Chapter 1: Start of the Journey


Just simply Journal this time. No frills. When I take a holiday I take it from the first minute. Wednesday,31st July, 1946:-

Armed with some good sandwiches and various parcels for Pandora I succeed in catching the 9.40 with a comfortable corner seat back to the engine, in a first class compartment with two other passengers only - a good start - my diagonal vis-a-vis was a portly elderly fellow well dressed in dark brown tweeds and plus-fours. He most obligingly had a conspicuous label on his suitcase for anyone with half an eye to read. I had friends who used to live in his hometown so I opened the ball point blank by asking him: "Did you happen to know the Hooworthy's? "Why yes, they were my next door neighbours". After that, conversation was easy and interesting. He had been twice round the world to my once, which would have provided topics for weeks; but having just undergone three operations for mastoid, he was rather deaf, so we got on to the safe subject of Scotland and we heartily agreed that there was no scenery anywhere in the world to touch the west coast. Up to the war he had owned a 104 ton cruiser motor and knew all the lochs and haunts from Tayvallich to Lochinvar. Thus the journey whiled itself away most pleasantly.

The weather improved as we went north. It was exceptionally clear as we went over Shap. When we came to the Sark at Gretna I told my friend of the strange habit of the Balfour family, as related by Mrs. Edgar Dugdale in her 'Family Homespun'. How, when they crossed Berwick Bridge on their annual holiday which they used to spend with their distinguished uncle at Whittinghame, they would cheer like mad on their northward journey and hiss with equal enthusiasm on the southward.

The Lowlands were superb. The Clyde was flowing full and Tinto was clear and I should not have minded Meg Dod's curse one jot. She wished folks she didn't like 'at top o' Tintock', whence that day would have been a grand outsee over half Scotland.

In Glasgow I secured the room I had booked a month ago. I went out and did my annual business and so earned some travelling expense. After a frugal tea I did a spot of shopping. At the tenth chemists I succeeded in acquiring my special brand of shaving soap. I acquired two casts and some flies which the charming shop lady kindly made up for me. For these I paid thirteen and six which is cheap, being not more then four times the pre war figure.

The Scotch waitresses are pleasant and attentive and so are the shopgirls; indeed, outside Paris and France I know no place where manners are better than in Scotland. Glasgow has not perhaps the best of reputation in this respect, owing to Communists and some crude North Irish mixture, but the girls make up for their menfolk. Wherever I went there was courtesy and considerable grace.

Dined here reasonably well on soup, turbot, oatcake, cheese and good coffee. Braised Ham was 'off', I never met anyone who had ever found it 'on'. About 9 I strolled out to find a cinema. Strangely enough at two places the box office was already closed though the shows went on till 10.30. Eventually at the Regent I saw 'The Postman Always Rings Twice'. I so seldom visit the pictures that even the worst films have some interest. I sat it out, but I cannot say it was uplifting - a very sordid crime story of California, where apparently, murder is a virtue, blackmail still a vice and justice a complete travesty. I forget whether it was 'U' or 'A' - one hopes the latter, just in case the young might be corrupted.

Glasgow much the most prosperous and well shopped city - crowds of people - Liverpool by comparison deserted and Manchester tawdry.

Had now better turn in before it is time to turn out.

August 1st, 1946. Woke betimes and had an almost leisurely breakfast. Caught the 8.27 easily; but Skipper, Mate and the Frails were shortshipped. The night mails being late from the South and Maureen still involved in moving house at Forfar. She is not expected till Saturday at Crinan.

The 'King George V' lay alongside at Gourock. The Clyde about there very visible, but weather U, a very Beaufort Ugly and a bitter cold wind. It is always cold in the Clyde, it being a funnel well blanked off from the Gulf Stream. Renewed acquaintance with that grandly situated lighthouse the Cloch and The Gantocks and Toward Point each and all of which flooded my memory with incidents of old races in "Barabel", "Corrie" and "Javotte". Arran looked black and blue. Weather cleared and warmed at Tarbert. Quite hot on the bus ride from Ardrishaig to Tayvallich. Was very pleased and honoured by Smab and George Pease coming off to collect me and I thoroughly enjoyed a good tea, having fasted, except for a bit of cake since that breakfast in the distant and chilly dawn.

Pandora now white hulled and blue ensigned. Clutch said to be wonky. I anticipate with glee some engine room hate tomorrow! Nothing like a spot of mischief to add spice to a holiday and we are assured of that when the Frails arrive.

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