The bloke across the road from me

Has got a thing aboot the sea

Nae matter what the weather’s like

He’ll pack his bag and off he’ll pike…

…To sail the sea.


Dear Catherine waits up back on shore

And listens for the midnight door

In he crashes from a hard days gybing

(…and an even harder night’s imbibing…)


Now every year a yacht he charters

With a crew of well accomplished…farters

For years they have plied the sounds

And occasionally – run aground.


There’s seal-like Frank who basks the deck

And Fat Nav who says ‘what the heck’

Dan’s domestic, he cooks and cleans

…and makes sure they’re all filled with beans


So Mr Gibb (from here on Skipper)

Said, get a life now Mr Slipper

Why don’t you come aboard our boat ?

And with alcohol you’ll be afloat.


I asked how much  - he said only 300

A pricey vomit – I had wondered

But then my cynicism went deeper

They only want me to make it cheaper !


I signed the cheque and met the crew

And nothing much did seem askew

Until the beers we had at Cramond

… I staggered home completely hammered.


The big day came, with food to buy.

Bacon, sausages, bread and pies

Amounts of biscuits seeming quite ridiculous

But planned by Dan, so quite meticulous.


And on the way, at Inverary

A life decision to make – so scary

If you choose fish today - don’t dither

‘cus in future years ye canni swither’.


So to Ardfern, we find our craft

And there I’m looking totally daft

Lindisfarne is her Geordie name

And for a week she’ll be our hame.


A seagull spies our pies and pastry

And makes off with one, very hasty

But seagull, your fun has not lasted

‘cause Dan shouts out “you greedy bastard”


We sail away past Annie’s boat

I can’t believe we are afloat

Fat Nav frets aboot his lost amour

I think he called her Dorus Mor


There I sway, the useless deck-hand

Worried stiff ‘boot Corryveck … and

Then Fat Nav tells us sleaze- tales

Of a Hogmanay, drunk in Easdale


Burping, farting, passage plotting

Kettle on the burner hotting

Frank’s persona changes slightly

Then he emerges orange – brightly


Eilean Dubh, Beag and Mhor

Will be our first night’s anchor snore

Dan cooked pies and plenty tatties

And we all laid oot like proper fatties


Dot com Skip went ashore with a swagger

And walked the island – sad ol’ bagger

Three other boats were there a moorin’

But not a wink for them – och our snorin’


Woke up the first day – left my wee bunk fast

Shouting an alarmed “I have been gassed !”

Sagely with experience imparting

They all explained – you’ve just been farting !


A private moment last night in bed

I punched my fist (above my head)

And whispered “yesss” as they lay in slumberland

Germany have been beat by Engerlad !


From Black Isle to Sound of Mull

Weather fine, weather dull.

At Duart point some boring stories

Then we bypass Tobermory


Passing Glengorm and Windies yacht

We head for Coll – a pub it’s got

The passage gets a wee tad rocky

But being the new boy, I get cocky


The boat it swivels, the sea is swelling

But I go below and I am yelling

Who wants tea and chocolate cake ?

But my belly, it starts to shake.


Skip is grinning with sick delight

I’m just grimly holding tight

There’s wind ! there’s Coll – let’s really bomb it

No dinnae Skip – I’m gonnae vomit!


Chocolate cake, my family made

But thoughts of tea on deck now fade

The other four, the cake they relish

But to me the thought’s now hellish.


Skip is good, he says fix your eyes on

The Isle of Coll on yon horizon

I whimper thank you, that was nasty, that

Skip shrugs and mutters…..”stupid twat!”


We moor at Coll and hit the pub

Oh the warming glow of beer and grub

As we sit “fou and unco happy”

The weather ootside’s all gone crappy.


We stagger back to rubber dinghy

There’s thunder in the clouds.  I’m twingy.

The outboard splutters off then dies

And frightening lightening fills the skies.


In my bunk I drift to sleep

But some wee doubts I have to keep

I’ve come along to do some fishin’

But the other four – what is their mission ?


Frank has said “ I’ve done a drop”

And Dan has said “He’s had a good crop”

We went ashore and bags they carried

And when we left, two of them tarried.


Surely it’s not some naughty plot

To carry Crack, Cocaine and Pot ?

And now I come to think of it

Fat Nav said he liked good shit….


Conspiracy I leave unsolved

And wake up on Monday and get involved

In sailing’s glory.  Wind and sun,

It’s happy, healthy, lots of fun.


Leaving Coll we head for Muck

Back home it’s work – who gives a f….

Muck’s a fine wee home of Clan McEwan

There’s farmer McEwan and his brother Ewan.

But Hebridian silence here

Is not in prospect as they build a pier.


Scouter Dan is a picnic fan

And we go ashore to catch a tan

As the weather’s wet persistency

Is ruined by the sun’s intensity.


Like Hebridean jewels for miles

The intriguing beauty of the wee sma’ isles

From Muck past Eigg and on to Rum

(like all the things in Frankie’s tum)


I look back onto Ardnamurchan

And my boyhood memories there are lurking

Eight years of hollies at Swordle Bay

And catching mackerel every day !


Eigg’s great profile with crags and saddle

Sea birds in the ocean paddle

So to our mooring in Loch Scresort

Such a peaceful, calm resort.


