Pirate Treasure

When I was sixteen, I had a boyfriend with green eyes, a mischievous smile and a Triumph motorbike that leaked oil.  On Friday nights he rode his bike through fog and rain and bitter cold along the stretch between Ipswich and the remote village where I lived, so we could spend the evening together.

And there, with mugs of tea and plates of toast and jam, we sat together in the cosy kitchen of my family’s old farmhouse thanks to the coal-lit AGA range (not vogue back then), listening to the radio.

Not very exciting maybe,  but the music we listened to reached us from Radio Caroline, a pirate radio station on a ship anchored somewhere in the North Sea off the Suffolk/Essex coastline, and it was the kind of music we really wanted to hear: rock music from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind and our favourite, Radar Love by Golden Earring.

While it never became illegal,  ‘Radio Caroline was founded in 1964 by Ronan O’Rahilly to circumvent the record companies’ control of popular music broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the BBC‘s radio broadcasting monopoly.’ (Credit source: Wikipedia).

Colluding with this piracy late into the night gave us something of a rebellious outlet, and on nights when the wind whipped up a storm, we wondered how it was out at sea for the ship and its modern-day pirates.  Some nights, the airwaves brought nothing but silence from the station, and we hoped they hadn’t sunk or been raided.

Radio Caroline was the best thing going for a couple of broke teenagers with nothing else to do on a Friday night in the 1970s.

Which leads me to Charli’s flash fiction prompt this week, which, wouldn’t you know it, is all about pirates and the reason for my Radio Caroline reminiscing:

‘In 99 words (no more, no less) write a pirate story. It can be about pirates or piracy; modern or of yore. Swashbuckling, parrots and rum can be involved or maybe you’ll invent details beyond standard pirates.

Respond by December 8, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!’

While the 2009 film ‘The Boat That Rocked’ was loosely based on Radio Caroline, it’s another film that captured my thoughts when I wrote my pirate story (in 99 words, no more, no less):

Pirate Treasure

The ring was pretty enough, but she said nothing as Andy slid it on her finger.

Why had she said yes? She didn’t love him; in fact, he bored her.

Every weekend it was the same: fish & chips for lunch and watching Match of the Day with his chain-smoking dad.

She craved adventure and excitement of the kind that only her long-haired, dark-eyed lover could give her, and Andy cried when she broke off their engagement.

Now she was free to seek out her true treasure and sail the wild seas.

If only she could find Johnny Depp.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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89 Responses to Pirate Treasure

  1. If only we could all find Johnny Depp!! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Luanne says:

    Hahahaha, love that. What a cool “fact” about the pirated radio station! And your young man . . . . Ah, you reminded me of one I wish I hadn’t let get away quite so quickly. He was very cute and always gave me lots of free pizza from the pizzeria where he worked. His van was huge, and he had longish shaggy reddish tan hair and was very sweet in personality. But I was afraid my dad would go after him because he WAS so sweet and because he had a little too much of the hippie look for my father and because that’s what my father did–at the very least verbally attack any boyfriends and potential boyfriends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      There was a teeny, tiny bit of BOTS in my flash Luanne…the part of boredom and sitting in a smoke-filled living room every Saturday night watching football (soccer). Boring, so boring. I wanted to go out and dance! But I promise I’ve never stalked Johnny Depp, lol 😀 Oh that’s sad about your sweet young boyfriend and your dad. Really tough that. I kept mine away from my dad but then he was not involved in my life much by then, and when I did see him he was raging drunk and took a pot shot at the poor bloke (he missed). Such is life…so we dream of scrummy pirates, even if they are make believe 😉

      Like

  3. This post has parallel perfection, Sherri. The first paragraph describing you boyfriend is stunningly descriptive–one of your best paragraphs ever, and you’ve had some beauties! 🙂
    Then the last line of your Pirate Treasure, ah, wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Will now have to watch “The Boat That Rocked.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. prior2001 says:

