Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A - Z Challenge: J is for Jack Tar and also for Jean M Auel

is for


        PART I:

        WHAT IS IT?

Jack Tar was a common term for a sailor in the Merchant or the Royal Navy during the period of the British Empire.  It wasn't an offensive term [1] and sailors were happy to use the name themselves.  


Down by the docks when the ships make port.  That's where you'll get all the Jack Tars you could ever need [2]


Quite aside from being something that all the nice girls love.  Any sailor will have a myriad of uses in and around the home.  His skills at advanced knot tying will come in handy when rounding up the children for their baths.  Likewise his practised flogging arm will be essential for beating the dust out of the rugs and his knowledge of the songs of the sea will make him a hit at any social gathering.


Sailors come in all shapes and sizes, there are very few books that are not improved by the addition of pirates [3] but don't feel obligated to turn them pirate just because [5].  With their knowledge of the oceans and its ways they do very well as fonts of plot specific information.

The usual way of getting information out of them is through payment or simply getting them drunk.  It is rare to see a sailor of any description being roughed up by the hero, even though he's fought his way through half the continent of orcs, goblins, trolls and other assorted beasties much too horrible to describe, this is presumably because the hero knows that he has to sleep sooner or later and the sailor is always going to have a few friends willing to give him a hand.


        PART II:


is also for


I've always like reading historical books and you can't get more historical than cavemen.  But the Earth's Children series isn't just the adventures of Grog and Og the stereotypical club wielding cavemen.  Rather it is an epic journey which starts when a young Homo Sapian girl is found by a tribe of Neanderthals and raised amongst them.

The main character is Ayla who grows up with the Neanderthals, or Flatheads as they are also known,  and is eventually cast out by the son of the chief mainly because she's getting the attention that he feels should be going to him. [6]

I would recommend this series to anyone who likes epic novels, great characters and a strong female voice at the head of it all.

  1. Or rather it wasn't used as an offensive term where any of the Jack Tars in question might hear it being used, but there will always be someone who can put just the right amount of sneer into the name.
  2. You might have to throw a few back if they are undersized.  Check with your fisheries office for the exact number of sailors you can take home in a day.
  3. And lo! did Jesus walk upon the water.  "Be not afraid" he quoth
    But the fisherman did espy a ship upon the water and spaketh thusly "Look behind you!"
    And when Jesus did peer to the left the ship would move to the right and when he lookethed to the right the ship did sneak over to his left so that they might remain hidden from his sight.

    "You naughty apostles" rebuked the lord "there's nothing there" 
    but he was suddenly ensnared in a net of a most piratical design "this I did not expect" said Jesus while one of the fishermen played upon the trombone....You get the idea. [4]
  4. I'm pretty certain that this ones going on my permanent record.  If not for the pirates then for the sad trombone at the end.
  5. And certainly don't make them pirates if you're just going for the "vs ninjas" angle.  Because the internet has this covered fairly well.
  6. This is only the most basic of plots for the first book.  I'm compressing it a heck of a lot because I don't want to ruin the book for anyone.

The Judicious Jubilant Jay,

who did up her Black Hair every morning with a Wreath of Roses,

Three feathers, and a Good Pin.


  1. Love your uses for the sailor around the home...brilliant.

    In a plot, I think sailors would be easy to get one over on. Their weakness is pretty girls. (Or, depending on how long they were out at sea...ANY girl) (so says any 1950's or earlier movie about sailors, especially musicals in which they will have fallen in love with said girl after a couple of hours of dancing and drinking) :p

    Jean M Auel...I don't think I have read. Will have to check this one out. Domo(Arigato Mr. Roboto)!

  2. Aar those be good points matey!

  3. I have always been interested in pirates. I even have three chapters of a book written with a pirate as the hero.

    Hubby loves Jean Auel. I could never really get into her books. I like more action and less description.

    Nice to meet you on the challenge.

  4. They do have a certain salty mystique about them. I always liked the "I'll go along with you for as long as it suits me and then I'll betray you" aspect to their dealings with people. Generally they're up front and frankly honest about the whole thing (within reason)