ITV News interviewed Griff Rhys Jones and myself at Pin Mill in Suffolk, which was fun. We were taking part in a marathon reading of Arthur Ransome’s iconic book ‘We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea’ with other authors including Libby Purves, Francis Wheen, Christina Hardyment, Julia Jones and Marc Grimstone. Ivan Cutting of Eastern Angles and Dan Houston, editor of Classic Sailor, also read chapters. You can read more about the event here.
~Pin Mill on the Orwell ~ photo: Anthony Cullen(c)~
Arthur Ransome’s story begins at Pin Mill where the Swallows – John, Susan, Titty and Roger Walker, along with their mother and Bridget-the-ship’s-baby, are waiting for their father to take up a Naval posting nearby at Shotley. The four children didn’t mean to go to sea at all but somehow ended up sailing to the Netherlands in a terrific storm. I was asked to read the last chapter.
~Gryff Rhys Jones and Sophie Neville appearing on Anglia Television~
The reading, which lasted nine hours, was held to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the book’s publication in 1937.
~Author and broadcaster Libby Purves reading about Dutch barges~
It has been profiled in the magazine Classic Boat and on the BBC News website. The event was organised by Peter Willis of The Nancy Blackett Trust who spoke at length to Lesley Dolphin on BBC Radio Suffolk
~Julia Jones, Francis Wheen and Sophie Neville with a photograph taken by Arthur Ransome when his yacht Selina King was being built. Photo: Anthony Cullen ~
You can read about our adventures sailing Nancy Blackett this summer in Country Life magazine:
There are also photos of our cruise through the Netherlands on the Nancy Blackett Trust website, as well as a six page colour feature in Classic Sailor magazine. You can watch the ITV News clip here.
Going back twenty years: Members of The Arthur Ransome Society alerted me to a BBC Children’s Television programme, which shows Griff Rhys Jones at Pin Mill in 1997 when he met Taqui Altounyan who knew Ransome when she was a girl. The Swallows were originally based on her family who learnt to sail in two clinker-built dinghies called Swallow and Mavis when they stayed at Bank Ground Farm (Holly Howe) above Coniston Water in the Lake District. I recently discovered the secret that Taqui was also the model for Captain Nancy in Ransome’s well-loved books.
10 thoughts on “A marathon reading of ‘We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea’ by Arthur Ransome”
Just found this on YouTube and thought you might enjoy it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMm88Rilbgc
Thanks so much, I’ll look it up.
Yes, I have seen this re-cut. It’s amazing.
Next Saturday`s marathon reading will be a wonderful event – sadly, too far from M43 for it to be a practical trip . I wish you all a great day and I shall be with you in my thoughts on this 80th. anniversary .
TARS for ever , Martin Robinson
Thanks so much! I’ll try to get some photos.
I hope you can arrange to have “pea soup and omelette” there on the day 🙂 Best wishes from NZ.
What a great idea! I’ll suggest they provide pea soup.
I bet this marathon reading was a wonderful event. I am very sorry I missed it.
It was amazing – such a great book and brilliant readers. I’m sure there will be another soon.
Oh I do hope so. I shall certainly attend if there is.