If you have just arrived and have not read part one go here first, then come back for part two. It is not long, see you back here soon.
I walked around Dads workshop wiping my nose on my arm. Dad usually had a hanky in his pocket that I could use but he was nowhere in sight. The big doors were open so he could not be too far away. I wandered out of the workshop and down to the jetty. Looking across the little tiny bay toward the fishing boats. Sure enough there was my dads green truck on the wharf and I thought maybe I could see his tufty hair working on the deck of a trawler. It must be almost tea time, surely he would be coming back soon.
I sat down on the end of the jetty to wait. After about two and a half minutes I was tired of sitting, so I tried shouting. Dad, I called across the water. Gulls screamed back. Dad I called louder, someone waved from a passing pea class going under the bridge. DAAAAAD! Nothing. I looked at the bridge. Too far to ride all the way around this late. I was tired and running away never worked because Mum always came and found me. Idly I played with the rope that was tied to our dingy bobbing about at my feet. Pulling it close to the jetty then pushing it out. Close and out. Close, out and I was IN. With no thought at all I just slid into the dinghy, slipped the rope undone, pushed the oars into the rollocks and began to row. I looked both ways to make sure no big boats were coming by and I just rowed over to the trawler Dad was working on. It never even crossed my mind that this was BEYOND naughty. To this day I cannot believe that I did that.
I rowed straight across this deep lap of water and right up to the trawler, and banged on the hull with my tiny fist, DAAAAD! A rugged hairy fishermans head popped over the side. Celi what are you doing? I promptly burst into tears, sitting in my little row boat looking far up at that friendly face. Waaaaa! I melted Mums Silver Tea Pot she said I can never come home ever again. Ever. I blubbed. I’ll get your father he says.
So I was hauled up, the dinghy secured and after some wet dripping discussions it was agreed that I could fire spot for them until knock off time. Then Dad would take me home. Firespotting was in fact the most horrible job of all, so I suppose it was a punishment of some kind but I cannot remember feeling punished, I loved to work with Dad. I was shown where they were welding, then I was sent into the engine room and positioned underneath the site. An engine room is full of grease and diesel and flammable stuff and must not be allowed to catch on fire. Ok Dad. But it is cramped and the air is thick. I quite like the smell of an engine room but on this day it was terribly hot about 500 hundred times hotter than up on the deck. I manipulated myself into a wee corner and started to sweat and attract grime. Clutching my fire extinguisher, I pointed it at the offending area and waited. I tried so hard to be good. I could hear my Dad and the guy that worked with him talking, I will call him R. It was dark down in the engine room, stuffy, hot. It had been such an afternoon and I wriggled in my spot starting to feel drowsy. They started working and I started wondering why I could not do ballet or wear jandals, all the other girls did ballet. Everyone wore jandals. I am not even sure now whether they had told me they were welding or cutting but suddenly a wee gap opened in the metal above me and a small hard flame shot down into the engine room.
Without even pausing I aimed and squeezed the trigger of the fire extinguisher STRAIGHT UP THROUGH THE HOLE IN THE DECK. I did not put out a fire in the engine room (my instructions) I shot a stream of fire putter outer-er straight up through the deck and right up R’s trouser leg. And because (I discovered when I was old enough to know this particular detail) it was so hot, he was not wearing much of anything under his boiler-suit (cover-alls) , so the CO2 or whatever it was zoomed unimpeded in its journey right up to the um.. top of his leg.. uh.. well you know and froze his .. um thingies.
The swearing and cursing and thumping from up there cut me off me mid spray. Then everything went very quiet.Then a painful noise came from above. I crouched in the dark trying to hear what had happened, there was a scuffle, more cursing and then there was huge laughter. Huge open mouthed tough working mens laughter, as one man cursed and stomped and then was gone, the laughter continued in loud rude guffaws, slowly dying to choked snorts. My Dad eventually opened the engine room hatch and shouted Knock Off in a strained voice. I was escorted quite bewildered past the chortling fishermen, wiping laughing tears from their faces and put in the truck. My Dad wiped his eyes and blew his nose with his hanky. I looked past the trawler across the water and I could see R , rowing hard crossing the channel to the workshop, grim faced. The problem with rowing is that you are faced back where you have come from so I was able to see his face. It was not a good face.
After loading the truck, I was taken home. Mum and Dad had a talk and she came back into the kitchen her fingers across her smiling mouth. Her shoulders shaking. I was sent to bed without any dinner. A terrible and rare punishment. Because Mum had made meatloaf for dinner. I loved her meatloaf.
When I married my first husband my mother wrapped the wonky silver tea pot with its collapsed lid and little silver button petal feet rattling about inside and presented it to me with a flourish. R had trouble speaking to me for some time. No-one ever mentioned that I had rowed without permission across the channel.
cps I took these photos years ago and they are in a format I cannot resize today but they are from the place where this all happened, except the beach. The beach is from further up the coast.