I have been three different kinds of pirates this week: a highwayman on Monday (a land pirate), an Elizabethan Sea Rover on Wednesday (a patriotic pirate) and a plain old scurvy scallywag yesterday (from the ‘Golden Age’ of piracy). All great fun.
One of these visits was my very first as a new character. On Wednesday at Bottesford Infants I became Laurence Eliot, one of Sir Francis Drake’s sailors who went all around the world with him in 1577-80. The teachers at Bottesford wanted their children to study a historical traveler to compare and contrast with Neil Armstrong, so I suggested Sir Francis Drake and his incredible journey – and thus talked myself into a summer of reading and learning for the new character. Of course, I loved it as reading history books is my favourite thing!
The day went very well, as I suspected it would. The story of the circumnavigation is a great adventure, full of strange events, curiosities and terrifying dangers – Patagonian giants and magical cannibals, mountains made of silver and flying fish, giant crabs and storms that lasting for weeks and weeks. The children listened wonderfully well (and all 90 had only just started Year 2).Of course I had all sorts of artifacts and things to show them as well, from mysterious navigational instruments to rapiers and muskets, from bags of spices we brought back from the Moluccas to a bar of silver taken from the back of a Llama on the coast of Peru. We even had a knot tying competition to see if the children could have helped us repair our ships, and other children carried various things to get a feel for what we took with us.
Here I am demonstrating a log line, the instrument used to determine how fast a ship is moving (in knots, of course) …
And here I am showing them a little iron round-shot, the sort we used to frighten the Spanish sailors in the great South Sea into surrendering …
It was a lovely day. I hope soon to create a new web page for this new character. But in the meantime, if any of you teachers are interested in such a well traveled character from the past, who can tell all about the very famous Sir Francis Drake’s most marvelous exploit, then please get in touch and we’ll arrange a date.
I can’t wait to go around the world again!