Sunseeker Chapter 5
I’m not too sure when we met Sandy Ferguson, but we were to become grateful for his and his wife Alice’s friendship and hospitality, contacts and assistance before we finally left their lovely town. During the next six weeks the good folks of Girvan adopted us. Sandy became the major force in finding and fitting a replacement for our gearbox. Various members of Girvan’s thriving sailing club took us for day sails out towards Ailsa Craig and up and down the coast. Robert, who owns and works the tiny fishing boat ‘Harvester’, brought us fresh crabs, teaching us how to cook and dress them. We made friends with him and his lovely wife Suzanne.
Alice, Sandy’s wife was due to retire shortly from her post as Principle Teacher at Girvan Academy. She was seriously involved with the yearly presentation by the Girvan Academy Amateur Dramatics Society (GAADS). This year the production was ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and we were lucky to get tickets for a performance. As the evening of the show approached, we dug out our, half-decent shore clothes.
After dusting off the mildew we tarted ourselves up and walked up The Avenue to the Academy. The show was wonderful, with all the memorable songs movingly performed by students and staff. During the interval we came to know just how well her colleagues think of Alice. None spoken to wanted her to leave.
On another day we enjoyed an afternoon at the Lowland Gathering. In the summer sunshine we sat on the grass to watch the girls, and just a few boys, colourfully dressed in waistcoats and kilts swirling and leaping to the skirl of the pipes in the Traditional Scottish Dancing competition. After a while we strolled along to admire the brawn and agility of the competitors in the field sports, including, to our delight, tossing the caber. Sweating, bulging biceps and thighs were ogled by the ladies and envied by the men. But, most of all, we were thrilled and enthralled by the sounds and colours of the seventeen different pipe bands marching proudly back and forth across the central arena. They had travelled from far and wide to take their places in the Pipe Band competition. Ah, the skirl of the pipes and beat of the drums; the swaying, multi-coloured kilts and formal jackets; the majesty and precision of the Pipe Majors; what a spectacle!
All around were crowded the stalls of the local charities; Scouts and Guides, the Ladies Guild and the Lifeboats. Happy people jostled one another to try their hand at the Hoop-La or Coconut Shy. We tried our luck on the many and varied tombolas and won not a thing – still, it’s all for a good cause isn’t it! When we were hungry we ate rolls filled with fried squares of sausagemeat, dripping with onions mustard and ketchup. The afternoon wore on and prizes were presented by the Chieftain of the Clan (a surprisingly young-looking fellow). People began to make their way home and Rene and I strolled through the streets of neat, wee houses back to our own home, Sunseeker.
Towards the end of July Sunseeker had her new, second-hand gearbox and her crew’s thoughts turned towards the continuation of their cruise. Rene visited the local Prize Bingo arcade to cash in her win tokens for prizes. Throughout our stay she had watched for the holiday coaches parking near the harbour. If coaches were there then, as likely as not, Prize Bingo would be in full swing. She passed many a happy hour listening for her numbers.
Two months, to the day, after we first entered the harbour at Girvan we made our preparations to leave. Having paid our bills and said our farewells we steered Sunseeker between the harbour walls, once more heading for the open sea. Over a calm sea into an almost non-existent, light southerly breeze she chugged across the bay on course for Corsewall Point bound for Portpatrick and all points south. Over VHF we spoke with Sandy of Balandra to say our final farewell, thanking him and everyone in Girvan for a happy stay.
End of Sunseeker Chapter 5