talk like a pirate

Who knew? Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
There's an advert on TV at the moment for a BBC Knowledge programme where the pirate says he is prone to "unnecessary violence". For some reason I find that really comical. Logically it makes no sense, but it makes me chuckle every time.
I'm not nice. I admit it.
The pirate also wears some really strangely fitting pants... he has the widest crotch I've ever seen. Maybe there's a link between feelings of violence and strange pants?
Sometimes the most respected of men are pirates: The picture is of Francis Drake, son of a preacher, first Englishman to circumnavigate the world and long-time enemy of the Spanish. He was one of Elizabeth I's blue-eyed boys. He was also a well known slave trader and pirate. His fortune was made when he raided a Spanish fleet in Panama and made off with all their gold. He left behind the silver, because it was too heavy to carry.
He was also complicit in the massacre of 600 men, women and children in Ulster, Northern Ireland. They'd resisted the English plantation plans in their country and Drake massacred them after they surrended.
He also wore strange pants. But then, they all did in the 14th Century.
(By the way, some of you are getting this on email because I set my blog up to let you know whenever I posted anything. Feel free to opt out. Just email me and I'll take you off the list. And if you go to, you can leave me a comment. Even a rude one.)


Larissa said…
I know about International Talk like a Pirate day purely because Neil now lives in South Korea. Neil told me this funny little story I'd like to share...
They had a pirate party there once, where everyone had to dress up as pirates. One of Neil's South Korean friends pitched up with goggles and a weird brown hat (almost like a beanie), wearing a scarf around his neck.
Because of the "l" and "r" confusion, this guy had thought it was a "Pilot" party!!! hahaha!
Skoorby said…
I've just been reading a wonderful book about the Royal Navy called "To Rule the Waves" by Arthur Herman. As you point out, most of the early English captains like Drake, Hawkins and Raleigh operated as privateers, in the gray area between "Navy" (there was none as such in the 16th century) with a commission from the Queen, and pirate.

Drake's around the world trip arose from necessity, not plan. Having pillaged and plundered Spanish settlements all the way up the coast of South and Central America after entering the Pacific through the Straits of Magellan, and having pirated a Spanish treasure ship, Drake confronted the problem of how to get the booty home. He knew a small Armada would be waiting for him at the eastern entrance to the Straits should he decide to return the way he came. He believed, like most at that time, that there was a northwest passage around North America, but the problem was that nobody had actually found it yet (it has opened up for the first time since Drake's era during the past two summers as the Arctic has warmed). His only viable option was to retrace Magellan's route and to get back to the Atlantic via the Cape of Good Hope. The trip was enormously lucrative: the Queen's share, 190,000 pounds, was enough to erase the English national debt, most of which had been accumulated by her impulsive father, Henry VIII.

So, talking like one of these pirates would entail a strong west country burr. Hawkins, Drake and Raleigh were all from Cornwall and Devon, where pirating and wrecking were the primary local industries. I can't do that, but I can say "Arrrgh!"
Lynne said…
Wooo hoo!! Comments on my blog! If this was skype I'd put in one of those little dancing emoticons!

I love the pilot story!

And Geoff...maybe you'll catch the blogging bug too. I think the insatiable curiosity thing is in our genes. Fascinating stuff... I wonder if the modern day pirates find it much less lucrative?
Skoorby said…
It probably is much less lucrative now. For the most part, it seems to be a freelance activity, unsanctioned by governments. (I wonder if there are any governments quietly promoting piracy? Maybe North Korea? Lesotho?) Also, Spanish treasure galleons have become exceedingly rare.

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