Adventures in Letter Writing No. 16: Horatio and Me

It makes me smile to share my little letter writing shed with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Horatio Nelson. He’s good company apart from anything.  A man of few words (well this one) but he has great presence!  I suppose you might be wondering “Why exactly do you have a life-size cardboard cut-out of Nelson up the shed?”, which in truth is a very good question.  I might say “Why wouldn’t you!?” when you think of his exceptional achievements and reputation, but the whole story makes more sense (possibly). What is amazing though is when I tried to find one to buy online the only country selling them seemed to be America!  I know, I was equally surprised.  For the cost of shipping him over I could’ve sailed across the pond on a Tall Ship to collect him, so in the end I decided it was easier to make my own.  He’s the right height and proportions, which in all honesty makes him fascinating to be around.  You can’t help but wonder about what he was really like all those (over 200) years ago.  Hardly anyone remembers Trafalgar Day on 21st October these days.  It’s a bit sad really.

But the reason I have Horatio Nelson to keep me company up the garden is because 1) if we have him in the house he literally makes us jump out of our skins, and 2) we had a house concert with the brilliantly talented local folk trio that is Kadia where he was part of a Lord Nelson, Battle of the Nile, HMS Victory themed evening.  Kadia’s debut album was called East of Alexandria, the title track being all about that decisive battle off North Africa.  On the night we had model Tall Ships, red, white and blue bunting everywhere, barrels of brandy, pistols, clay-pipes, wooden plates and bowls, authentic looking lanterns, a full-size Union Jack, telescopes, tankards, a picture of HMS Victory I’d painted, and none other than Nelson himself.  We even borrowed from a friend a Centenary commemorative Victorian copy of The Times from 7th November, 1805, reporting his death at The Battle of Trafalgar.  It really was a night to remember.

Kadia have completely ignited in me an interest in history like nothing else.  Which in turn might explain the reason old Horatio Nelson keeps me company when I’m writing a letter or two up the shed. I know. Bonkers.


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