July 26th, 2012

[ANON POST] Historical fishing boats and crossing the English Channel

Here's the situation: I am trying to get my characters from Dover, Kent (of white cliffs fame) across the English Channel to France. Setting is late 19th century, but for various reasons, the ferries/mail packets are not an option. My working assumption is that they can find a fisherman with a boat that can make the crossing if they offer him enough money (although if you have another/better idea, by all means share it!).

What I am trying to figure out is what sort of a boat that would be (and from there, how many people it would take to operate it, how fast it would travel, what sort of fish it would be designed to catch, etc). I have never been to the UK and I've lived in a landlocked area for most of my life, so I'm a bit lost! I've Googled various permutations of "fishing industry Kent," "history of fishing industry in Britain," "English Channel," "dover fishing fleet," "historical british fishing boats," "english channel fishing," and while I can find information about types of boats that were in use at the time (sailing trawlers and perhaps early steam trawlers, drifters) I'm having trouble finding which ones would specifically have been used in Dover - I don't want my characters in a boat that's designed to catch herring if herring fishing wasn't happening in Dover. In spite of the fact that it's fifty years later, I even looked into the evacuation of Dunkirk to try to get a feel for small ships that could have made the crossing, but I think the technology had changed too much by then for it to be helpful.

I'm aiming for something pretty small, that the captain would believably own himself. Any ideas?

Dying of sepsis, and horseriding accidents

Setting: fictional history, kind of a mashup between the roman empire and early turkic peoples plus lots of made-up stuff.  This particular scene is in a fairly remote desert, in early spring (very warm days, near-freezing nights).  The characters are going to a market town on their own to trade some things, and have no way to contact anyone else.

Characters: Three teenagers, ages 13-15 approximately.  The injured/dying one - we'll call her DC - is healthy until the injury.  They all have basic first-aid knowledge and have dealt with everyday injuries.  One of the other kids has watched her aunt (a healer) work and so is more knowledgeable, but has no special medical training.

Scenario: DC has an accident while riding her horse.  The horse breaks a leg and has to be put down.  DC ends up with a deep laceration or puncture wound on her arm from the fall, bleeding is stopped with pressure and bandages.  They continue moving, but over the next few days DC's wound goes septic and she dies.

Medical questions:
What unmistakable visual signs could I use to show untreatable sepsis and/or gangrene?  It's a comic, so fever, skin texture, etc. aren't as easily shown.  I'm thinking red streaks up the arm and chest, plus nasty necrotic swollen stuff at the wound site.  How long would be reasonable to go from injury to death, and at what point would she likely be unable to continue traveling?  Does about four days sound right?

Search terms - sepsis, wound infection signs, symptoms infection, gangrene, blood poisoning signs

Horse questions:
I'm looking for an accident that will badly injure the horse, but allow the rider to jump or be thrown clear of the fall.  Ideally it'd be something that can happen at a walk or trot since they're not going very fast.  The horse is a well-trained mare, carrying a fair bit of weight if that makes a difference.  I was thinking bad footing or gopher hole makes it trip?  Or possibly something spooks it?  I can find lots of information on general trail safety, but I'm looking more for the unavoidable-hazard-type thing.  If necessary I can use something else, (snakebite?) as long as it's fatal.  Once it's hurt, will it be able to get back up?  I'd also appreciate any general tips on how it might act or appear during/after the incident.

Search terms - trail safety, horse accidents, horse leg break, fractures riding horses, horse fall injury

Thanks folks!