Well it is until our large man Frank

Dives head long along the deck to yank

A rope around a mooring buoy

But wedges his belly and shouts “ahoy”


Skip and Slip and Nav and Dan

Just could’nae prise away the man

We pulled and pushed and stopped tae think

And Fat Nav said “sod him we’ll have a drink”


Now it’s customary for this crew

To quietly be watching you

Your every trait – oh yes they saw you

And then they make a nickname for you.


Findus is the strange name given

For me ‘cause I’m fishin’ driven

Not ‘cause I’ve hooked a Cuddy or Ling

I’ve still not caught a bloody thing


On Tuesday, Rum awakens us

With blasts of wind and wafty gusts

Not just from weather does this make us worry

But more from last night’s steamy curry !


Twenty knots the wind it blasts

“Findus – it’s your turn at last !

Just stand there and hold the wheel

Now you’re helming so dinnae squeal”


I didnae squeal, I didnae dare

I just stood there, right shit-scared

And stared and stared at yonder headland

As the boat leaned over it felt like bedlam.


The wind it howled, the rain it lashed

And I was dying for a slash

But no way could I leave the helm

For this sweet hour it was my realm !


A stop at Armadale for lunch

And back came my conspiracy hunch

Nav brought ashore a petrol can

To conceal in grass – and off he ran


Later on he picked it up

And I’m sure I saw him take a sup

Then he dreamt up some sad fable

Of how he’d rebuilt yonder stable


Tea and cakes - quite fantastic

Through rain we walked to see Skye Batiks

The hippy chick with incense burning

Oh Dan and Nav they had a yearning !


Under pretence of milk, Dan went to Mace

And the lady said – hello familiar face !

She wrapped a parcel, passed it onto Dan

Could this be some illegal contraband?


An evening Isle Ornsay arrival

And Findus, hooked on his survival

Prepared his hooks and outward casted

And caught a fish ! – that showed the bastards !


Now that night there was a footba’ match

But a secret plot I had to hatch

The sods were all for the Romanians

…must be oot their stupid craniums


One for Shearer, one for Owen

It’s 2-2 and prospects growin’

Keep attacking – get a lead

But then Phillip Neville lost his heid…


I sulked off ‘cross the water placid

In our little dinghy – flacid !

Skipper had a dangerous thought

Come on fellas we’ll hit the port !


Wednesday starts and me heid it clatters

Up on board I hear their chatters

Mumble, mumble - do the pick up

Whisper - if its cops - it’s a stick up !


Chugging on in pissing wet

Still nowt in my fishing net

Sandwiches of cheese and pickle

And again Fat Nav’s being ever so fickle


As we demolish bakewell tarts

Nav worries aboot a strange loss of charts

I’m sure they were here the other day

Dan just grins – “have they gone astray?”


Now Dan’s a man of integrity

And Donald trusts him implicitly

But I saw him roll those charts up tight

And take them to Frank’s room one night


In flickerin’ light of midnight moon

I thought I saw them warm a spoon

The evidence  - had I got it sorted?

Was it sherbet that they snorted?


Later in late Wednesday’s glory

We windward tacked to Tobermory

Skippers hygiene advice we heeded

“You mingin’ men - showers are needed”


We went ashore to meet the tottie

But all we saw was more sad yachties

We watched great football (England banished)

And realised that we were famished


We were intent on great big plaices

A muckle fish to fill our faces

Hungry orders for the pub’s big fish dish

But it’s tiny at the mean old Mishnish!


So I try to tell the Manager

She just shrugs as I try to challenge her

Ye call that a muckle cod

“Yes we do ya miserable sod !”


So feeling still hungry but defeated

Down to another pub we fleeted

Skip and me did giggle with glee

As we played at cars on a video screen


The giggling it did not abate

When back on board arriving late

Our pissed-up skipper tried to boast

That he could make the cheese on toast


He fell to floor to open the door

But Dan had boobied the pots before

And whilst the harbour was gentil hushin’

Skip was playing utensil percussion


Such a chortle – we were almost greetin’

The laughing boys from Norse-King beaten

At the harbour game of boating farces

Drawing attention – being complete arses…


So to Thursday by broad reach

To try and find a barbie beach

Not much chance so to Port Ramsay

Where Dan cooked us a pasta fancy


With all this sailing my limbs were breaking

And with agony my back was aching

So around the boat I swam like heck

And me chuckies retracted into my neck !


On Friday we all hoped to see

A blazing sun ?– a picnic tea ?

But the sea it swelled and rolled

And even Skip didnae look too bold.


Whene’er it’s rough Dan goes doonstair

And cooks up breakfast – how does he dare?

And Fat Nav gives him rude rebuke

If you feed us now we all will puke!


But then the sea it starts to calm

And Nav grabs Danny by the arm

Come on cookie – he starts broodin

‘I’m strarvin’ – where’s my black puddin’


So as I helm through Dorus Mor

And sadly we head back ashore

I ponder as your “bo-at laureat”

What it is aboot the four o’ you that…


Made this idle week a pleasure

To be invited for five days leisure

Maybe it’s the gatherin’ rate

At which you seem to vent your hate !


No, seriously for three last verses

In spite of burping, farting and curses

I’ve enjoyed my floating prison sentence

A week to deal with my repentance


I thank you crew for having me !

Upon your voyage on these wild seas

I’m sorry I’ve brought no tradition

And annoyed you totally wi’ me fishin’


But I heartily thank this experienced crew

For tolerating me with you

It is really with a passion that

You have hated having a Sassenach!



Richard Slipper, ‘Findus the Fisherman’


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