Document 82

Geordie Jooks an the Sand Boat

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Robert Fairnie


Geordie shauchelt his bare feet throu the saft warm sand as he gaed his wey alang the front sands o Fisherraw an felt braw guid. Abuin his heid the sun bleazed oot a cloudless blue sky an, cled in juist his cuttie breeks an a seemit, he felt he wis juist pairt o the beach – pairt o the hail place. This wis the kinna wather he hid aye dreamed o for the schuil holidays.

The tide wis oot an the sands rin doon in a cannie brae tae the sea bed that wis itsel gey near flet aw the wey oot tae the mussel scap. Ayont the scap the sea wis like a flet sheet o licht blue gless wi the twa paps o Inchkeith sittin on its horizon afore the shimmerin hills o Fife. Oot on the scap, a wifie bent aside her creel fillin it wi the day’s pauchle o mussels an aw the time twa three sea-maws birlt in the lift abuin her heid.

As Geordie got back tae whare his freends wis playin, he cuid see they war hard wrocht diggin oot a muckle big hole juist abuin whare the sands jyned the sea bed. Bi the leuks o’t, it wis gaun tae be a gret big sooster.

“Sae ye fund a bit, Geordie!” cried Big Rab. “C’mon well! Gie’s a haund for the tide’ll be here in aboot an oor at the maist.”

“Ay.” said Geordie, leukin doon at the bit wuid he hid fund an thinkin it wad mak a better rifle nor a sheil.

Thare wis fower ither laddies forbye Geordie diggin oot the hole thon day. His wee brither Wattie wis thare wi Wee Jock, Jinky an Big Rab. They aw hid bits o wuid, like Geordie’s, that they yaised tae dig oot the sand an dab it intae a dyke roond the edge o the hole. The hole itsel wis shapit like a boat an pyntit oot tae the watter. The plan wis tae mak the dyke as thick an strang as they cuid tae keep the watter oot efter the tide came in, for they war aw ettlin tae bide in the hole an let on it wis thair boat. The bits o wuid wad then be yaised for oars, or guns in case thair boat wis set on bi oniebodie or ocht.

“No bad at aw!” decidit Geordie when thay hid it feenisht, leukin roond an giein the hail boat a guid gauin ower.

“Ay, this’ll dae fine.” said Jinky, “But listen, dae ye no think we shuid pit some yackers an big stanes roond the ootside o the dyke? It micht help tae keep the sand fae bein washt awa sae quick.”

Big Rab taen a gliff oot tae the watter an said, “That’s a guid idea Jinky. A doot we’v juist aboot got time tae dae that an nae mair.”

The sea wis nae mair nor six or seeven fit awa fae the boat whan the laddies lowpit oot aw roads an stertit pilin stanes an yackers roond the fit o the dyke. Whan the first wee wavie lickit the front o the boat, that wis lowsin time for thaim an they aw lowpit back intae the hole agane tae watch the tide winnin forrit up the brae o the sands. They aw got haud o thair bits o wuid an taen up thair places at the front an baith sides o the hole. Big Rab wis at the front, him aye bein the gaffer like, an the ithers wis ahint him, twa tae ae side an twa tae the tither.

Efter a while, twa sea maws flew ower the new sand boat on the beach an birlt roond, thair yellae een leukin doon aw the time tae see whit wis adae.

“Enemy planes!” yelled Big Rab, “Man yer battle stations men! Shoot em doon!”

Five wuiden rifles pyntit up tae the lift an the “Bam! Bam! Bam!” o the laddies’ shootin cuid be heard richt alang the beach as faur as the herbour. O a suddentie, Wee Jock’s rifle chynged intae a Lewis gun an the “Bam! Bam! Bam!” wis jyned wi a “Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat!”

This wis suin tae be mair nor thae sea maws cuid thole an they broke aff the attack tae flee hame tae thair base alang near the herbour.

Big Rab gied the order, “Cease fire men! Oo’re ower guid for the likes o thaim.”

“An dinnae come back here agane or ye ken whit ye’ll git!” yelled Jinky, shakin his steekit nieve efter thaim.

The laddies’ speerits wis up efter thair quick success agin the maraudin maws an thare wis a lot o lowpin up an doon, wavin wuiden rifles abuin thair heids an shoutin “Hurrey!” Thae high jinks wis suin brocht tae a feenish tho whan Geordie’s brither Wattie cried oot, “Hey skipper! Is thon no anither airie up aheid?” Aw the ither fower heids turned oot tae sea.

“Whare aboots?” speired Big Rab.

“A wee bit tae the richt o Inchkeith an low doon ower the watter.” Wattie answert.

“Ay! Ye’r richt Wattie.” cried Geordie as his een laid sicht on the wee bleck speck oot ower the watter an juist abuin the horizon, “But it’s ower faur awa tae tell if it’s a Spit or a Blenheim.”

“It cuid be a Beaufighter.” said Jinky, “It’s ower big for a Spit; mair liker a twa ingined airie.”

“Naw!” interruptit Big Rab, “Thon’s a Jerry turpedo bomber an it’s fleein strecht for us. It’s gaun tae try an sink oor boat sae, get back tae yer battle stations men an staun by tae open fire. But no yet tho.”

“Whit for no?” speirt Wee Jock.

