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’