The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

The Beach

Tim and I explore the beach,

Wide eyed in wonder at all it do teach,

Watch a gull hang in the air,

Yet not a string to hold her there,

The mighty sea that ebbs and flows,

But where does all the water go?

Ignorance is bliss, I’ve heard them say,

So maybe it is better not to know,

Simply emulate our Tim,

Romp around without a care,

Then home, Breakfast and a comfy chair.

“Let’s get cleaned up and go for a pint”, it was Laurimer, six-three, and had, what can only be described as a hungry look. Laurimer grow up in a musical family his father, an accordion player, was registered blind, so would along with a sighted war veteran, travel around the large towns and cities, busking and playing at local dances at the weekend for the rent money. Laurimer, for he never used his first name, so as not to be confused with his old man, left school at the age of fourteen, like most young lads at that time and went straight down the pit, then as Jimmy had done, at the aged of sixteen, went off to war both joined the Royal Navy, serving three in the colour – three in reserve. On demobilization, it was down the pit or go to sea, both eventually ended up in the Merchant Navy.

“What wi’ buttons, we won’t get a penny until we sign off” Jimmy retorted, not a little grumpy, he hatted the insecurity of the depression.

“How much have you in your pocket?” Laurimer asked.

“maybe, ninepence”

“That’ll be enough, get your glad rags on, Folkestone awaits” and before Jimmy could agree or disagree Laurimer was off down the companionway.

They had looked in four pubs now but had not found what they were looking for, one with a piano, then they struck gold. “This is the place” Jimmy was assured, by an ever effervescent Laurimer. “You get a couple of half-pints whilst I go to work”.

Laurimer was a good pub pianist, and he only needed to hear a tune once before he was able to sit down at the piano and bash it out, so knew all the hot numbers of the time. Settled at the piano he started playing a medley of the latest chart-toppers. Just as people were starting to pay attention, and glum souls were reawakening from their gloomy thoughts, down went the lid of the piano, and Laurimer joined Jimmy at the bar.

“What did you stop for, the folks were enjoying your playing?” asked the barman.

“Well to tell the truth, and Laurimer went into his long sad tale. We have just docked and all we have is enough to buy a couple of half-pints, when these are finished, we’re finished” Laurimer had the glib tong of the Irish, and although Jimmy knew him well enough by now, he almost had a tear in his eye.

“Is that all, well get back to your piano and I’ll pull a couple of pints for you both” was the bartender’s retort. Laurimer once more seated at the piano with Jimmy giving a wee bit song and soft shoe snuffle alongside. On their homeward voyage, back to the ship, their wake was making every letter in the alphabet.

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