Good Little Ship: Arthur Ransome, Nancy Blackett and the Goblin

Julie read Peter Willis’s book Good Little Ship: Arthur Ransome, Nancy Blackett and the Goblin (published by Lodestar) with great pleasure recently. She was clearly charmed by it, and I thought her comments were interesting – not least because they show how Peter’s book is as relevant to non-boating Ransome fans as it is for us boat nuts.

Here’s what she says:

‘I read We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea when I was a child with no understanding or experience of sailing whatsoever and no knowledge of that part of our coast – but when I first read it I enjoyed it as an adventure in an unfamiliar and exciting world, but with the familiar characters I knew from the earlier books.

‘So it was really nostalgia that led me to read Good Little Ship. As a result of reading Peter Willis’s book I immediately re-read We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea with a lot more understanding of the locations and what inspired Ransom’s story.

‘I’m not a great sailor or a regular reader of sailing books, but Good Little Ship kept me reading from the beginning. The story of the 28ft 6in Hillyard-built Nancy Blackett, is tightly written and nicely illustrated, and it’s like reading a family history, with all the different owners and their good and bad fortunes.

‘It’s also very clear that for Peter Willis finding, restoring and then sailing Ransome’s yacht in the same waters that Ransome had sailed had a lot in common with a love affair.’

 

 

 

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The Little Ships’ 75th Anniversary trip to Dunkirk

Our pal Mick Nolan went with them and took a mass of photos… And has now made a YouTube of them. What’s more, he added a soundtrack of our Julie’s singing accompanied by my old concertina! Thanks Mick!

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.