A Boat on the Side

Still Here Then?

This year, we at Scruffie Marine celebrate out 20th anniversary. It seems like yesterday when we started our first boat and here we are celebrating with over 300 in nine different countries.

I was talking to a future Secret 20 builder the other week. He’s a doctor specialising in ageing. There’s one thing, he said that stands out among those of his patients who live a long and healthy life, they all share the same attitude – they are passionate about their projects and never stop thinking about and making plans for their future. Well that’s good news I thought – I tick a lot of boxes there and having survived several near death experiences, I’m probably pre-disastered by now and look set for another couple of decades at least. For starters, I’ve fallen off horses and buildings and cracked my spine a bit. I’ve had a kalashnikov shoved in my ribs prior to spending a few frightening hours in a Middle Eastern jail.

North Sea Oil Production Platform

In the Seventies I took a formwork job on a North Sea oil production platform. These things were huge floating concrete storage tanks, built ashore in massive excavated basins which were then flooded and the whole edifice towed out to the deeper waters of the sea loch. Once there, several industrial strength ocean going tugs pushed and pulled them around while endless rivers of concrete were pumped into the steel shutters. The forms were pumped up ever higher to keep pace with the steel and concrete until finally they towered above the tugs. I was sent to the top to help set up the timber formwork for the cone shaped roofs. As I gingerly walked up the scaffolding to the top I noticed out of the corner of one eye that part of the safety barrier was missing. “That’s where they’re hauling the timber in” said my mate. We worked on. A light drizzle came in from the Atlantic. The form-ply was oiled. I stumbled. I slipped, I slid down the sloping roof straight for the only gap in the railings. I scrabbled for a grip. I heard the distant cries of seagulls wheeling far below that concrete cliff of death. I came to a halt on the brink, spread-eagled on the scaffold boards. I froze. I could only crawl to the lift cage where I huddled in a corner whimpering. Not a good look on a big burly building site. Not a good look when only days before a steel-fixer had fallen down on to some starter bars some of which had gone right through various limbs. He waved to his friends as the helicopter winched him up and away to the hospital. I worked ashore after that and quit shortly after.

“Don’t worry dearest, I’ll be back at the drawing board before you can say Stornaway!”

I nearly lost it during emergency surgery for peritonitis and on one memorable occasion a particularly virulent tick poisoned me to a state of near death. It was in retrospect a bit of a Fawlty Towers moment. Fighting for breath and rapidly deteriorating I was driven at breakneck speed to the doctor’s where emergency adrenaline awaited. I staggered in, supported by my then wife. The receptionist said sweetly “take a seat the doctor will be right along with you.” “Out of my way” I croaked, “I’m f****** dying!” and lunged for his door which he opened just as I got there. He half dragged, half lifted me on to the couch. Seconds’ later enough adrenaline was pumped into my heart to re-start the thing, along with various other drugs to keep me going. It all goes to show how vulnerable we are and why we must never stop planning ahead. So the birthday ambitions are pretty straightforward. Build better boats and a better business based on them and the greener the better. Raise awareness of the gargantuan environmental problems we face. Plant lots more trees. Generate good profits and plough as much as possible into our new projects which will surely leave the world a better place, most of all though, we must live our passions.

Simple enough.


A Less Than Beautiful Mind

On re-reading the last post I am concerned by how much sex and smut there is. While I come from a country obsessed with humour based on bodily functions and unnatural acts, I want everyone to know that I’m not normally like this (thank goodness! – Annette.) Well not often anyway. Actually I used to enjoy Benny Hill’s disgusting, childish and derogatory shows and Billy Connolly’s foul-mouthed humour nearly reduced me to tears on occasion. Of course Australia’s own Dame Edna’s gloriously offensive innuendo is a delight but well, OK, I admit I’m as bad as anyone else. What’s more I have a confession to make – some of the entries were really disgusting and had to be deleted. Here are a few heavily censored ones.

Ground Tackle – name given to … ….. … appendages .. ……. …. derogatory .. ….. .. short …. .. …...

Kicking Strap – a … ……… leather …. …….. ….. .conservative politicians ……… ….. disgrace.

Rigging Screw – when …… ………. ….. ………… ratlines …… …… …. halyards ….. ……. ………. ….. dangerous in a seaway.

Running Backstays – …….. ………. … …… flexible …… ….. ……..  popular among ……… ……… athletic …. … ………. …. “Carrick bend.”

Sheepshank – a New Zealand …….. …. ………. ……. …….. divorced …. …….. …. ….. outlawed in 1957 … .. … …. ……… …. farmers.

And here are a few entries Annette missed – probably down to my “stream of consciousness” form of “handwriting.”

Astral Navigation – attempting to plot a course while listening to early Van Morrison tracks.

