Am back…Let’s have a picnic on my lawn (it’s weedless, you know)
…I’m not out to character assassinate anyone, and certain disagreeable people shall remain nameless. But, the fact is, this particular fella, with whom I had a brief relationship, told fibs. Like when he arrived on my doorstep one mid-winter’s day, carrying a pair of skis. It had been snowing on and off for several days, and there was a thick carpet of snow on the ground; particularly in the untrodden fields. He had allegedly skied cross-country, all the way from his house, which was approximately twelve miles away. I hadn’t seen proper skis before and I was eager to have a go, so I didn’t bother to interrogate him about the complexities of his somewhat dubious sounding adventure. We went to ski in the fields, and he repeatedly fell on his arse; thus, demonstrating that he could ski no better than I. Then there was the time he lent me his Muddy Fox bike, which apparently cost £500. The day after, his brother turns up in his car: livid, because the bike actually belonged to him and he thought it had been stolen.
I haven’t seen this particular ex-boyfriend for years,now. But this section isn’t really about him, anyway: it’s about me, and my brief foray into Folk music. This boyfriend and I used to go to pubs that held Folk music nights – something that I’d completely forgotten about. I actually bought myself a cheap guitar, and got a teach-it-yourself manual out of the library. I didn’t get very far with this, to be fair. I’ve always harboured aspirations to be a musician. At secondary school, I took lessons to play the recorder (who didn’t!) and the violin, during lunchtime breaks. My accomplishments were being able to play Frere Jacques on the former; and Three Blind Mice on the latter, or perhaps it was the other way round. There was probably no discernible difference in the sound I made, nevertheless.
I also borrowed a large number of vinyl Folk albums from the library. My favourite was by a group called Pentangle. I later bought the album from the library for 25 pence. I liked one track in particular. I played it continually; so, it’s probably not surprising that I can still remember the tune and some of the lyrics, after all this time. It’s one of those songs that tells a specific story; it has about twenty verses and goes on for ages.
It’s about a young woman whose boyfriend has gone off to sea to become a sailor (probably press-ganged; although, it doesn’t specify). She laments: ‘I am a maid whose deep in love, but yes I can complain. I have in this world but one true love, and Jimmy is his name’
She pretends to be a man and dresses as a sailor, and gets a job on a ship with the intention of tracking down her lost love. She is determined: ‘I’ll find and follow Jimmy through the lands of liberty.’
However, the captain of the ship takes a fancy to her, which kind of disturbs him because as far as he knows she’s a man. He tells her: ‘Your rosy cheeks, your ruby lips, they are enticing me. And I wish dear God with all my heart a maid you were to me.’
She sympathizes with the captain’s confusion over his sexuality, and reveals that she is actually a woman.
She tells him about her quest to find her lost love, and begs him not to throw her off the ship. She also reassures him that once they reach land, he will quickly find a female companion: ‘And when we reach Columbia shore some prettier girls you’ll find, and you’ll laugh and sing and you’ll court with them, for courtin’ you are inclined.’
He lets her stay on the ship, and all is well until they reach the shore, and it’s time for her to go on her way. The captain realizes he’s fallen in love with her, and calls her back: ‘Come back, come back. My own pretty maid. Come back and marry me.’
So, she marries the captain, instead…Jimmy who?
...because you never know what the next tide will bring.
To cut a long story short: