Why and What is QISMA

QISMA, is the Arabic name for Fate (similar to the English “KISMET”),  governing over aspects such as foresight, knowledge, love, luck, secrets, and wisdom. 

Admiral Lord Horatio NELSON RN was a great believer in fate.   "What is meant to be, will be"

NELSON served many years in the Far East as a young Officer, where he became very ill and was very near to dying.  Whilst he was a strong character, his body was very frail and had frequent periods of poor health. He wrote in his journal about his belief “in fate” and he awaited what fate had in store for him being so far from home, unknown to him what greater things awaited him as he grew up. In later years whilst serving in the Mediterranean he continued his interest in the "deity of fate" taught within the Arabian lands called QISMA. Such a man in the 18th Century, being frail and of poor health, would not have expected to have become such a Naval Commander and great military hero.

On 21st October 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson was shot and taken below decks.   On his death bed, as he lay fatally wounded, many senior officers came to pay their last respects to their much respected Commander in Chief. It is reported by those present that NELSON was heard to say to Captain Thomas M Hardy RN as he lay dying “Kiss me Hardy, Kiss me".

Many have speculated whether these words are correct.  Some knowing that he was such a believer in "fate"  have suggested he muttered “Kismet Hardy Kismet”  -- "Fate Hardy, what has happened is meant to be".

There are some however, who have followed NELSON in his career, but also investigated his personal life and character. They have suggested that he never saw himself "as being "fit" for purpose" but accepted that fate had a destiny for him.  Having served through such gallant sea battles, hurt and injured, and had been near death in the Far East, he lived his life to the full in what can only be called "an unorthodox fashion" but throughout his heath remained poor. He therefore had more respect for "fate" than others and on that day in October would have understood that he was dying.  Knowing this of NELSON, I agree with those who believe his final words where
            "QISMA HARDY..... QISMA."

NELSON was my hero as  a boy, a legend to whom I emulated, as I started my own career as a Cadet and then as a young officer at sea.  He has remained my hero, as I grew older,  his virtues and experiences were of great comfort to me when I too finally had my own Command at Sea; respecting him more and more, as I understood him, and as my career and my life has developed.


Alistair had 30 years in the RFA/RN and was forced to leave his life afloat due to re-occurring ill heath, and retired to a cottage in Leicestershire.  However, again due to poor heath, brought on by traumatic events Alistair resigned as District Council Leader, after his short career in politics, and we considered seriously whether we should finally sell up and live aboard our narrowboat.  From that day, fate has played a large part in how we came to be where we are today.

We first decided to have a new boat whilst cruising on our first boat SIR GALAHAD, which has served us well, but could not be classed as a "live aboard".  By chance we came upon the "Milburns family" on their boat whilst transiting up a lock.  Unknown to us who they were, we were chatting and admiring their boat and discussing the type of boat we dreamt of and the specific bow design Alistair wanted. They advised us to go for a 
Tyler Wilson hull as Jonathan Wilson was the best builder for such "josher" tug style bows.  They then mentioned that their family were also "small family boatbuilders" and invited us to come and see them.

As we became more serious, researching whether to build a new boat as opposed to buy an existing boat, we visited and spoke to many builders and boaters, all of which would have built or sold us fantastic boats, but who had time lines that were either too soon or too far away or had specifications that were not exactly as we wanted.  By this time, Alistair was forced to bring forward his proposed resignation, as he felt he could no longer commit to his public service. At this stage we went and saw Jonathan Wilson in Sheffield and by chance he had a spare slot to build in December, and agreed to build the design we wanted, but this would have meant a new hull but no boat fitter available.

It was at this meeting that Jonathan Wilson, knowing our position, recommended a small family builder that had impressed him greatly at the last Crick boat show, and commented that he would have liked to work with them sometime in the future. A great commendation!  It was only then that we realised that this was the same builders, that we had met at the lock months earlier.
With this recommendation, we went to the Milburns and were "very" impressed at their craftmanship. Whilst all the builders we visited could build fine boats, the impression was that this firm, would build your design, to your specifications with their professional experience and advice, to a standard that equalled or was better than the finest and most expensive boat buiders in the UK.  As if fate, the Milburns whilst comited to another boat build in January, offered to take us as an additional build in January, if we went with a Wilson Tyler hull.

Having not sold our house and Jan still working, (we agreed with our fingers crossed) with both parties and set in motion the build of a new boat.

Since then, the sell of Jan's flat in Southsea, (which had been let out for 3 years, as we could not sell it), was sold within 7 days of going on the market.  Our house was put on the market, (although we hoped it would not be sold until after christmas as we would be homeless).  After Xmas we changed Estate Agents and once again within 2 weeks it was sold.  Jan on my resignation applied for early retirement, and again just before xmas found she had been successful.

With Jan still working in London we moved from Great Bowden into a delightful barn conversion in Northampton shire, whilst the boat was built and Jan retired in March.

So far, fate has played a large part in our dream and as such the boat name of QISMA seemed very appropriate.