Although this was written in the context of distant history, our TV screens are awash with images of men being driven to boats in which they drown. By poor soils, poor governance, poor luck.

This is a grimmer image than earlier quotations from Nicolson’s Sea Room in which a fine day and a good wind in spring can inspire men to get into boats and take a chance.

‘Poor soils drive men to boats in which they drown.’

See also a quote-rich mosaic review of this magnificent, entrancing book: a love letter to islands and a paean to the sea. 


Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 49

Photo credit: Pexels at


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