Ahoy maties! 19 September be the day we talk like a pirate. So get yourself some grog, landlubbers, and hold off swabbing the decks for a while.
We shouldn't love pirates. They are thieves of the sea even though they can rob on the shore. They are outlaws and criminals, often violent and sometimes murderers. So what is the strange appeal that makes us tell stories about them to young children and enjoy Hollywood films about them?
When my daughter was four, pirates were everywhere. Her bed was a pirate ship with a large Jolly Roger flag at the headboard, maties such as a giant fluffy bee lookout and a ship's cat, crewed the ship. There was a large treasure chest carved by my uncle and wood smith extraordinaire, Norman Smith, complete with secret compartments, maps and treasure. There were the obligatory accessories: parrot, hook, hat and eye patch. I created a new world of stories where she was the captain and, with her friends and toys, went on many adventures and we discussed them on our walks. But best of all were the books and DVDs of such pirate heroes as Captain Pugwash, Yoho Ahoy and Treasure Island. For the grown-ups we have Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow. Pirates really capture our imagination with their quirky phrases and dress sense.