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Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast
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Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  398 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Since its first broadcast in the 1920s, the shipping forecast on BBC radio has inspired poems, songs, and novels in addition to its intended objective of warning generations of seafarers of impending storms and gales. In Attention All Shipping,Charlie Connelly wittily explores the places behind the voice, those mysterious regions whose names seem often to bear no relation ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 1st 2005 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 2004)
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Anthony D Buckley
The Shipping Forecast is a curious feature of British life. It belongs with “Britannia Rules the Waves”, “Kiss me Hardy”, “For those in Peril on the Sea”, “Tom Bowling” and “Hearts of Oak”. It taps into the complicated mythology of Britain as an island nation of seafarers. Not that the myth is entirely mythological. My own uncle trained in a three-masted sailing ship to become a merchant seaman, and he was torpedoed a couple of times in the Battle of the Atlantic. There was nothing mythological ...more
Ted
Feb 12, 2013 Ted rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Ted by: review by Anthony D Buckley
Updated 2/12/13. Using my new non-fiction rating guidelines, I need to up this from a three to a four. And below should probably read "really 4 1/4" at least.

Really 3 1/2. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but the topic itself is not "weighty" enough to push it up to a four. After all, it's just a light travelogue.

But I did learn a lot reading the book, even if much of it was not earth-shakingly important. First of all, being American, I had never heard of the Shipping Forecast before, and I found
...more
Gerry
A magnificent read. Who would have thought that a book subtitled 'A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast' would provide such splendid reading. As a boy I always listened to the shipping forecast on the wireless (radio to the modern day person!) without ever knowing what Rockall, Finisterre, Dogger, forties and the like ever meant. And when the forecast itself was given, what the heck did all that mean, 'south westerly six to gale eight, increasing eight to storm ten, perhaps violent storm eleven ...more
Abailart
I loved this very funny, often informative, quirky account of travelling around the areas of the shipping forecast (apart from Bailey which is all sea but he flew over it). Some fascinating bits of British history are discovered, and some very interesting characters. Look out for a Norwegian island populated by Everton fans. Great fun.
Sarah Sammis
The year Attention All Shipping by Charlie Connelly came out, I got a job working as a web producer for a client based in Texas, while I was in California. The office I worked in was very small and very quiet. To bridge the gap between my scheduled assignments, I started listening to the internet stream of Radio Four.

With my location in California and the hours I worked, meant that my day began and ended with a broadcast of the Shipping Forecast. I think it was also on Radio Four that I heard a
...more
Libby
Dec 21, 2008 Libby rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: BBC Shipping Forecast tragics
I just love this book. I should add that I have a strange love of the shipping forecast too...

"Attention All Shipping" is a great idea (one that causes me to kick myself that I didnt get there first); Charlie Connelly travels to every shipping area in the forecast, along the way giving a bit of the history of the shipping areas, meteorology, lighthouses, the RNLI and the lives of the coastal and island communities around Britain and its nearest neighbours. Connelly has an enjoyable style, his se
...more
Craigb
Don't be put off by the title this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is an account of visiting all the areas of the shipping forecast. It gives some insights to places I never knew existed. If you like your travel books this is a must.
Jim
I couldn’t help but think that many journalists must have looked at what Bryson achieved, and the millions he has made, and thought, “For fuck’s sake, anyone could write that People’s Friend wank”, left the bar, lit a fag up over the word processor and completely failed to replicate that man’s populist style and gentle humour. Here’s another of them. I liked the idea because I agree that The Shipping Forecast is part of the patchwork of British life. What is it about though? I’ve wondered myself ...more
Dot
I think this book will please any one who grew up in England and remembers listening to the shipping forecast each day. As the writer says, the report was always poetic and the names of the shipping areas around UK seemed romantic. I'm enjoying this unusual travel book around the UK seas.

June 16th...it took me a long time to read this as it was my "book Bag" ie it travels with me to medical appointments, on ferries, etc so I always have something to read while waiting. I did enjoy the book very
...more
Martinxo
This should have been a great book, the idea is to travel to all the places on the shipping forecast. I gave up after 30 pages, beaten back by the endless, tedious and unfunny quips that Connelly insists on making every second line.

Fortunately, Connelly mentions two other books previously written on the same subject which is handy for me as I'm sure they are both better than this waste of space.

The only redeeming factor in this whole unhappy episode is that I purchased the book from a charity s
...more
Robin
This book is very British, the author looks at the history of the shipping forcast and then visits all of the strange places that get mentioned on the forecast. It's probably read very well in quick succession to Bill Bryson's Notes on a small island.

We learn an aweful lot about some of the history of Britain, but much more about the strange characters that make up our world (including the author), and some fascinating background into the shipping news. Not quite as funny as someone like Danny W
...more
Mark Glover
A book about the shipping report sounds about as interesting as a book about watching the grass grow, but Connelly with his ever irreverent humour manages to both capture and unstitch the fine detail behind this iconic bit of broadcasting. Making a physical journey to each of the places mentioned in the report, he takes you to far off places you may have heard mentioned on a regular basis but have no real bearing as to location or significance. His journey offers us an insight into each location ...more
Alex Rooke
This is one of those books with such a simple & ingenious premise, that you wonder why it hadn't been done before. I'm a big fan of Charlie Connelly anyway, but for me, this is his best book to date with plenty of laugh out loud moments & his trademark self-deprecating humour coupled with a healthy dose of interesting anecdotes & history.

