From: "Tim Wallace-Murphy"
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 16:59:24 +0100
Despite my appalling spelling, I have been asked to by Niven, who is snowed
under with work at the moment, to bring you up-to-date with recent events in
in connection with
Laura's re-creation of the St. Clair/Zeno voyage.
Under Niven's leadership, his nephew Tony, Tony's wife Anna, Marilyn Hopkins
and myself flew to Orkney early on Thursday morning. Soon after we booked
into the hotel, I located Laura's boat, Seven Roses,
and was soon immersed in her account of the voyage so far.
Laura's recreation of the
Zeno/ St Clair voyage
has already accomplished a
great deal in the public eye. Everywhere she has gone so far, the voyage has
reported in the press and Laura and Jack have been warmly received in
each port they have visited. This courageous and beautiful lady has, for
many people, put flesh on the bones of the Prince Henry story in a manner
that is unlikely ever to be exceeded. She has made the history of this
momentous, but little known achievement, come alive in a way that appeals to
academic historians, the ordinary public and, perhaps most importantly for
the future, to children everywhere. And this by a lady who is neither a
Sinclair nor a Zeno, who is neither Venetian nor Scottish, but who is
undoubtedly truly a brave and gracious lady.
trouble with head-winds in the Mediterannean
their tour of the
the boat called at the Templar port of St
southern Spain before passing though
the Straits of Gibraltar. Then, Laura, her first mate, Cap'n Jack and the
two dogs spent some time in Portugal near the ancient Templar headquarters
Leaving Portugal, they sailed on to La Rochelle and spent some considerable
time there researching the Knights Templar and made some useful contacts
among historians, both professional and amateur in that area.
Stopping off at Hartlepool, there was a small hiatus, Cap'n Jack fell off
his bicycle after a collision with a gondola (his words not mine) which
resulted in the bold captain sustaining a broken rib and, more tragically,
ruining a full pouch of pipe tobacco with salt water. Divine retribution
soon followed, someone then stole the bicycle. We are happy to report that
nothing so untoward happened in Orkney. Indeed we all had a most delightful
dinner on the Thursday night and, for the younger members of the party, the
talk went on until the small hours.
Clan Chief, Malcolm, the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Caithness
joined us on
Friday morning and once again
we were all entertained aboard Seven Roses.
Tony and Annat, as a mark of respect and affection for Laura and Jack, then
provisioned the boat for its Atlantic crossing which commences today, Sunday
25th of June with an official escort out of Orkney laid on by the local yacht
At 4.30 pm on Friday Laura was given an official reception by the Islands
Council at their offices in Kirkwall. The Vice-Convenor, a certain Jim
Sinclair, hosted the occasion on behalf of the council and our delegation
was led by the Clan chief ably assisted by Niven. After some brief speeches,
there was a presentation of flowers to Kath Gouraly in thanks for all her
sterling efforts in making this event possible before we moved on to the
Laura was formally presented with 'The Sword of Peace' a beautiful
ceremonial sword engraved with the word for peace in a plethora of
languages, which she is to present to the senior representative chosen from
among the Mi'maq people. This is to be a tangible symbol of the clans
gratitude and respect to the people who made Earl Henry so welcome in Nova
Scotia and who continued to help him in all his endevours.
Then there was a two way presentation of plaques. Laura, acting on behalf of
the Council of Venice, presented the Orkney Council with a commemorative
plaque made from Venetian Glass, and in return received a plaque bearing the
arms of Orkney. This ceremony was repeated outdoors for the photographers,
but actually took place in the Council offices under the Mi'Maq flag. This
had been presented to the Island Council by Donald Julien, Peter Christmas
and Chief Kerry Porsper, at the Sinclair Symposium. Laura also recived a
generous gift of a hamper of local delicacies from the Orkney people plus
some locally produced 'medicinal' whiskey.
Friday night concluded with a dinner for the whole party which again ran on
to the small hours. Sadly, on Saturday morning, our party had to leave
Orkney and fly south once more. As I write this today at five pm on Sunday
Laura is en-route to
recreating the original voyage
as accurately as possible. We wish her God speed and safe journey and hope
to see her again in Canada.
Attached jpeg photographs.