One of my hero’s, and a hero of my friend Andrew, is Tom the cabin boy. Anyone of a certain age will remember Captain Pugwash and know it’s familiar horn-pipe theme… for those of you who aren’t and don’t Captain Pugwash was a children’s TV cartoon about a band of rather hopeless but endearing pirates on board the Black Pig.
The crew of the Black Pig included Willy, Master Mate, Barnabas and Tom the cabin boy… and I’m not going to enter into the debate about the characters’ supposedly original names!
Captain Pugwash was basically a blustering buffoon, but whatever scrapes he got himself and his crew into, Tom always came to the rescue and saved the day. However, Pugwash never realised this and always took the credit, and Tom usually was doing the washing up or some other task when Pugwash was bragging about his success. Tom always kept silent and just smiled to himself.
As a child, Tom appealed because he was a young boy who saved the grown-up from whatever silly mess they got themselves into. Now I like Tom’s quiet intelligence and modest heroism; I like his kindness to the silly crew, and his secret amusement at their foolishness, and I like the practical way he just gets on with things, clears up the mess without any fuss or bother, and never brags or tries to take any credit for himself.
Hurrah for Tom the cabin boy!