Hearsay 12 Sam needs a hand

A pilgrimage can be a journey taken for nostalgic or sentimental reasons. This settles well with Compton's present state. Sentiment must surely have featured in the minds of Harry Wood and Sam Baume as she arrived in Kingsbridge.

Kingsbridge is a few miles south-west of Dartmouth. By sea, west at the mouth of the Dart then south along Start Bay, round Start Point in a south-westerly direction to Prawle Point then west again for a while until the Kingsbridge Estuary takes you north past Salcombe. Finally you arrive at Kingsbridge after a journey of a little over 20 miles. When the town had been a thriving inland port coasters were moored at the town's quays.

The harbourmaster though was not a sentimental man. He was not impressed at all by what he saw.

"None of my business. That's not what I'm paid for. As long as it's doing no harm, keep my opinions to myself. The local authority ain't paying me for opinions, they want harbour to tick over."

"Quite right too, and I’m of a mind it's nice to see her. Mr Harbour Master you're an old grouch. I wouldn't mind taking her out for a steam. She'd be fun."

"That's not what she's here for Len. She'll just be stuck at the quayside and eventually rot."

Len Gidley did not agree. "Harry Wood says he's going to keep the engine ticking over and if Harry says so I think he will."


Len Gidley and Sam Baume had met by chance just outside the Hotel Kildare. It was August 1965.

"Going for a drink Sam?"

"Er, not exactly, but I am goin’ in to check on somethin’."

"What’s that then?"

Sam looked sheepish but didn't respond. Len sensed he'd been too inquisitive and changed the subject.

“Looks to be going well with Compton?"

"Aye, things are going very well. She’s surely pulling in the holiday makers. We did 46 cream teas yesterday. Oh yes I've ‘ad a letter."

"What sort of letter?"

"Could you pilot Compton for us if we need it ? To run up and down the estuary."

" Why, er, yes,I don’t see why not. The letter?"

" It's from those people who make fish fingers. They want to use Compton on an advert for the television. We could run the boat up and down. Now where’s the letter?”

He rummaged in his pockets with his good hand. Len noticed his other arm.

" Where’s your hand Sam, you don't usually wear the hook?"

“Oh aye,” and Sam gave a sheepish grin.

"We ‘ad a bit of a celebration last night at the Kildare, for all those cream teas so to speak. I think I must ‘ave left my false ‘and on the bar."