Clifford Adams in his Boathouse

I found the building near to the library and the two black doors partially open. I looked inside. At the far end I saw someone leaning over a partly completed boat.

"Mr Adams, I'm looking for Mr Clifford Adams."

"That's me," he replied edgily.

I then went through my preamble and when he found I wanted to talk about Ernie Clayton he first of all corrected me, relaxed, then talked at length.

"No not Ernie. Arthur. Arthur has been dead some time now. His wife only died in the January, and it's a strange thing, for not many years ago there was a little coaster lost on the east coast of England and two men lost their lives. This was two of Arthur's boys. He bought them a coaster and they were going round the coast. I believe their sister should have been with them. She did the cooking but because I think it was half-term she stayed behind because of the children. Had she gone that would have been three out of the four gone, but as it was two went.
There's another son at Polbathic near Torpoint. There's a garage there. Arthur bought the land.”

"I hear he was a wrestler."

"No, not that I know of. Mind you he was big, he was very strong, he could almost pick me up by the shoulder with one arm. He was very very broad Yorkshire and used to speak like a bloody machine gun. At the end of the day I could pick up more words cause by then he'd slowed down a bit. But he was a marvellous, marvellous character, wouldn't do anyone any harm. He'd do people good. He was a very very nice man."

"Why did Compton go wrong for him?"

"Now, what the devil did he buy it for? Arthur was always buying something. I dunno why he bought it. I do remember him measuring the arch of the bridge, cos she had to go under it to get to the boatyard. When he first bought her people said she won't go through the arch, but she just, only just, went through. They took her up on the new tide so if there was anything wrong they could pull her back against the very gentle tide coming in. He made her seaworthy. You cannot tow anything at sea unless it's been passed.

He was a clever man Arthur, engineer by trade. He was no fool, no fool at all was Arthur. He could see through and do things. You don't meet those sort of people often in life. So much go he had. He could work two or three days on the trot without sleep.

One day he was out in his little van coming back from Bodmin, just where the crematorium is. People travelling behind him said the vehicle slightly slewed and just went into the ditch and Arthur was dead. Heart attack."

He turned to the partly build boat behind him.

"This is for my daughter, she's a powerboat. Yes you know Arthur was an outstanding sort of character. 'Jobs a good un' he'd say, and when he talked about money a bar was a pound and half a bar was 10 shillings.”