    Fun post mon amie! And how cool about the radio station – reminds me of the limited access we had that makes me appreciate music availability nowadays! And for me – in the 1980s it was so exciting when someone had an antenna to get the rock station from Toronto Canada – and we could hear dokken and certain “side b” album songs from artists we loved – and your boat reminded me of that – I will have to check out the 2009 movie —

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Love Dokken and those ‘b’ side albums – we never got to hear them on the BBC so Radio Caroline was daring and fun and rocked out! Oh that’s a great memory of your rock station from Toronto…and yes, check out the film, I think you’ll enjoy it. Bill Nighey is in it, and I love anything he’s in. We used to have to wait until Sunday evenings to listen to the top 20 on the radio to find out who was number 1 – another world! Thanks mon amie, great to see you, so glad you enjoyed it, good to have some fun… 🙂

      Like

  6. jennypellett says:

    Aah, Radio Caroline….the memories come flooding back. I had a bright red plastic transistor which took me through my early teen years listening to that station and then Radio Luxembourg. Most of my O level homework was done with that tinny sounding accompaniment. No wonder my results weren’t as good as they should have been. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jenny, I remember Radio Luxembourg too! I did the same when studying for my O levels, sitting in that cosy kitchen listening to the music. It was so tinny wasn’t it, goodness, what a memory! Haha…yes, I think music played a big part in certain distractions 😉 I didn’t have my own transistor, so I’m very jealous…but we always had a radio playing in the house somewhere 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. restlessjo says:

    We all would have wanted Johnny Depp back then. Not so sure now we’re older and wise, ha ha! I did love the pirates though Sherri. X

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sue says:

    Radio Caroline! Takes me back….. And loved your story

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Charli Mills says:

    Oh, I love that flash! And how interesting, the music piracy was different from what it is now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…here’s to pants of grog and Johnny Depp 😀 And yes, very different…we had no clue how fast things would change did we? Thanks Charli, so glad you enjoyed the flash!

      Like

  10. Pingback: Pirates on the Horizon « Carrot Ranch Communications

  11. Mumblypeg says:

    What a delightful post Sherri. The memories of your boyfriend were so typical of those less complicated times. I saw Jonny Depp on the Graham Norton Show last week, he is still a fascinating charmer. love and hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Simpler times, definitely. Johnny Depp is very popular here it seems, real life pirate or not! Thanks MP…so glad you enjoyed it, sharing these memories with you. Love & hugs back… ❤ xxxx

      Like

  12. TanGental says:

    Now I remember Caroline and also the Kent version my uncle loved. Radio North Sea International based on ww2 gun emplacements built beyond the 3 mile limit. That would be in the 60s and it was the first time I heard the Stones and Dylan who uncle loved and I thought rubbish. Nice to trip down memory lane Sherri

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Now that is a trip down memory lane! Haha….yes, not sure that the Stones and Dylan would have been a kid’s favoured choice of listening…I remember dancing with my dad to The Beatles Twist & Shout when it came on the radio back then. Thanks Geoff, it was fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Annika Perry says:

    Sherri, I’ll have to show your post to my husband – he loves reminiscing about Radio Caroline! I hope the girl in your story finds her Johnny Depp! That was fun to read. Warm wishes

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh I hope he enjoys it Annika! Those were the days 😀 Thank you so much I’m glad to share a fun post, and yes, I would like to think she finds him too…if some of us here don’t find him first haha! 😉 Warm wishes to you too…and I hope that Scrivener is behaving!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annika Perry says:

