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The expression ‘learning the ropes’ probably dates back to the days when sailors had to learn how to tie knots and hoist various sails on board the old-time sailing ships and, after taking a tour of some of the vessels at The Tall Ships Festival in Chicago recently, I can see why it would probably be the first thing you’d need to know. There definitely was an abundance of rope!

Learning the ropes 2

You wouldn’t get very far or at least not in the right direction if you didn’t know how to splice the mainbrace, swing the lead, run up the ratlines or haul on a halyard.


I’m afraid my knowledge of nautical terms is very limited. As far as I’m concerned ‘casting off’ was something Mum always did when she was knitting. I don’t think she would have had much success trying to knit with this stuff. Some of these ropes were really heavy duty!


My only actual experience with rope, as far as I remember, was years ago when we used to play skipping rope at school. It would certainly take a strong arm to skip rope with these!


I’ve paid ‘money for old rope,’ been ‘roped into’ doing things I’d rather not bother with, and felt almost at my ‘rope’s end.’ I guess my favorite rope would probably be one of pearls.


Having said all that, it’s probably time to ring the bell and go out with a big BANG!

Learning the ropes