The HLP Diaries…Betty Books and the Pirate Problem

Slightly Mad Mummy: Entry 6

Written just before Lockdown 1.0, Betty Books discovers that it always pays to be prepared when battling a band of black-hearted buccaneers at the beach!



It was red hot midsummer, all the kids were off school
And the beach was the place they all went to keep cool
Yet the sun was so hot and the rays were so strong
That people just flopped; they snoozed all the day long
Except, though, for Betty, did I forget to mention?
She did what she liked because of her invention.

It kept her ice cool, it provided nice shade
This contraption of Betty’s was lovingly made
In her shed by her bed, which was handy as ever
So now she can roam, whatever the weather.
It was called the cold shoulder, did what it said on the tin
Kept her chilled as the ice caps (pre-global warming).

So Betty was there; she was fond of the coast
But her beachwear and antics were different to most
For one she was clothed in fine cloth pantaloons,
And was up on the cliffs overlooking the dunes
She was working on plans, had research to deliver
That took her up on the crags, and ‘cross fields and down river’,
So as people snoozed on the beach until late
Betty wrote up her notes in quintuplicate.

Now as an aside, but something I should say
Betty had an unease that would not go away:
A downside to her brain being in such a hurry
She thought way too much, and she tended to worry
In addition, she was stubborn with all of her fears
So grown ups’ reassurances fell on deaf ears.
It was like this with Putin, feared he had ill intent
To snatch her from her room, when to bed she was sent
Her mum thought this was one of those really safe bets
Where she could prove the unfoundedness of Betty’s frets
But “I believe in statistics”, Betty’d say “and statistically
you can’t ever 100% reassure me.”
“And what’s more,” she added to her mum with a grin
“It’s Putin and you never quite know about him…”

Now the plus side of worry, it has to be shared
Was that Betty was never knowingly under-prepared.
She had prepped for flood, famine, fire, apocalypse,
All packed in a holster tied tight round her hips.
People’s reactions to this ranged from scoffs to surprise
But today was the day that her preps proved quite wise
Because just out to sea was a ship, and what’s more
It was stuffed full of pirates and heading for shore…
Betty looked down at the beach, all the people were hidden
(it was all they could do, and not strictly forbidden)
They did think of fighting with nerf guns and light sabres
But knew it would be the most fruitless of labours
The pirates were armed with much scarier fayre:
ammunition from Argos just could not compare.

But Betty stayed calm, used her old telescope
For she had calculations that would help her to cope
From the distance to shore she could work out first-hand
That the ship was too large to get right to the land.
Now this gave her a chance, gave some light in the bleakness
For they’d have to jump ship, and therein lay their weakness
A dinghy wouldn’t be such a safe and strong bet
So she kicked off her plan, the best of them yet.

She ran down the cliff and straight onto the beach
And down to the water: there were lessons to teach
She splashed out to sea, it was no time to slack
Then she pulled on the string hanging from her rucksack
Out popped a dinghy (it was auto-inflate)
But with super-materials that made it so great
Ceramic weave to be strong, aerogel to stay light
(She knew science would help her to win the good fight).
So she felt quite secure that her boat was protected
From attacks on her boat if they were so directed
But better than that she concocted a scheme
That, if calcs were correct, would work just like a dream.

They were heading for Betty, their swords were aloft
But they were in for a shock if they thought Betty was soft
Any Betty-like person doesn’t need to be told
That a pen is more valued than myrrh or than gold
And so Betty kept with her at all times a great haul
Of prized pencils and pens (she loved them, one and all)
So you’ll find in her bag many things for her writing
That double up nicely as weapons, for fighting…

The people peeped out, behind dunes, behind breaks
And saw Betty charge bravely, for all of their sakes
She went out towards them, they set out for her too
Little did they know they’d soon be in the blue
She got out her pens, put them into a sling
And shot at their boats, her skill astonishing
And that’s when their plans all began to unravel
Because no one expected her pencils to travel.
The battle it raged, it became rather heated
But at last all the pirates were wholly defeated
Their dinghies were punctured, were in quite a state
They haemorrhaged air and began to deflate
She thought about screaming, about having a laugh
Shouting “Eureka!” (but without the Greek bath)
She boarded the ship, but more crucial than that
She rescued the fluffiest tabby ship’s cat

The coastguard they came, with more force on their tail
And took every last pirate to pirating jail
By this time Betty had got back to the shore
To the sounds of great cheers of “hurrah!” and “encore”
They were all safe and sound and were all in accord:
The pen is indeed mightier than the sword!


In this series we invite members to share their thoughts and lived experience with us – perhaps through an article, advice, sharing their careers, a piece of fiction or a poem. The HLP Diaries are fictional tales of parenting children with high learning potential. If you are a Potential Plus UK member and have an anecdote you would like to share then we’d love to hear from you: email focus@potentialplusuk.org

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