On Tuesday (4th October) Nancy Blackett had a visit from twenty-three children from Brandeston Hall School. They are in year 4 and have been studying the abridged version of “We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea” as their set adventure story. Ransome enthusiasts may be shocked to hear that they had to read the first 3 chapters as a holiday task – shades of “Swallowdale” and “Picts and The Martyrs”.
Nancy Blackett Trust President Peter Willis, and an Arthur Ransome Society friend, met them and their teachers at Pin Mill to set the scene for the day. They were then driven to Woolverstone and split into three groups. The groups rotated so that everyone had a chance to explore the delights of climbing aboard Nancy Blackett to compare the reality with the pictures in their imaginations.
The day also included a river walk with Simon Jackson finding out about the tides, the way the river marks work and having fun making their own discoveries and eating blackberries.
The sun shone all day so, even when doing some classroom work, finding out about ensign etiquette and the international code relating to pilot flags (not to be confused with pirate flags), so they were able to work outside. Did you know that the flag flown by Thames Barges is known by the dialect word Bob? I didn’t!
Working out how old Arthur Ransome would be today proved a great challenge. One child thought he might have been born in 1700-and-something, while most found it hard to remember what a telephone box could have looked like.
The Neptune Sailing Centre very kindly lent their buoyancy aids and the classroom facilities for the day, while Woolverstone Marina gave the children harbour charts to go with their Nancy Blackett badges as a reminder of their expedition. We are very fortunate in having such support on these occasions.
The four of us all thoroughly enjoyed our day as well as the children, and we felt tired, but happy, as no doubt did they.