Thursday, 11 December 2008

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

It has been an eventful few days here at Homesea or, as it has been renamed by Long John Splinter, Pirasea.

The pirates are in jubilant mood, having found the treasure stolen from them by the Mayor of Homesea, Admiral Poindexter.

All that is except Captain Wilson. I came upon him sitting despondently on a bench in the village square.

"You seem an educated elephant," he remarked "Did they recruit you at University too?"

"Well, I do have a B.A." I replied.

"A B.A.? Splendid! I do rather wish I had finished my education..."he murmured "but, you know what it was like in those days, the tutors were always on the look out for likely lads to join the piracy service. That's how Splinter found me. It was the time of the new romantics - I was always getting the mickey taken out of me for my mode of dress and Splinter knew just the right things to say to encourage me...'ridicule is nothing to be scared of' he used to say...'throw your safety overboard and join our pirate nation'. Before I really knew what was happening I found myself the dandy pirate who everyone was too scared to mention. Stand and deliver your money or your life! I would cry and none of my old University chums wanted anything to do with me."

"If you don't mind me mentioning it, I have noticed that your eyepatch seems to move from one eye to the other and sometimes you seem to have two good legs!" I remarked.

"Oh, thats Splinter - he insists on the traditional pirate accoutrements. There is nothing wrong with my eyes and its awfully painful, I can tell you, to have to bend your leg up and strap on a peg leg. He wanted me to chop off my hand and have a claw stuck on but I drew the line at that! He was quite cross about it!" replied Wilson.

"Sometimes, I do find all this piracy nonsense a bit noisy and well, to put it bluntly, a bit impolite. I wonder sometimes what kind of life I would have had if I had finished my degree in Sociology. But every time I mention it, Splinter ridicules me. " he said sadly.

"To be honest, Wilson, I don't think that you are really cut out for the pirate life," I said "It does not seem to suit your temperament. It's never too late you know - there would always be a place for you at my University in Homeward" I said in an encouraging voice.

"Homeward?" he said quizzically...then realisation dawned on him.

"You are the world famous entrepreneur Uncle! are not a pirate at all!"

"Yes, you are correct...I am afraid I have had to indulge in a small act of deception" I replied.

"Golly! well there you are see! look what education has done for you!" at this he jumped up and fired of his gun in excitement.

"I'm decided! I will take up your offer of a place at University and finish my degree!"

That night he, and a group of other pirates interested in pursuing further education, left in my yacht for Homeward.

Now, that just leaves Long John Splinter to deal with.

I was very sad, this week, to hear of the death of that great storyteller Oliver Postgate. I have always felt that if my life story were ever to be told in televisual form that it would have some common elements with the output of this wonderful man.

For, I would hope that my tales provide a lesson in morality for young children - although I have to say that I do consider the episode of The Clangers broadcast on the night of the second U.K. election in 1974 to be somewhat critical of those of us who have to carry the burden of leadership.

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