Pretty punctuation

32. Northfleet, sister ship to Bencoolen
The Bencoolen

Punctuation is the stuff of gods. It changes things. It primps, it preens, it prettifies…

Imagine a world with no punctuation. Well, it’s easy for some people because they never use any….

This is a caption from my book, Bude Through Time, with hardly any punctuation included.

Try reading it aloud…..non-stop. No breathing allowed until you hit a comma or a full-stop.

These pictures show the wreck of Budes most famous sinking the barque Bencoolen lost off the coast of Bude on October 21st 1862 the stricken crew 32 men and 1 boy on the wreck constructed a raft out of fallen debris desperately attempting to reach shore the ship captained by William Chambers was carrying general cargo for Bombay including iron telegraph poles and wire ropes in atrocious weather the ship lost her masts steering and lifeboats 2 crew members were lost overboard only 6 of the 33 were rescued alive the cargo of hollow telegraph poles was reputed to have found their way into the plumbing and sanitation systems of many houses in the area there is a suggestion that some of these may still be in use the timbers of the vessel also found good use in the local construction trade one of the wire ropes found a good home later in transforming the river bank from a gently shelving slope covered in huge baulks of timber into the well defined bank we know today before the building in 1961 of the present wall the river edge was protected by a line of posts painted green with white tops with the wire strung between them it feels strange that a relic of that tragedy was still in use and an everyday sight nearly 100 years after the actual wreck but people did make use of whatever came their way for reasons of thrift but hopefully to preserve history too.

And breathe….

Does it make much sense? No. Is it easy to read? No.

Well, if you do not use punctuation, that is how your writing reads. Alarming, but true.

OK, now let’s add some paragraphs, punctuation, commas, and breathing spaces.

Remember this simple rule: put in a comma when your brain runs out of breath. Generally, if you can still breathe, you don’t need one!

These pictures show the wreck of Bude’s most famous sinking, the barque Bencoolen, lost off the coast of Bude on October 21st, 1862. The stricken crew (32 men and 1 boy) on the wreck, constructed a raft out of fallen debris, desperately attempting to reach shore.

The ship, captained by William Chambers, was carrying general cargo for Bombay, including iron telegraph poles and wire ropes. In atrocious weather, the ship lost her masts, steering and lifeboats. 2 crew members were lost overboard. Only 6 of the 33 were rescued alive.

The cargo of hollow telegraph poles was reputed to have found their way into the plumbing and sanitation systems of many houses in the area; there is a suggestion that some of these may still be in use. The timbers of the vessel also found good use in the local construction trade.

One of the wire ropes found a good home later, in transforming the river bank from a gently shelving slope (covered in huge baulks of timber) into the well – defined bank we know today. Before the building – in 1961 – of the present wall, the river edge was protected by a line of posts, painted green with white tops, with the wire strung between them.

It feels strange that a relic of that tragedy was still in use, and an everyday sight nearly 100 years after the actual wreck, but people did make use of whatever came their way, for reasons of thrift but hopefully to preserve history, too.

 

Better? Yes.

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