I was asked why all this carpentry, the nailing of colours to the mast – a familiar saying but what does it really and what’s the origin?
The meaning these days is that I’m giving my opinion, saying what I think, so like it or lump it! To defiantly display one’s opinions and beliefs.
As for the origin . . . some time in the 17th century in the time when Britain ruled the waves, a British admiral had his mast shot down by enemy cannon fire. When a flag was lowered it was a sign of surrender and of course if the admiral surrendered, or appeared to do so, the whole fleet was lost, but just because his ship seemed to have been defeated (no means of propulsion) didn’t mean the fleet was. There was bit of creative thinking, perhaps by the admiral. A nimble and brave man (reputedly one Jack Crawford of Sunderland) shot off to the highest point of what remained of the mast and nailed the flag to the highest point as a signal that they were still in the battle, still going despite everything – the flag was as a signal to everyone, his own fleet and the enemy.
So how does that apply to me? I may seem, to those who only look at my outward appearance to be on the path retirement. The most polite response would be, phooey! Retirement? More like advancement! Look up the meaning of the word – retreat! I’m not intending to retreat from anything!
And what’s more, I want to show others, by having my colours flying, that they can do it too – it’s never too late. Or as someone dear to me once said “You’re a long time dead, make the most of it.”
The moral of the story, for me? A bit of creative thinking, some bravery, and a signal can be sent to many people to keep on working, or playing, towards their dreams.
And do drop by Violette Clark’s blog, Violette’s Creative Juice. She asked me MONTHS ago to write a guest post and this seemed like a good time. Talk about flying my colours! I feel so brave – you know that mix of trepidation and excitement?