        My husband says it brings back memories, especially of sitting on Clacton beach looking at the pirate ships on the horizon – and getting a great signal. However, he was a Radio London man – ‘Wonderful Radio London’ (I have no clue what you are both talking about.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Oh my – Clacton Beach! You can tell your husband that I took a six week training course as a Postal Officer at Clacton on Sea in the 70s…so I know the beach well! I grew up near Ipswich. He’ll know Radio Luxembourg too, although I’m not familiar with Wonderful Radio London (just looked it up, I missed that boat, ha!). Thanks for being the go-between with this memory share 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved this, Sherri! How fun it would have been to double date with you!
    Reading about your teenage romance reminded me when I was sixteen. My mother didn’t want me to go out with boys alone, but she agreed that my best friend and I could double date with two boys from school. When the boy came into the foyer, my mother greeted him with a once over and asked where we were going. My date said, “Cruising.” I can still feel the burn from the glare my mother gave me. Needless to say, that boy never came around again.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I love the mental image you’ve painted of your teenage love Sherri! As a youngster I never dated much, but I was always dreaming of my own green eyed boyfriend that would whisk me away on his bike 😉 Radio Caroline sounds like great fun, what an adventure to tune in and listen. And yes, add me to the list of ladies searching for Johnny Depp- he’s such a cutie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      It seems Johnny Depp has quite the following in this little corner of blogland, haha 🙂 He might not be Captain Sparrow in real life, but hey, we don’t mind, lol! Ahh..but Heather, the wait was worth it for your wonderful hubby 🙂 I met my boyfriend at a party, he was 19. We broke up after a couple of years and then my real adventures started with my American GI. Such is life!

      Like

  16. Loved your reminiscing of the 70’s and I especially liked your short story. I wouldn’t mind at all finding Johnny Depp!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I also used to listen to Radio Caroline. The ‘toast and jam’ reminded me of when hubby and I first met. We were both poor students in Birmingham and this was all he could afford to feed me with when I visited him at his university hall of residence. Toast and strawberry jam had never tasted so good. 🙂 Love your Pirate Treasure story, Sherri. I’m so happy I didn’t wait for a Johnny Depp type to appear. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…I bet! There’s something very comforting about the memory of eating toast and jam at such times…and it had to be strawberry jam didn’t it? 🙂 Yes, you didn’t need to look for a make believe pirate – you found your true life Prince and that makes the best story of all! Thanks so much Sylvia, so glad you enjoyed it, I had a lot of fun with this post, it’s good to smile and share fun memories 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m not the only one who has fantasies about Johnny Depp!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. jeanne229 says:

    Great post Sherri! Immediately brought to mind the movie Pirate Radio starring the (tragically late) Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The movie seems to have the same theme as the one you cited…radio piracy in the North Sea in the 1970s. And loved your very evocative descriptions of life and early love in a small English village. I think you and I might have been drawn towards the same types as young women… (dare I venture such a guess). Ahh, those long-haired, risky young men ready to take the world on…our own Johnny Depps….where are they now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      You’re spot on Jeanne, I think it must have been called Pirate Radio in the States and The Boat That Rocked here. But yes, so tragic about the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman, awful. Life seemed so simple back then, but of course we still had our troubles and complaints, but it’s great to share memories like these. Yes, it certainly sounds like it, and you may for sure venture away, because you are absolutely right 🙂 I’ve often wondered the answer to that question to… Glad you enjoyed the read, you make me smile with your comments, thanks Jeanne 🙂

      Like

  20. Tom Merriman says:

    Fun tale, Sherri! I wonder just how many people are secretly searching for their own Johnny Depp? Me… tea, toast and jam sounds wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. dgkaye says:

    Ouchee for Andy! And well, Johnny Depp, he’s just lovely. 🙂 xo Great short Sherri!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Heyjude says:

    Hahaha… your fiction is a throwback to my life at 16 when I had a gorgeous blonde-haired art student boyfriend who always came to my house on a Sunday, ate lunch with us and then watched the footy on the TV with my dad and brother. One Sunday, whilst washing up in the kitchen with mum I suddenly had a flash of what my future could be like. I broke up with him shortly after! And although I have never fantasied over JD, I did listen to Radio Luxembourg under the blankets!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. On a motorcycle at 16 with a boyfriend! Boy you did live in the fast lane. Great memories. And a fun story. No one should marry someone that bores them.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Once again what an amazing gift you have Sherri. I shake my head in wonder at how you can take me back to that farmhouse and I see it all so clearly. I loved it and of course got a huge kick out of the flash fiction and the surprise ending!! Somehow you got my favorite pirate in to it! 😉 You are a sly one alright! 🙂 Well back to my busy day but what a lovely respite.<3 xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Dearest Diane, how lovely of you to take time out to leave your wonderful comment, you’ve made my day! Haha…I’m glad I got you with our favourite pirate…and who better 😉 Now I just have to write a flash with our favourite Elf 🙂 I hope your day is going well my friend, sending peace, love & hugs ❤ xoxo