Awning – an unconsummated and unsatisfactory partial yawning requiring an immediate repeat attempt.

Full and Bye – two drunks endlessly bidding farewell to each other. Also used to describe the protracted departure of dinner guests culminating in much waving and tooting as they drive off.

Futtocks – fairies’ bottoms.

Rights of Way – the cheese maker’s charter.

Trapeze – a special lubricant formulated for easing rusty trap door hinges.

Tumblehome – what a circus acrobat does after the show.


Ellard’s Landlocked Lexicon

Mankind’s maritime heritage is reflected in the dozens of nautical terms in everyday use – sailing close to the wind, loaded up to the gunwales, showing the ropes, to name just a few. Here then is a short summary of alternative landlocked meaning to words found in the mariner’s lexicon.

Able Seaman – a competent but uninspiring lover.

Anode – a poem to Anne.

Antifoul – tightly fitting incontinence garment.

Archipelago – any piece of dramatic music accompanying documentaries on modern architects, invariably utilizing cellos and bowed bass.

Barnacle – 1. an uncle who owns a pub 2. any drinker who cannot be prised from the bar.

Barometer – a device used to measure the volume of alcohol consumed in drinking contests.

Below Decks – an old fashioned euphemism favoured by Victorian mothers.

Bobstays – corsets for men.

Bollards – Nanook’s nuts (Eskimo testicles.)

Boom Crutch – 1. a walking aid used by people born in the ten years following WWII. 2. Circus clowns’ exploding trousers.

Boot Topping – a cursory brush of the shoes only where it shows.

Bosun – a young man with gay tendencies.

Bosun’s Locker – a special place where he hides his “special” magazines.

Bow Thruster – a sharp cocky and ambitious young office worker who uses excessive hair gel. (Stem Thruster – as above but gay.)

Bow Wave – an awkward move seen in amateur dramatics where a player attempts to simultaneously acknowledge both the applause and friends or relatives in the audience.

Bunting – actively searching for rabbits to kill.

Cape of Good Hope – a voluminous dark cloak worn to attract female Goths or vampires.

Capstan – a two-toned facial tan caused by the habitual wearing of baseball caps.

Careening – to sing a song of lamentation for a wrecked motor vehicle.

Carvel – term used by mechanics with limited English skills to denote that your vehicle is roadworthy – the opposite of carsick.

Catstay – a small cage in a boarding cattery.

Chart – any small pastry that is overcooked but edible when the burnt bits are broken off.

Circumnavigation – a Jewish sailor’s round the world voyage.

Clinker – a person who jiggles their money in an annoying way. Clinkers must take care to perform this act to the sides of the trouser pockets, otherwise innocent bystanders may misconstrue the movements.

Coastguards – armed forces who ensure that no-one steals the coast.

Companionway – a footpath where you can comfortably walk side by side.

Cunningham – a devious and unscrupulous actor.

Counterstern – a chartered accountant lecturing on one’s proliferate spending

Cruise Director – a policeman on points (traffic) duty in a red-light district.

Dan Buoy – historical character said to have inspired a sentimental Irish ballad.

Datum Line – the point in a single person’s life when he or she realizes that they are probably destined to live alone for the foreseeable future.

Dead Reckoning – karma.

Deadeyes – the look by which your wife indicates that you should stop flirting with that woman if you value your life.

Deviation Chart – a menu in a brothel.

Doldrums – female flatulence.

Dragging the Anchor – when a bright cheerful woman takes the morose unwilling husband to a function.

Easing the Sheets – a surreptitious flapping of the outside edge of the bed linen following  an attack of the doldrums.

Fairlead – a detective’s promising line of enquiry obtained by legal and proper means, often resulting in the utterance “It’s a fair cop.”

First Mate – wife or husband number 1.

Fixed Ports – harbours that stay in one place.

Fleet Review – a quick assessment.

Flying Dutchman – Nederlander met LSD.

Foulies – chickens with diarrhea.

Gaff Jaws – traditionally rigged shark.

Gangway – side street or back lane used by teenage hoodies.

Gelcoat – a super tight shiny outfit worn by female pop stars.

Genoa – an Australian question.

Gig – the point at which you try to stop laughing at inappropriate moments.

Golly Wobbler – a well endowed woman jogging.

Goosewing – 1940s big band jazz favoured by poultry goers.

Half Mast – trousers not fully removed prior to frantic acts of coupling.

Handybilly – a general purpose goat kept nearby.

Hawse Pipe – a smoking utensil favoured by ladies of ill repute.

Heavy Weather – an overweight sheep.

Heel Rope – a dog lead

Hood End – the bad part of town where teenage gangs hang out.

Jetty – a nervous flyer.

Jury Rig – a specialized legal manouevre involving large sums of cash.

Kingpost – a royal erection.

Lake Steamer – a film about a torrid affair set on the waterfront.

