Category Archives: Adventures

The astonishing story of Mary Read, soldier and pirate

If you don’t know it, clock the story of Mary Read, who spent much of her life passing as a boy or a man – and had careers in soldiering and two spells of piracy, one of which was as crew with pirate captain John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham.

She became friendly with Calico Jack’s lover, pirate Anne Bonny. The pirate captain became suspicious that they were lovers, and had to be let into the secret of Mary’s true gender.

Then Mary fell in love with a captured sailor, saved him from probable death in a feud, then got captured and tried, and finally died of fever in jail…

It’s scarcely credible, particularly when you think of the sleeping and toileting arrangements on ships in the old days, but it must be true…

My thanks to Museum Ship Fountain for pointing this out.

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Tom Pamperin directs book sales funds to Port Aransas boatbuilding museum

Tom Pamperin is an enthusiastic amateur boatbuilder, small boat cruiser and boating writer, and his book Jagular Goes Everywhere seems to get regular sales. Here’s a link to buy the book.

He’s just decided to donate funds from his book sales from now until the 9th April to Farley Boat Works, the local boatbuilding museum and sponsor of the annual Port Aransas plyWooden Boat Festival.

Here’s what he says:

‘The town was hit very hard by Hurricane Harvey, and I’d like to do what I can to help them recover. I’ve sailed the Texas coast a lot and made lots of good friends there, and I’d like to see the interest in wooden boats continue down there – they’ve had a good thing going on.’

Good Little Ship – Peter Willis’s book about Ransome’s boat is out now


Just in time for Christmas, I’d say!

Here’s what publishers Lodestar have to say:

‘Generations of children and their parents have delighted in Arthur Ransome’s series of twelve ‘Swallows and Amazons’ books, but one of them stands out from the rest as being of a different order altogether. We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea is both larger of theme and tighter of plot; it is a rite-of-passage tale quite unlike the others, and in describing the experiences of its protagonist John it illuminates much of Ransome’s own psychology.

‘Good Little Ship is a blend of literary criticism, maritime history and sheer celebration. Peter Willis combines an analysis of a classic of maritime literature (“a book of which Conrad would have been proud” – Hugh Brogan) with the story of the Nancy Blackett, Ransome’s own boat which appears as the Goblin in his story. He describes her life, near-death and restoration, and her renaissance as an ambassador for Ransome and his tales.’

On one point, I can’t agree with Lodestar. I think quite a few people who are neither children or parents have  enjoyed Ransom’s books…

For information, ordering etc, click here!