The Worm Turns – Crinan

On a fine, if lightly clouded, blue-skied day, the puffer was tied up to the stone jetty outside the western basin of the Crinan Canal, ready to fulfil a charter. To the west of her, the sea spread away over the Sound of Jura towards the shimmering outline of the blue-grey mountains that marked the islands of Jura and Scarba.

On board, the crew was awaiting the arrival of the client, top man of a well-known international corporation. He and the last of his guests were driving over by car from Edinburgh. As soon as they arrived, the puffer would set off for a week’s cruising round the Western Isles.

The other fifteen guests had turned up well before they should have. Each of them, a captain of industry or high flying decision-maker, delighted to be out from behind his desk for a bit of ‘R and R’. They were all excited at the prospect of going to sea on this near-extinct form of transport. If only to justify their trip, they might do a bit of business on the side.

The current situation had given the Twins some cause for concern. They knew that if these ‘corporate hospitality boys’ were let loose on the food and drink this early, they would very soon make serious inroads into the stuff that the parsimonious pair had become accustomed to creaming off at the end of a trip.

Crinan Hotel and Basin

As a delaying tactic, they instructed Zander to tell the guests that there would be no food or drink served until their host arrived; so Zander, reading it as the Twins had hoped, announced to the assembled guests –

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but as you were a wee bit early and because your host is bringing the supplies with him, there’s nothing on board to eat or drink until he gets here.”

The passengers, who had been here for ages, had already looked around Crinan and were bored to the back teeth. They had been horrified when they found out that the hotel bar wouldn’t be opening until mid afternoon, so it was amidst a rumbling of discontent that a voice asked the obvious question.

“What are we going to do ’till then?”

Zander, his brain instantly recognizing an opportunity to profit from gullibility, was already one step ahead of them says,

“How about going fishing? We could launch the tender and take you on a wee boat trip.” He smiled to himself when he saw a glimmer of interest appear in the guest’s eyes.

This is an extract from Chapter 11 and to find out what happens…..

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