Ahoy there me hearties!

Question – what do you do when you are not gardening or working? One answer could be dressing up as a pirate on Pirate Day in Hastings.

It’s become an annual event, a part of the Hastings Old Town Carnival Week. Old Town week is full of weird and rather odd events, like the seaboot race, the bike race etc) so a pirate day just sits in there quite comfortably. It’s all very local, and small-scale, but still a popular event in the town’s calendar.

Last year saw Hastings enter the Guinness Book of World Records, for the number of people dressed as pirates in 1 place. This year, we went for something new and different, to create a skull and crossbones formed of people. And it worked, thousands turned up to take part, you can see the pictures here. And of course a local TV crew had to join in on the action.

Walking on the prom for the massing of the pirate clans you see pirates of every age, race, shape, and ability; on bikes, buses and in taxis. Walking past bemused tourists and dodging builders comments from the scaffolds. All, with one aim – to congregate on the beach en-masse.

The best part is that I laugh like I haven’t laughed before. And I’m not talking about a wry smile or a little giggle, I’m talking about a good old belly laugh. Standing on the beach along with several thousand other, frankly equally nutty people dressed in varying degrees of pirate gear, waving pretend swords and cutlasses in the air and shouting aaahhhhaaarr!

It simply can’t be beaten as a ridiculous experience. If I was to ever write a “100 ridiculous experiences you must have before you die“, kind of book, it would be my personal favourite and number 1.

And later wandering around town, munching on a bag of chips, watching cute kids playing pirates, and older kids (yes, adults) playing pirates too – particularly the one that involves drinking grog. And you bump into your friends and neighbours and greet them with a loud aaahhhhaaarr! You admire fellow pirates, imaginative and fanciful costumes, and as one visitor noted, “Hastings takes its dressing up seriously”. There are Johnny Depp lookalikes, and crusty sea-dogs, and young things in skimpy numbers that bare little but flesh, and then there are those that go for the homemade cardboard hats and parrots. Purely imaginary and inventive could sum up Hasting’s propensity for pirates and dressing up!

The pundits and politicians are always on about seaside town’s needing to reinvent themselves. Well, seaside towns of yester-year were famous for taking the sea air, maybe this is the 21st century version of taking the sea air?

The town now does a roaring trade in Pirate tat, with dressing up costumes and paraphernalia adorning many shop windows. So if you are ever short of a pirate hat, a cutlass or a parrot, look no further.

And as Hastings has decided it’s a pirate town I think I should emulate that at my allotment.  I always wanted to “pimp” my shed; you know those programmes on TV where people “pimp” their cars – with outrageous colours, tyres, sound systems and the like, well I always thought a shed would be great equivalent to “pimp”.

But our site, like many others, has fairly strict rules on the size, style, material and colour of your shed. But no-one can tell me I can’t “pimp” the inside of it, can they? I’ve thought of a cocktail cabinet, flock wall paper, accessorised with mismatched teacups and teapots from a charity shops, with lace and gingham curtains at the window, set off with a disco glitter ball. It’s a work in progress, and in all honesty a job for winter; I’m too busy right now, picking, watering, weeding and sowing to start playing around with the shed.

So maybe I need to think along the lines of a pirate, and plan a pirate themed shed or allotment? There’s always old fishing nets to be had, and the flags for the bouys. Maybe I could fashion a treasure chest for my shed as somewhere to store my secateurs and twine. Or I could hoist a flag, or make a cannon from a flower pot! Maybe…..

So while I plan my piratical allotment, I have hoisted the Jolly Roger in the greenhouse.

Here’s to next year’s Pirate Day. Aaahhhhaaarr!

And to round it off, of course Pirate Day has it’s own Facebook page

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