Why Did We Once Holiday With Drunken Pirates?

Drunken Pirates and small kids on a boat – Me: This feels like a bad idea...

This is a very good question, and one you are sure to ask one day soon.  The short answer is it was Grandad’s 70th birthday.  The long answer is the same, but in the following excruciating detail:-

It all started the way most of our holidays with Grandad start, with him talking us into going by lying about what the holiday would entail.

Grandad with big eyes, “Please-please-please! A quiet family holiday? Is that too much to ask for MY special birthday?”

A tearful Grandad had gone into great detail about how important it was to him to spend some real QUALITY time with his Grandchildren, after all, he “might not have many more years left”…  *sniff* *fake cry* *sniff*

Ten massive ladles of guilt later and the next step was for me to talk your Dad into it, which wasn’t so easy because he’d been on holiday with Grandad before.

Mum: Of Course I remember “the horror”, but come on, it’s only once every ten years. Dad: Like Pennywise from the film IT?! That can’t just be a coincidence...

I tried to point out to Grandad that we don’t really go on holiday with other people in our family and that considering we struggle to spend an hour or two together the rest of the year it might not be the best idea, and he said:-

Grandad rolling his eyes: Is this about Blackpool again? I wasn’t drunk. Everyone likes to rest their eyes when traffic slows down, it’s normal!

Foolishly we agreed to go, on the promise of separate accommodation, and for an absolute maximum of 3 days.  I mean, a quiet family holiday, how bad could it be?!

Hints of changes to the original itinerary soon started to creep in…

Grandad: I’m thinking of inviting a few work pals. ...And Sue, Jim? Maybe Dave? ...And remember my neighbours from down the road - I want to say... Ken and Barb?

The thing is, whilst Grandad enjoys the fantasy of spending quality time with his family, what he really wants to do is party with his friends, and because in his mind he is compromising in the first place by spending time with his family, he should really be allowed to party with his friends.

Anyway, long story short we end up on the North East coast, also known as the coldest seaside resort in the British Isles – it makes Scotland look like Barbados. 

Grandad in the rain covered in snow “It’s really quite bracing once you’re used to it!”

There we were shivering on our “close family quality-time” holiday with Grandad.  Just us, and 20 to 30 of Grandad’s closest friends and acquaintances, plus a couple of people whose names he thought “might be Ken and Barb”.

You’re right, this doesn’t explain the “Drunken Pirates” bit.  Ok, so Grandad had mentioned that we should bring pirate outfits for you kids and ourselves for a “special birthday outing”.  Your Dad joked that he hoped it wouldn’t involve a boat as we were all recovering from ear and balance problems and you as small children couldn’t swim yet.

Mum rolling eyes: Don’t be ridiculous it won’t involve a boat. Pfft, a boat?!

Of course it DID involve a boat.  Grandad had hired a “Pirate Galleon” to take us around the bay – he thought he’d hired it exclusively, but he hadn’t, so our close family unit, and entourage of 30 by now VERY drunken 50-70 year-old pirates, were accompanied by 20 or so very sober non-pirates.

The other passengers seemed less than impressed to be on board a sea vessel with so many inebriated pirates, especially as Grandad held up the boat’s departure for ten minutes to wait for the slower drunker pirates.  We tried to pretend we weren’t with them but obviously that was made all the more difficult by our matching pirate outfits…

Naturally, being small children, you and your cousin bloody LOVED being on the boat.  Your Dad, and I, and Auntie Kate, were less keen…

Boat, three kids, each of us holding onto a kid for dear life. Me sobbing “Oh God! We’re all going to die!”

Amazingly, we all made it back in one piece and unfortunately no drunken pirates were harmed so they continued to party noisily into the night whilst we kissed the ground and thanked God for our separate accommodation.

Luckily the next day Grandad organised some “real quality family time” crab-fishing off the pier, just us, and him, and 20 or so very hungover pirates, trying miserably to attach dead fish-heads to hooks.  Which obviously is also TOTALLY NORMAL. 

I am fairly certain we WILL be “busy” on his 80th.

6 thoughts on “Why Did We Once Holiday With Drunken Pirates?”

  1. Ahoy Matey! It isn’t easy going away with family, but I have to say I laughed at this just picturing it in my mind.

  2. Brilliant story! I love how you craft the story AND the supporting images. Beautiful!
    Personally, i rarely go on boat parties (because it’s impossible to arrive fashionably late, nor to discretely escape) and I NEVER go on nautical work parties. for the same reason.
    Grandad sounds like a hoot! and a treasure. 🙂


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