It hasn't been in the news, but it's true. Newbury has been invaded by pirates!
The town has seen lots of the unwashed and unwelcome visitors mainly swarming the Kennet and Avon on Tuesdays and Wednesdays -we infiltrated their boat yesterday to see what they were up to.
The McBaby reluctantly let me pimp up one of his t-shirts so I got to work with a black felt tip and emblazoned a Jolly Roger onto it. He then let me tie a bandana around his head with surprisingly little fuss and even allowed me to draw on a villainous moustache and dot stubble on with an eyeliner pen.
The lack of eye patch was something that he felt so strongly about that he had a mini tantrum and I once again whipped out the eyeliner and drew one on. Which he then rubbed vigorously with his hands making him look like a dirty deck hand, which was kind of the look we were going for.
The final touch was the inflatable parrot that I needed to attach to his shoulder. Unfortunately I used safety pins in my rush, which turned a nice inflated parrot accessory into a dead parrot. Cue much "He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! He's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!" from our fellow passengers.
Unfortunately this meant that I completely forgot about my own costume, a fact highlighted by the fabulous efforts made by our friends who joined us, looking highly piratic, but smart. Pleasingly, they were running a bit late, so had to run through Newbury dressed as pirates. Apparently, no-one batted an eyelid.
Once they had settled in as cabin boys, we set sail with a warning from the captain about getting fingers trapped between the sides of the canal and the sides of the boat. We headed west and every time there was a likely looking "gongoozler*, we leapt up out from our hiding places and gave them a hearty "aaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrr!"
We did that for an hour and a half and it was such good fun, it felt like 15 minutes. Not only that, but roaring at ghosts, looking for treasure and pulling ropes that were supposedly tied to the lock gates, and none of us realised it was raining.
It was tremendous fun and many thanks to the volunteers on the Kennet and Avon Canal for making a career in piracy look so appealing!
* Apparently there's a word for those people (me included) who take the time to stand by a canal and idly watch the goings-on. They're called 'gongoozlers' (verb "to gongoozle".) I'm assured it's not rude.