The Daytrippers

The Paddle Steamer Waverley.

Hello. It’s Captain Joe here. Just thought I’d let you know. There can be nothing worse than to see a clunking great iceberg looming, and knowing that you had never been introduced to the sod who’d been steering the boat at the time. I will be your Captain for this nostalgic trip ‘doon the watter.’

Welcome aboard the Paddler. As you can see we are filled to the gunnels with gallivanting Glaswegians hell bent on having a ‘rerr’ day out. Mammies and daddies, with the ‘weans’ in tow, looking forward to a day out in the fair town of Rothesay-o.

I would like you to imagine it’s a bright sunny Sunday morning in May, away back in the hey-day of the Paddle Steamers, as we cast off from the Broomielaw on the river Clyde.

We have hardly reached mid-stream and already the music from the saloon-bar has begun, with a Harry Lauder type guy singing;

‘For we’re no’ awa’ tae bide awa’. We’re no’ awa’ tae leave ye. We’re no’ awa’ tae bide awa’. We’ll aye come back and see ye.’

Firth of Clyde, with Dumbarton Rock.

We sail down the river and out into the beautiful surroundings of the Firth of Clyde passing Dumbarton Rock, with its Castle on the top.
This is where Mary Queen of Scots as a child, spent her last night, before being safely transported to France, where she matured to become an intelligent and beautiful woman, marrying the Dauphin, Francois, who was to become King, but then that’s another story.

Splish-splash, splish-splash, splish-splash, splish.

The little Paddler battles against the force of the incoming tide.

There are children on the top-deck with their mammies, throwing crusts of bread into the air, which the seagulls are swooping down on, and catching the tasty morsels in mid-air.
Down below deck, in the engine-room, the Engineer is toiling with the oiling of a coiling, while the boiler-man is boiling in his boiler-suit, all sooty, while attending to the normality of his duty.
Up on the top deck, the gulls are still a-busy, sending messages of thanksgiving to the people down below, one of which lands with a sickly splatter, slap bang on the head of the Harry Lauder type guy, who had just emerged from the smoky atmosphere of the saloon-bar.

Splish-splash, splish-splash, splish-splash, splish.

The Paddler is approaching Rothesay Bay.

A drunk in the saloon-bar shouts;

‘Give us anither yin.’

The Harry Lauder type guy, mistaking his call to the barman, as that of someone wishing an encore, begins singing;

‘Maxwellton Braes are bonny, where early fa’s the dew.

Twas there that Annie Laurie, gie’d me her promise true.’

Splish-splash, splish-splash, splish-splash, splish.

Welcome to Rothesay. Have a nice day. Let all your cares and woes vanish away.

We’ll leave those gallus Glasgow folk, enjoying themselves in Rothesay.

Rothesay, Isle of Bute.

For those left onboard, we are now heading for Dunoon, where the Cowal Games are held every year.
If you can bear with me, I will try to explain the shenanigans of what goes on during these Games.
Events take place, such as Pipe-Band competitions in which Pipers compete, by blowing as hard as they can into cloth-balloons, which are held underneath their oxters. The first Piper to burst one of these balloons is then declared the biggest blow-hard in the band, and holds this coveted title for one year.
By the way, the previous year’s winner had been found among the heather, beside an empty bottle of Johnnie Walker, and a burst balloon. He had blown his brains out.

Highland dancing is another of the activities, where bonnie wee lassies appear to have been forced to dance on a bed of nails. Then on closer inspection one realizes that it is much worse and that some tumshie of a Clansman has left his Clansmen comrades’ dirty great cutlasses on the mat on which the poor wee things are trying to perform a jig.

Tossing the caber: Now, this one is difficult to explain, but it seems to be about these two big Canadian lumber-jacks built like Balerno bulls, who lose the brow with one another over who should get the productivity bonus, and they begin throwing trees at one another. Anyway, the outcome is, as in the old Western movies, the bad guy with the black mustache loses.

I look forward to meeting the two happy couples who won the draw for dinner at the Captain’s table, on arrival at Dunoon.
The menu will consist of; mince with dough-balls, followed by tapioca pudding with a dollop of plum jam.
We do have a dress code; string vests will be frowned upon; pink Long-Johns are a no-no. That rules me out, as my ‘missus’ says my bum doesn’t look good in them, especially when the trap-door is left lying ajar.

On the return journey we will be picking up the remains of the Glaswegians at Rothesay, for the sail back home to the Broomielaw.
Have a nice day in Dunoon.

Splish-splash, splish-splash, splish-splash, splish.

The little Paddler battles on.

Dunoon, with Holy Loch.

Well, here we are back in Rothesay. The day-trippers are safely on board and we cast off on the return trip.
We’re homeward bound and the saloon-bar becomes active once more;

‘Sailin’ up the Clyde, sailin’ up the Clyde.

Back tae bonnie Scotland an’ your ain fireside.

There’s a lump comes in your throat an’ a tear ye cannae hide.

When your sailin’ back tae Scotland an’ your ain fireside.’

The drunk shouts;

‘Give us anither yin.’

The wee minstrel, the Harry Lauder type guy, starts singing;

‘Maxwellton Braes are bonny.

Where early fa’s the dew.

It was there that Annie Laurie.

Gave me her promise true.’

The drunk shouts;

‘Hi, you wi’ the seagull’s shite on your heid, gonnae pack it in, you’ll make it bliddy rain?’

The little ship continues on up river. Your Captain, Joe, is at it too. Yes I’m singing away merrily on the bridge, as we pass Dumbarton Rock;

‘Roamin’ in the gloamin’ on the bonnie banks o’ Clyde.

Roamin’ in the gloamin’ wi’ a lassie by my side.

When the sun has gone tae rest that’s the time I love the best.

Och, it’s lovely roamin’ in the gloamin’.’

Splish-splash, splish-splash, splish-splash, splish.

The Pretty Little Paddler.

The Waverley, before going on to its berth in Glasgow, ties up at Govan Pier to let the passengers who lived on the south side of the city disembark. Off they came, singing like linties, weans greeting, daddies stinking, mammies shouting;

‘Come on, come on, we’ll soon be hame.’

Four big lassies, ‘cleeking airms’ and giggling, dancing on ahead and singing;

‘Show me the way to go home.

I’m tired and I want to go to bed.

I had a little drink about an hour ago.

And its gone right to my head.’

The wee drunk shouting;

‘Wait for me, Maggie. I cannae bliddy run.’

Our day trip ‘doon the watter’ has come to an end. I hope that you all had a nice day out. Joe.

Big Bully Boat.

One day I’ll take you for a sail on my big boat.

Joe Sharp.

Read the Adventures of Francie and Josie, click here.

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