Chapter 2: Aug2/3 - Tayvallich to Crinan

August 2nd, Tayvallich - Slept well in starboard cot in engine room. It has been given a new mattress and is extraordinarily comfortable. I am very grateful to my kind owner hostess. Lazed all day and ate enormously. Skipper, Mate and Molly arrived in McLaughlan's car about 7.30 last night, having come by bus from the Broomielaw to Lochgilphead. I called on Dr. and Mrs. Gray parents of Margaret (Pud) a famous 'hand' on this coast. She figures In 'Rowan's Log' (Dr. Carslaw) and I have been shipmates with her on 'Pandora' at Tarbert. They have taken the Gillies' house. Pleasant talk of boats, charts, anchorages et homnia hoc generi.

The day started with some underlined rain and cold squalls; then we had a spell of SW 6-7 and veered into NW 7-8, then it warmed a bit and decided to be bright and good. The Skipper and George Pease lost no time in subjecting engine to a good overhaul and the clutch was soon fixed. It was beautifully warm below with the stove and the mere being aboard was infinitely soothing to the diarist, who had come north from a somewhat shattering experience. He revelled in the pure air and light.

Made more calls on the beach. Greeted the Perkins noble donors of large cabbages, who occupy the finest site in Tayvallich whence they command a view of all its activities and can feast to their heart's delight on one of the grandest prospects in Scotland. Then to Colin McGilp's ('the little thin man') for some rubber solution in a vain hope of repairing my sea boots. He Colin among most varied activities is conductor of the bus and distributor of mails and journals to the outlying crofts and houses of Knapdale. He is also a man of substance in Tayvallich. His cottage lies pleasantly at the edge of the water and nearly contiguous is his store, a compedious though dark emporium replete with utilities. He found me a tube of chemioo and charged me the really handsome and generous price of two pence, thus shewing a fine disregard of booms, inflations and labour governments. Moreover I made the stuff work.

From Colin's I went over to the Smithy where I found Neil Campbell busy shaping a shoe. Of all trades his is the most fascinating to watch. He was good enough to make a kind and shrewd, if flattering comment on the Home Guard book I had sent him. He said it would have fitted any Home Guard unit in the country.

All the houses in the Clachan had their bits of gardens well stocked with summer colour and all the meadows and heath were full of meadowsweet. The range of flowers both wild and cultivated is limited but whatever does grow does it to perfection.

August 3rd - Tayvallich. Early heavy showers, NW 5 with puffs. McClumsie and I coal ship, that is, transfer anthracite from bags in the after peak to the bunker at the foot of the companion. Thereafter McClumsie becomes very much the Mate and with Mr. Skipper conducts an operation they call sorting the 'Hurrah's Nest' or making things ship shape, such as coiling warps and fixing the falls on the davits.

Smab cooks hard with most beneficent and astonishing results. She cooked hard all day yesterday and most of to-day. Here are some of her chefs d'oeuvres:- Roast Sirloin with ditto pots and fresh garden peas, appropriately enough from the baronial mansion - stewed rhubarb, strawberry custard, stewed steak and veg., boiled packet pudding with Somersetshire cream (Molly lives in Zummerzet) and blackberry jelly. Porridge, bread and butter (absolutely ad lib) and jam, eggs and cheese on toast and a sumer pudding of black currants also from Taynish. All that and cake and scenes for tea. I would not mention these matters which to a Victorian, an Edwardian, or even a latter Georgian might seem trivial and unworthy of comment; but in the austere, monotonous and hum drum times we live in, when the dishes we have been accustomed to all our long lives such as ham and eggs, cheese, beef steak, mutton chops, white bread and butter, chauxfroid or fricassee of chicken, mulligatawny, sole maison, sauces Bechamel, Bearnaise, Mayonnaise de Saumon, Huitres, York Ham with Champagne Sauce, Asperges au Beurre, Langue de Boeuf with Sauce Madere, Oeufs Brouilles avec Champignons ou peutetre tomatoes followed by Chateaubriand with Pommes Souffles and perhaps preceded by Creme Veloute with a Vieille coeur and cafe filtre for a post prandimn: when I say that these and a host of other common or garden articles of diet are now practically mainly and almost entirely unobtainable the reader of those reflections in the dim and distant future will readily understand that the sumptuous fare we enjoyed on Pandora was rare, precious, refreshing and cheering to persons partially starved and daily depressed by the labour government. In a word we feasted and lifted our caps to Smab.

Maureen, the missing Frail arrived by the 3.30 bus with innumerable suitcases, rucksacks, holdalls, bags, parcels, packages and other impedimenta. I asked her where she had left her luggage. We came by Wemyss Bay and changed steamers at Rothesay. On the 'King George V' she found herself on the bridge pointing out the beauty spots in the Kyles to a press photographer. At Colintraive the forward warp or mooring hawser parted, which delayed them a trifle so that "Loch Fyne" got to Tignabruaich first.

After tea we hove up anchor. A good useful couple or three hours in the morning had been devoted to clearing the moorings which, believe you me, had got tied up in some considerable sort of Turks Head knot deep down in the inky, oozy, sticky, prehensile slime of Tayvallich Bay. Mr. Skipper's reflections on same would probably not bear repetition; indeed they would be unprintable.

We left Tayvallich at 4.50 and it was a very perfect afternoon. One short stop near Taynish for an overwarm clutch and then a perfect cruise down that lovely sea lane, past the hoary old ruin of Castle Sween into Jura Sound. Gigha was showing up clear in the SW. There was a bit of gloom over by Lowlandman Bay and just a little popple to make things interesting.

Here we were yachting once more. Curious how reluctant one is to use the phrase but it does imply something that is very rare, very costly, very exclusive and most uncommonly nice. That Isle of Jura over there unchanged and I hope unchangeable for thousands of years on both sides of the present blissful moment of time, and here close on our starboard hand the exquisite continent of Knapdale. We soon rounded Ardnoe and came to anchor in Crinan Harbour. We looked at the old familiar spot with new interest as we heard that 'James' might possibly establish a yacht yard there.

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