Thursday, 29 March 2012

200 words: Young Neil Takes the Wheel.

Old Neily Whyte's rough, indented, sea-weathered hand pulls young Neil aboard and soon the pier at Kames begins to disappear. The green shore waves the puffer boat goodbye as it dissolves into the day. Soon the engine's constant chug through the choppy amethyst water is a relentless backbeat to the freestyle squawk of the gulls, zipping magnetically above their heads.

Young Neil's senses are spraying in the bubbling, beautiful Kyles of Bute. Barely noticing his grandpa and the sailors passing a bottle of Arthur Bell's finest. Nor their merriment and mirth growing arms and legs. From her window, Margaret's heart lurches as she spots the puffer weaving haphazardly though the Narrows. She is unaware that, with a "Grab the wheel, boy" her grandson, aged twelve, has just been made skipper.

What does Neil do with some drunken sailors early in the morning? Steady as she goes, saving the day, bit by bit, he navigates them home...

Back ashore the story washes around the Sound. Next day, his dad Alex, although vexed at his own dad, proudly recounts events at the Millhouse Powderworks...

Close on one century later, still proud of Neil, I pass this folklore through cyberspace to you...


  1. Oh my, a mother's heart attack! lol "Nor their merriment and mirth growing arms and legs" is a terrific line! My husband is quite the same as he flipped out when the boys tried to ride big wheels off the garage roof....but then tells the story proudly at work!

  2. Sounds like the phrase "boys will be boys" applies in your case too! This is a story about my grandfather that I heard at my gran's funeral. It made me smile and has stuck with me ever since.


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