Whether he's eating & drinking his own body weight in shrimps & white wine on Utsire, enduring a weekend in the most boring town in the worl
...more
Lisa Kelsey


In spite of the handicap of not having grown up in England hearing the shipping forecast, this travelogue delighted the heck out of me. What could be better than a tour of remote ocean-battered islands and coastal towns? Lots of intriguing little stories and tidbits, and very entertainingly written. Thank you Mr. Connelly for the fun ride!
Clair
Not very many books can make me laugh out loud (especially in the bath when you can hear your elderly neighbour shuffling about next door) but this one did. Am definitely a Charlie Connelly convert, and will be looking out for his other books! It also reinforced the Shipping Forecast as something that we should preserve!
Keziah Horne
I love the shipping forecast. To an unhealthy extent, some might say. I also hate travel books. This one succeeded in sucking the romance right out of that little denizen of British peculiarity. Visibility is good, occasionally poor in Fisher as I speak.
Linda French
Connolly's style is humorous and self-deprecating, and I found it hilarious. The subject matter--a visit, over the course of a year, to the various areas of the UK Shipping Forecast, is intriguing.
This was a very enjoyable book.

I found myself looking through a UK/European atlas to find some of the small islands and villages, and going to the web to see photographs. But it was so often cloudy, rainy, and windy that the photographs taken with perfect conditions didn't accurately depict Connolly's
...more
Joanne
Absolutely brilliant read and I chanced upon it for free as a second-hand copy in October last year on holiday in Mexico. Thought it would be my cup of tea and it was - one of those books where the author gets some mad idea into his head - "I know, let's go and visit all the locations mentioned on the Shipping Forecast" - and actually goes and does it with some very amusing results! Both funny and fascinating in turn as Charlie ends up in all sorts of mad places, and the bit about the puffins is ...more
Ron
It drew me in ...

I was always fascinated by the sheer poetry of the shipping forecast on the radio "Forties, Cromarty south west 4 backing slowly..."

And here was someone who shared the fascination sufficiently to visit these places, meet the people, and tell the stories.

Travel writing I can relate to.
Alanpalmer
One man's journey around the coast of the UK, and to sseveral other european countries, in pursuit of a dream to follow his families nautical history and visit every sea area in the UK Met office shipping forecast. The journey itself may sound pointless but it is at various times poignant, as he remembers lives lost in and saved by lifeboats; amuzing, as he remembers his fear of hights at the top of a life boat or attempts the isle of man TT on a pushbike; and illustrative of the need for a hipp ...more
russell barnes
It was okay I suppose.

The idea is interesting, to visit all the areas mentioned in the shipping forecast, with some historical info and amusing stories thrown in, and Connelly comes across as a well-meaning narrator bumbling around the coast. It just doesn't really hang together that well, and for a good half of it you just think 'why'.

There are moments of Bryson/ Tim Moore-lite curmudgeonly humour and self-deprecating whimsy, particularly the Isle of Man trip. However this is easily out-weighe
...more
Liz Bowsher
Sadly I didn't get on with this. I was leant it by a relative who clearly had enjoyed it, but I'm afraid I found it slow and dull, even though I usually like that type of book (books trivia, more about the world I wouldn't otherwise know).

Ah well, plenty more books on the shelf, and as my relative did enjoy it then others will too.
Claire Greener
Thoroughly enjoyed and have re-read since to pick up the bits I missed the first time. Interesting and informative.
Lesley
When I was Mia's age I used to find it hard to find books I might like to read in the local library, until I discovered the biography shelves. I devoured quite a few of these before plucking up courage to search elsewhere. I feel a bit like that in some bookshops, although in a really good one, like Burway Books in Church Stretton where I found The Summer Book, lots of books seem to jump out at me. In W H Smith I always check out the travel shelf. I've often found fascinating books there. This o ...more
Lis
At some points a laugh out loud romp around the areas of the shipping forecast, at others poignant and thought provoking, but always interesting and informative. Recommended to all inhabitants of our wonderful islands.
Scott Joseph
This was blow snot out of your nose funny! I read much of this book in a pizza cafe in Brno, Czech Republic where the patrons must have thought that the odd American, sitting by himself, reading and drinking beer was "off his meds". I was in the Air Force at the time and stationed in England so was well aware of Radio 4's shipping forecast and as one that suffers from wanderlust I was curious about the areas mentioned in the broadcast, this book quenched that curiosity.
Rachael
This book tried to be interesting and failed. It tried to be funny, and managed to fail even harder.

This is saved from being given a single star only because a few of the facts about the shipping forecast itself are quite interesting. Otherwise, I think the author manages to sum it up when, after telling a particularly poor joke towards the end of the book, he says:

"I thought I was funny. I was mistaken."
Sarah
Not a run of the mill travel book, which is what drew me to it. Mildly interesting, and faintly amusing, although the forced funnies were starting to grate a little by the end. I couldn't understand why he took a year to journey around the shipping forecast instead of doing it in one go (which would have been easier and cheaper).

I did have me Googling the Principality of Sealand though :-)
Claire Bellot
This is a great book. It is very 'English' in its subject matter - the Shipping Forecast has become part of our heritage. I've always enjoyed the comforting tones of the announcer on Radio 4, "South Utsire, Cromarty, German Bight" et al; this book explores the entire history and geography of the Shipping Forecast in an engaging and entertaining way. An excellent, charming read.
Chris Allen
An entertaining travelogue of the shipping forecast map, but I would have liked some more detail on the science / detail of the shipping forecast really. It's well written, and a pleasure to read, and has some wonderful evocative prose.

If it were fleshed out with more science or detail on the actual forecast, this would be positively excellent.
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