It’s a tale of adventure, romance and friendship, and it was written by a Bridlington boy who wanted nothing more than to see the world.
Down by the Markes, by Mike Gough, took the now 75-year-old first-time author the best part of 10 years to complete.
And it takes a lot to make a lengthy account of someone’s career in the Merchant Navy an accessible read.
But Mike’s engaging writing style and captivating prose means Down by the Markes is nothing short of a success.
“One of the things that I missed most was fresh milk.
“It those days, it was one of the greatest treats”, said Mike.
And why wouldn’t it be? Being confined to a ship for months on end, with nothing to supplement fresh milk other than the condensed variety, would take its toll on anyone.
Mike’s story is a vivid and relatable voyage around the world, and is, at times, incredibly personal and detailed.
He added: “If it’s going to be read by people who used to be in the Merchant Navy, you’ve got to use the right language, or they will tear you apart if you don’t use the right terms.”
In this age of health and safety, it can be easy to overlook the hardship and danger endured by thousands of Merchant Navy sailors – not least those of the Burie Markes company.
While Mike’s account of his time as a sailor is, overall, an optimistic one, Down by the Markes is not without its misery and heartache.
From bright-eyed and bushy-tailed beginnings starting out as an apprentice, Mike’s tale takes the reader on the adventure of a lifetime.
And even if a large portion of that lifetime was taken up by polishing the brass and swabbing the decks, Mike’s account of life on the oceans is still packed with fun and heaps of laughs.
The author is now busying himself writing his next book, for which he has already completed three chapters.