I love everything about the Parkham Women’s Institute, a group of old ladies in the UK who got together to hear a local speaker, retired sea captain Colin Darch, and dressed up in costume for the occasion. Seeing as the talk was about pirates, they wore eye patches and peg legs, and carried swords and fake parrots.
The only problem is that as Captain Darch began speaking, the ladies realized they had it all wrong: Darch had been kidnapped by gun-toting Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean and held captive for 47 days before ransom was paid. He was there to speak about his new book on the terror, not-so-unclearly titled Capture By Somali Pirates And Other Events At Sea.
“It felt strange to be talking to a group of ladies with blue rinses and rubber daggers,” the 75-year-old Darch confessed. “Then when it became clear that my talk on piracy was about my experiences, and not about piracy in general, they were obviously rather embarrassed.” Or perhaps seasick. But still the ladies stayed for his talk on his 2008 ordeal and he gamely posed for photos with them afterwards, plastic eye patches and all.
For their part, the Parkard Women’s Institute had only the most polite, British-y things to say about the flub:
“Everyone sat down to listen to Darch’s story and what a story it was. Absolutely fascinating and gripping. If you ever get a chance to hear Colin speak grab the opportunity because he is a great raconteur and very humorous.”
For his part, here’s what the seafaring Captain Darch had to say: “The ladies didn’t look the slightest bit like Somali pirates – more like the Pirates of Penzance.”
Better luck next time, gals.