Bill Mills' room

Bill Mills

Mistaken identity

by  Bill Mills

We were having a long weekend in September and had arrived in East Loch Tarbert , Loch Fyne.  After a meal on board the yacht we walked over to the nearest hotel for a drink.

          While Andrew, the skipper, ordered the drinks I asked directions to the loo.  “Straight over there.” the barman said.  I followed his pointing finger and pushed open a door.  It was certainly a better appointed Gents than normal.  Small but tastefully decorated.  There was only one place to go but there was a tallish guy standing in front of a basin and mirror half blocking access to where I wanted to go.  He brushed the lapels of his very smart sports coat with the tips of his fingers and then ran his hands down the seat of his well fitting trousers.  His hair was very neatly cut and the eyebrows had been worked on.

          Rather sharply I said “ Excuse me.” and as I squeezed past I noticed that he was starting to apply some lipstick.  I didn’t bother closing the door when I relieved myself but kept a watchful eye behind me.  As I left I thought he gave me an odd kind of look.

          I joined Andrew at a table in the lounge and told him about the fellow in the Gents.  Just then the smart dresser came into the lounge.  “ That’s him now” I said to Andrew, taking a drink from my glass. “Is that a fact? “ he replied-“You better take another look.”

From the front there was no doubt at all that I was looking at a very curvy lady.  Our eyes met and quickly turned away again, my face feeling as red as hers looked.

          When we were leaving I checked the door to the loo.  Quite clearly it said LADIES.

The following morning was fine with only a few bits of small cumulus breaking up the blue sky and not a ripple on the harbour water.

          Two yachts with their spinnakers up were just making-way out into Loch Fyne.  Another didn’t even try and motored past us with her crew wearing the minimum of clothing, ready for another day of sun worshipping.

          We decided to motor out and see how much wind the open loch was offering.  With the skipper at the helm, I hoisted the main and then – bare-footed, bare-legged and bare-chested, went forward to get the genoa hanked on and ready. 

          The forecast had been for south-westerlies force 3 possibly 4 later in the afternoon.  We thought that we would head for Arran probably Lamlash, motoring all the way if there was lack of wind.

          As we left Tarbert and turned south I stared- - I couldn’t believe it.  The three yachts that had left ahead of us were heeled over so far that the angle of dangle must have been very uncomfortable.  Bug-eyed, I saw, instead of a pacific -Firth of Clyde- snow-capped Himalayan mountains on the horizon.

          I informed the skipper of my observations : “ Christ Andrew- look at that bloody lot!,”

          In a surprisingly short time the following things happened: our destination had changed northwards to Loch Gair, the main sail had been reefed, the stupid genoa had been chucked down the forehatch and the wee jib set.  The temperature had dropped dramatically, precipitation was within sight and chasing us.  Shorts disappeared.  In their place – submariners stockings, wellies, fleecies, oillies – and the skipper telling me that either he must have eaten something the night before, or the Newcastle Brown had been off.  Nothing to do with the quantity.

          By the time we had passed Ardrishaig conditions were quite lively and made a big lie of the forecast.  There was some improvement after rounding Otter Spit but it was marginal and then conditions steadily deteriorated.

         Bill Mills