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From Sealand to Neverland

Okay, last time, I had us at Tucker’s Wharf in Marblehead. And I had just hinted that the day I first saw the place, way back when, I had a vision. And it involved my own pretend country.

Here’s how it happened. The first time I saw Tucker’s Wharf was also the first time I’d visited that end of Marblehead. On the day in question, the three of us -- David, Martha, and I -- had gone to the city on a lark. We had gone, in fact, along with one of David’s school friends, Edouard, and Edouard’s mother, Brigitte. David and Edouard were (I think) in Middle School at the time, and they had been friends for ages. They were both in the local children’s theater, and had played the roles of Tweetle Dee and Tweetle Dum in Alice In Wonderland. (Actually, they were damn good at it. But that’s a story for another day.)

Anyway, we were walking toward the sea, and Edouard’s mom, Brigitte, looked up and saw the sign reading “Tucker’s Wharf.” She laughed and said to me, “I didn’t know you had a wharf.” I had to admit it was news to me, too.

We kept on walking, explored the wharf area a bit, and then looked out over the sea.

About the photos: Three today. The first is a picture I took in Marblehead and which I think I ran here last week. But, the second image is quite different. As an experiment, I took my photo, uploaded it to Stable Diffusion, and asked for a watercolor, impressionistic painting based on the original. This is what came back. See what you think. (Love how the program threw in a lighthouse for gratis.)

But I got to thinking about Tucker’s Wharf. And it appealed to me. You see, I’ve got this little fantasy. It’s a crazy fantasy. And it’ll never come true. But I’ve got it. And it involves having my own little country...a nation starting somewhere in the neighborhood of Duck Soup, sliding off in the rough direction of Ruritania, and finally coming to a sloppy stop in the general vicinity of Gran Fenwick--and if you’re not familiar with all of those, I’m terribly sorry and its very sad and I’ll provide info in the footnotes.(1)

Now, let me explain, I don’t *really* want to have my own little despotism. That’s because being a despot is a tiresome business and a lot of work to boot. And, besides, being a Grand High Poobah isn’t the safest profession in the world. You see other people want to be Grand High Poobahs, too. And they have this nasty habit of shooting you if they think they can get away with it...and then taking over.(2)

Oh, and btw, things can get messy even if you haven’t got a real country, but just a kinda-as-a-joke country. Consider, for instance, the case of “Sealand.” During World War II, Britain built a number of platforms in international waters to defend against invasion. After the war, the platforms were abandoned. So, a British national, Roy Bates, occupied one of the forts and set up a pirate radio station on it in the 1960s. There was lots of legal wrangling (the BBC was not fond of pirate radio stations. See movie of the same name) and one thing led to another...and, somehow, sort of by accident...the fort became “Sealand,” a self-declared sovereign state with Roy as its monarch.(3)

Which was fine...except lots of other people thought it would be cool to be kings, too. So, over the years, there have been multiple occasions when the quasi-real nation of Sealand has had to be defended, or re-conquered, with various degrees of very-real violence.

Improbably enough, Sealand still exists today, and Roy’s family still claims it (though, I gather, none of them actually lives on the platform, which is probably wise. Instead, they have quite comfortable homes in Suffolk). In fact, there is an official Sealand webpage (see footnotes below) where you can buy Sealand merchandise...including patents of nobility. Wanna be a duke? It’s a mere £ of January 2023. Care for something a little less pricy? Well, a Sealand Keyring is a £2.99. So, something for every taste and pocketbook.

The third image is one of (surprise!) Martha, and (double surprise!) it has nothing to do with the story. This is here at breakfast at a local restaurant a week ago. Just liked the shot.

Well, like I say, I’ve always wanted my own little country...but, I’m allergic to flamethrowers, cruise missiles, summery executions (particularly my own), and smart nukes delivered unerringly up the left nostril (kiloton blasts just play hell with my sinuses). my fantasy...what I needed was a way I could stay safely at home, protected by the laws and powers of these United States...while still having a bit of Grand Poobah status.

And that day, on the summer’s day, in Marblehead, ...and I saw the sign “Tucker’s Wharf”...I had a genuine (fantasy) epiphany.

Here, I knew, was the way to Sealand...

Or, at least, my version of it.

More to come.


1. These are the names of (mostly comic) pretend countries. Freedonia is from Marx Brothers movie, Duck Soup, which for no good reasons decides it wants “Rufus T. Firefly” (Groucho Marx) as its prime minister. Ruritania is the fictional country in Anthony Hope’s novel _The Prisoner of Zenda_. Gran Fenwick is the country Leonard Wibberley invented for his _The Mouse That Roared_ comic novels (which, btw, you should read if you haven’t already).

2.See: Alexander, several Caesars, assorted Visigoths (et al), Genghis Khan, Tamerlane (okay, his name was really Timur, but “Tamerlane” looks so much cooler), Suleiman I (“the Magnificent”), Napoleon...and on and on and on, until we get to Hitler, Stalin, and several others of their ilk, including our very own Putin, and doubtless lots of bloody-minded others yet to come.

3. For more information on Sealand and its complicated history, see it’s Wikipedia entry, here: , and the official Sealand webpage, here: , and particularly the “The Story” section, here:


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Copyright©2023 Michael Jay Tucker

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