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Trafalgar & Pirates

Ahoy me hearties!

I am in the midst of learning songs for an evening jolly in the pub tomorrow in honour of Trafalgar Day. I wonder how long my history-averse brain will retain 21st October as a date of such importance? Till sometime last week, I expect.

Anyway, the songs are beginning to permeate my grey matter and I am hopeful that ‘with a fair and fav’rin’ breeze’ I may be able to trill along with the best of them when we gather round the bar, endeavouring to obscure the view of the footie screens – unless, of course the screens are showing suitably gory black and white movies of sea-battles in which case we’ll stand well back and roar our offerings from the quarterdeck, or perhaps simply stand and gawp from the poop.

In an attempt to add detail to that last paragraph, I scrolled fleetingly through Google’s offerings with a ‘films about Nelson’ search and was surprised at several references to time spent on Robben Island. Fortunately even my history-lite logic eventually worked that one out and refined the search terms further. However, a few ‘poor Yorick’ misdirections then inevitably ensued…

As usual, at the first signs of progress in my learning of the words and music required, I down-tools and start on something else. In this case, it is at least related to the task in hand, and involves the creation of an A5 folder which will contain the words of all the songs, for clutching to what I will pretend, for dramatic effect, is my ample bosom whilst I sing. Of course I am not supposed to look at the words, and certainly not continuously, throughout the performance, but our leader has relented and allowed these discreet memory joggers. At this juncture I am once again briefly diverted to wonder whether our choir leader could on this occasion assume a Lady Hamilton persona (or Winnie? – no, sorry, wrong search thread dammit – thought I’d eliminated these references), but conclude that sharing a first-name is the only similarity here and there’s no evidence that Lady H might have stood on the quay warbling for her beloved, or indeed inciting others to do so down the pub. (Full disclosure, I’ve not bothered to look this up, so for all I know, Lady Hamilton was actually an accomplished musician, but there are times when it’s better just to fabricate a convenient lie, particularly when time is already short and I should be doing something else.)

When I drag myself out of this latest historical rabbit-hole, I scuttle immediately down another – this time researching a suitable font in which to print the folder cover. This particular search reveals that, for many many years, the name of Nelson’s ship ‘Victory’ – on display as a museum piece – was painted on its stern in a font which would have been unknown at the time of the famous battle. I therefore feel justified in my tedious (and as it turns out, somewhat inconclusively useless) online enquiries. These things really do matter! And my folder looks smart whether it has authentic character or not.

Clearly I need to stop this blogging study-avoidance and return to my song learning as time is running out for useful preparation. Truth be told, I’m waiting for Mr J to leave the house, so that I may march freely around Jillings Towers, one minute boldly declaiming a confident verse and the next gently muttering a dubious harmony, as I strive to embed all eight of the chosen works in my already overstuffed and sadly inelastic noggin. Occasional bursts of swearing may of course occur, but I am happy in the knowledge that these are almost certainly authentic in nature.

Of course, the big Trafalgar event will be over all too soon, but it seems that nautical experiences will continue a little longer if my online calendar is to be believed; apparently I will be attending a weekly Pirates course on Wednesday evenings throughout November. Who knew?

Pirates definitely beat Yoda any day.




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