Laminators – people who stand way too close in queues.

Lanyards – where bulk lanolin is stored.

Lateen – a young person who is always late.

Lateen Rig – clothes worn by the above.

Lee Cloth – a downwind loin cloth.

Light Airs – blondes.

Lighthouse – a dwelling with a small ecological footprint.

Limpet – 1. cats who go all floppy when you pick them up. 2. an effeminate fawning theatrical gesture.

Luffing Up – generally good natured form of preliminary seduction used by party goers.

Luffing Match – when two or more males are targeting the same woman.

Maelstrom – what a Scandinavian guitarist does.

Mast Cap – a sailor’s condom.

Midshipman – a bisexual sailor.

Mortice and Tenon – the tragic opera about the doomed romance between a young funeral parlor assistant and a famous classical singer.

Naval Ratings – performance guide circulated amongst single women when the fleet’s in town.

Navy Blue – a state of sadness experienced by single young women when the fleet has sailed away.

Offing – collective term for the thoughts that come to mind when your partner or spouse hangs around offering advice or issuing directions when you are attempting minor household improvements or repairs.

Ordinary Seaman – a barely adequate lover.

Osmosis – the act of growing a moustache and becoming an Australian citizen.

Outhaul – what you do with old dogs on cold rainy nights.

Parallel Rulers – heads of state who govern in different dimensions to ours.

Parrel Beads – worry beads form another time, another space.

Pinnace – an extremely good ten pin bowler.

Pintle – any really tiny body part.

Pirate – the official pastry review board.

Plain Weave – the snaking motion down the aisle of an aircraft during boarding.

Poop Deck – a balcony available to locked in pets.

Punt – when you are tired and can’t think of any more puns to write.

Purser – a thespian who specializes in cross dressing roles, especially pantomime.

Quartermaster – an alleged professional who is only about 25 percent competent.

Reverse Sheer – an ugly scratch caused when parking in confined spaces.

Rogue Wave – a confidence trickster’s farewell gesture.

Roller Furler – a pneumatic blonde with a Dolly Parton hairstyle and a mink coat in the back of an elderly millionaire’s Rolls Royce.

Roller Reefer – a faux naval jacket with brass buttons worn by middle aged poseurs.

Roro – what Lady Gaga’s boat crew do.

Rum Ration – a perplexing allowance.

Sailmaker’s Palm – canvas worker’s calluses caused by excessive self abuse.

Samson Post – strong mail.

Scantlings – the contents of a stripper’s wardrobe.

Sea Shanties – quick release knickers worn on cruise liners.

Sheaves – 1. what seasick women do. 2. female version of Jeeves.

Sheave Block – medicine for seasick women.

Sheeted In – the bed linen off the line and indoors before the rain squall.

Sister Clips – extracts from your sibling’s home movies.

Skiff – a deceased Moroccan drug dealer.

Snap Shackle – an ill advised spur of the moment Las Vegas style marriage.

Sou’wester – a special Cornish pig delivery vehicle.

Spindrift – when political media hacks wonder whether they shouldn’t be doing something more meaningful with their lives.

Spinnaker – the setting n a washing machine especially for delicate undergarments.

Spreaders – swingers who enjoy re-enacting scenes from the movie “Last Tango in Paris.”

Square Rigged – anyone wearing an old fashioned oversized striped jacket with extreme shoulder pads.

Stanchion – lunch eaten standing at a bar.

Sternpost – a warning letter from your bank manager.

Studsails – full cut partially unbuttoned white shirts gathered at the wrist favoured by Latin male escorts.

Stuffing Box – any receptacle for old personal papers and sundry bits and pieces you can’t seem to throw away.

Swinging The Lead – manly strides in an optional clothing resort.

Tabernacle – the tally of the evening’s drinks at an uncle’s pub.

Take Up the Slack – item used by cosmetic surgeons.

Take a Sounding – to illegally download a song.

Tarred Hemp – marijuana leaf rolled in hash oil.

Thimble – a symbol with a lisp.

Tight Luff – a luffer who never seems to buy the drinks.

Topgallant – a gentleman who comes to the aid of a woman being threatened by teenage gang members.

Tophamper – one from Harrods’s.

Topping Lift – a hitchhiker’s dream – being picked up by a chauffer driven Rolls Royce and having to share the back seat with a Roller Furler.

Trade Winds – builder’s flatulence.

Transom – a good looking transvestite.

Twin Screw – a common male fantasy.

Two Pack Varnish – industrial strength makeup favoured by American matriarchs.

Two Stroke – a threesome.

Underway – intimate apparel exuberantly flung aside at the onset of coupling.

Vasco de Gama – a humorous act performed in private clubs named after the Portuguese explorer, navigator and strict disciplinarian.

Winch – rural New Zealand word for women.