      Like

  25. Thoroughly enjoyed this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. LOL that was funny Sherri. Johnny Depp? Your mention of Radar Love has taken me back into the seventies also. I hadn’t thought about that song for years. Thank you for the time travel. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Marie Keates says:

    Mmm, Johnny Dep. if only. In the 70’s most of my boyfriends had motorbikes. Those Triumphs always leaked oil. The love of my life was called Clint. He had a Norton Commando, long dark hair and a beard. Very much the JD lookalike but before any of us had heard of him. We were together for four years but I always knew it wouldn’t last forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes, if only! I think that most boyfriends came with motorbikes back then, they couldn’t afford cars 🙂 And what was it with those Triumphs? They were notorious weren’t they? Your love sounds quite the dish…and the thing about JD is that I remember when he first started acting and he looked so young!!!! As were we!!! Mine didn’t last forever either, only 2 years, but that was because although he was cute and fun at first, he did in fact become very boring…the match of the day bit in my flash is true… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Annecdotist says:

    Glad you picked up on Radio Caroline in your post, Sherri, it really seemed subversive back then. Hurrah for your character in the flash – it can take a lot of courage to break free from convention and choose adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      It was the first thing that came to me with Charli’s pirate prompt – but I’m stuck in the 70s anyway as I continue on with my memoir, so it’s good to write about these memories for more than one reason! Thanks Anne, I like that idea very much 🙂

      Like

  29. I liked both stories, Sherri! The non fiction one about your boyfriend and the Johnny Depp one! You had me at the first line. As usual, your wonderful writing lures me right in and leaves me wanting more of it. I miss those simpler days when listening to the radio was exciting enough.

    Thanks for sharing your stories! Besos! xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh thank you so much, you make my day Maria with such a lovely comment…I’m smiling now, music to my ears… 😉 Have a fun weekend, not too crazy I hope with Christmas not far away…I say that to myself too!!! And Besos back to you…I looked it up, as I didn’t know what it meant! Now I do….. ❤ xoxoxo

      Like

  30. Ooo, this takes me back to listening to radio Luxembourg, Sherri. I’m not sure if they were also a pirate radio station but I remember always loving their chart run-down which was usually very different to that of the BBCs. They also had far better DJs in my opinion.

    I hope Andy’s girlfriend did find her Johnny Depp. However, isn’t there that saying “the grass is not always greener?” or am I just making that up?

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I love that first line, lady. LOVE it. Also, love that song. And your flash! We can’t settle for someone who bores us, love. We just can’t. Not us types. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oooooh…..you’ve made my day Sarah, knowing how much those first lines mean to you…wow…thank you so much, beaming now!!! And yes, what a great song, I never get tired of it, and I’ve been listening to it for a few years, LOL 😀 And no way, just no way…can’t do it 😉 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Ali Isaac says:

    He sounds really cool, Sherri! What lovely memories! And yes, who wouldn’t swoon over quirky Johnny Depp?

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Sherri enjoyed reading about past lives and being young. Your fiction piece made me smile as I pictured Johnny Dep when the word pirate was mentioned. Wishing you much writing success in 2016. Have enjoyed all your stories the real and the fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Had to be Johnny Depp didn’t it? 😉 Thank you so much Kath, your ongoing support of my writing and blog means a great deal to me; I never take it for granted and on my bad days I remember your kind words which spur me on :-). May 2016 bring you nothing but the best of everything my friend xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Pingback: Times Past Challenge: Chinese Spoons And Eating Out | A View From My Summerhouse

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