“It’s ower faur awa. Wait till ye cuin see the whites o thair een.”

Bi noo, the tide hid come in a guid bit syne the first skirmish wi the maws an the hole wis surroondit on three sides wi watter. Anither twa fit an it wad be richt roond the back an aw.

The dyke wis haudin up weel agin the advancin sea tho, but the fit o the hole wis noo stertin tae feel a wee bit wet an soggie aneath the laddies’ feet. They peyed nae mind tae this at aw tho for they war faur ower taen wi the thocht o anither battle an they cooried in agin the sand dyke tae mak a guid poseetion for gittin a shot in at the attackin plane. This yin wis gaun tae git the same paikin as the last twa.

Geordie hid a lean agin the dyke tae the richt o Big Rab, his left elbae diggin intae the saft sand so’s he cuid steedie his rifle. He jaloused that the airie wis noo aboot twa mile aff an no muckle mair nor three or fower hunner fit abuin the sea. He cuidna hear its ingines yet for the only soond tae reach his lugs wis the soond o the wee glisterin wavies chasin yin-anither roond the ootsides o the dyke. An aw the time, the bleazin sun in the lift ahint thaim wis sendin doon its ain waves o heat tae keep thair backs an bare legs warm.

“Ready men!” came the command fae Big Rab, “Open fire! Gie it laldie!”

Fower wuiden rifles pyntin ower the tap o the wa spat oot thair “Bam! Bam! Bam!” alang wi the “Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat!” o the Lewis gun. Thay war really giein it laldie richt eneuch. Thon turpedo bomber widnae git near eneuch tae sink thair boat. Thay’d shoot it doon first.

Geordie’s rifle “Bammed” as lood as onie o the ithers. His left ee wis shut ticht while his richt yin squintit alang the barrel tae keep it pyntit richt at the plane.

“Bam! Bam!” it spat.

Twa wee puffs o white reek kythed in the lift fae nae whare juist tae the left o the plane an aboot twa saiconds efter, he heard the “Pop! Pop!”

“Bam! Bam!” he fired agane.

Noo fower wee puffs o white reek lowpit oot the solid blue lift aw roond the plane wi a “Pop! Pop! Pop Pop!” The soond wis a wee bittie looder noo; mair liker the soond o squeebs gaun aff in the distance.

Bi noo, the drone fae the plane’s ingines wis like the soond o a giant bumbee that droont oot the ither simmer soonds an aw the time mair an mair wee white puffs o reek kythed roond the plane wi a “Crack!” efter thaim noo insteid o a "Pop!”

The shootin fae the boat lowsed aff bar for twa bursts o “Rat-tat-tat!” fae the Lewis gun an, yin bi yin the laddies stuid up tae git a better leuk, for the plane wad suin be ower thair heids. Geordie stuid wi his een an mooth gawpin as he got a gliff o the twa muckle black crosses ootlined wi white aneath the wings o the plane.

“It’s a real Jerry! A Heinkel!” he gulpit wi his hert in his mooth. He cuid see the sun glentin aff the front windae whare the nose gunner sat an his ain rifle drappit tae the fit o the hole as the thocht came ower him that he didnae want tae gie a man wi a real gun cause tae git his ain back on him.

“Aw you bairns! Git awa hame tae yer hooses this meenit!”

Geordie lookit roond tae see a man staunin on the prom haudin his bike wi the ae haund an shakin his nieve at thaim wi the tither.

“C’mon!” he yelled agane, “Git oot o thare afore the shrapnel sterts drappin doon aboot yer lugs!”

Geordie an his pals didnae need anither tellin an the sand wis fleein aw weys as thay raced up the beach an ower the road. The’r nae kennin whit sprint records wis broken thon day. The street Geordie an Wattie bid in ran strecht up fae the beach an they peltit up the middle o it, thair bare feet slappin doon hard on the warm tar road an, afore they hid gotten haufweys up, the Heinkel passed ower thair heids an banked awa tae the east.

Throu the close, up the ootside stair an in throu the lobbie the pair sprintit athoot brekkin stride. Thair mither wis thrang, as she aye wis on a wash day, an didnae hae time tae listen tae thair haiverins aboot a German airieplane doon the beach. She hid a hail washin tae tak doon tae the dryin green an hing oot on the claes line.

“But Ma!” cried Geordie, “Ye can still see some o the reek in the sky!”

“Reek? A cannae see nae reek. Juist you pair git ben the hoose an dinnae gie me onie mair o yer nonsense! A’v got aw thae claes tae hing oot!”

“But Ma!” they baith cried thegither.

Ma opened her mooth tae gie thaim anither flytin but the words froze in her thrapple for it wis juist aboot then the syreens blew.

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APA Style:

Geordie Jooks an the Sand Boat. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 June 2024, from

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 82

Geordie Jooks an the Sand Boat


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Audience size 3-5

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2001
Word count 1884

Text setting


Text type

Prose: nonfiction


Author details

Author id 95
Forenames Robert
Surname Fairnie
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Consultant Marine Structural Engineer (Retired)
Place of birth Musselburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Musselburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Fisherman
Father's place of birth Musselburgh
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Fishwife
Mother's place of birth Musselburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
German Yes Yes Yes Yes In Germany to communicate with two grandsons
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Wherever Scots is understood