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Chapter 7

At Sea II

The ship with the captain and his passengers had passed the Isle of Man a few hours ago. A beautiful view - if only there would not have been the steady nagging of His Lordship. By now he had calmed down a little however, for the last night told on him. He cursed his stubbornness which had brought him a most uncomfortable night on deck. At least his butler had mended the tobacco pipe and Lord McShredder now enjoyed the view. In the distance land came in sight.

“Hey, is that land over there? Are we there after all?” he shouted and got up from his wheelchair to get a better view.
“Not yet”, the captain replied. “Tha’s Islay, the most southern island o’ the Inner ‘ebrides. It’s followed by Jura. Well, well, me lads, I’d like ter live there.”
“Why?” lord and butler asked uni sono.

The captain took the pipe out of this mouth. “Yer know, lads, it’s a swell place fer an ol’ skipper like me. Far away from all tourists! D’yer know that them two islands are within 5 ship minutes from each other and they’re completely different? Jura’s wild and untamed. ‘bout 200 people livin’ there, tha’s all. One road, nothin’ else, but a snow white beach. - D’yer know that George Orwell ‘as written ‘is masterpiece there - the “1984” novel?”

Lord and butler shook their heads and so the captain continued. “Islay on the other ‘and’s lovely. It’s been the most important Scottish island once. The McDonald chiefs ‘ad been sitting there, ruling the ‘ebrides an’ all the Western ‘ighlands. D’yer know that?” Again lord and butler shook their heads and so the captain continued. “Well, well, and then we’ll come ter Mull, tha’s the biggest o’ the Inner ‘ebrides, close ter the western coast o’ Scotland. We’ll pass Staffa, tha’s quite a sight! All basalt pillars and the mighty Fingal’s Cave - counts ter the geological wonders o’ the world, yer know. By the by, ‘nother masterpiece was borne there, the composer Mendelssohn-Bartholdy ‘ad the idea for his ‘ebrides-Overture. Yer know that, don’ yer?”

Lord and butler again shook their heads and Lord McShredder croaked in a low voice:
“You can’t think on an empty stomach and if you can’t think, you can’t know anything.”
“Sir, we’ve got baked beans, I will dress them tastily”, the butler proposed and hastened to the cabin.
“What?” milord mumbled. “There is a naked team and he will dress them hastily? What’s the matter here? I didn’t notice any other passengers, not to talk about a team!”

Well, team or no team, soon they all were sitting in the cabin eating the beans with great delight. Sea air makes hungry, but Frido McClown looked troubled. While he had been preparing the beans he had thought of his cute little friends. He remembered the day when the hamsters had eaten beans for the first time and how afterwards the air in the castle had been quite unbearable. While he indulged in such memories, he suddenly missed the cloth with which he had cleaned the dirty stove. The cloth had not turned up again and the butler feared the worst. Suddenly His Lordship coughed and looked at him:

“Delicious, McClown, really delicious. The hamburger was a good idea, but I think it’s a bit hot spiced!”

The captain could not refrain from grinning and when they were finished he said:
“Now we’ve right passed Mull, see thee?”

Lord and butler shook their heads and so the captain continued: “That little spot aft ‘ad been Staffa, so we’re there soon. If ye wanna get ashore, we’ll land at Ardnamurchan peninsula. Tha’s ‘bout the level o’ Killichonan, not far away from yer castle.”
“Then we have to walk?” McClown asked and was quite terrified when he thought of pushing along the nagging lord and somehow transporting the suitcases as well.
“Well, tha’s the best I can do fer yer. There’s too many ferries and I’ve no idea ‘bout their schedules. So we’ll anchor at the northern ‘eadland. Ye’ll like it, ‘owever. The landscapes are smashing all over. There the ‘Singing Sand’ o’ Gortenfern, ancient ruins like Castle Tioram and…” The captain paused and then continued. “There are volcanoes.”

Lord and butler looked at the captain open-mouthed. “Ay, gents, volcanoes. Ben Hiant fer instance. Mac Lean’s Nose, the cliff at Kilchoan… Well, it’s the core of an old volcano, the peak’s eroded o’er the time. But there’s minerals and gems in abundance. Gems, me lads! Well, well, ‘ardly any cars there, but lots o’ ferries. O’er summer there’s even a car ferry between Kilchoan and Tobermory.”

They kept a respectful silence until McClown saw something bright ahead. “Captain”, he shouted excitedly, “that looks like the beach of Bettyhill!”

The captain took the pipe out of his mouth and laughed. “Jus’ almost, our Frido. This one’s way bigger and better. Pals, we’ve made it. Welcome ter Sanna Bay!”