.
There is no hurry to buy the old goat a drink. Silas might be old but he's a solid fixture and he drinks a lot. But do make sure you pop by, you won't be sorry you did.
Where the idea for Silas and the book came from ...
Ships are typically manned by an assortment of vivid characters, from the Captain down to the mess-man and all have more than one story to tell. Silas E Parks is a fictional captain who (like some retired or still sailing seafarers) lives and breathes the liquid and fumes of whatever alcoholic beverage he can get his hands on.
'Life at sea' for some sailors (perhaps less today than in the recent past) is one long denial of an existent drinking problem. In other words, an inordinate amount of ship's Captains and their crews have co-existed and survived on board in drunken stupor - the times ashore between trips being spent in dysfunctional co-existence with society and foggy family members - an early return to sea being preferred to a divorce, a court order or forced attendance at a detox clinic.
The Disclaimer ...
Captain Silas is completely fictional and apart from his near-constant pickled or scuppered state he bears no resemblance to any captain or seafarer Ieuan sailed with or whom he may have met in some dubious watering-hole along the way.