The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

by R L Tilley

We went down into the town, stood on the quay, and listened to the sheets slapping against the masts of yachts in the breeze, a loudly tinkling music. The pool glittered, choppy, on the high tide, as a trawler steamed into the mouth of the estuary. Spectral puffs of diesel steam drifted from the funnel, vanishing in the wind. We watched her until she tied up alongside the quay and the people who wanted to buy some of her catch clamoured with bags for the fresh fish and a young fisherman sold mackerel and herring fresh from the Atlantic waters as gulls wheeled overhead.

Walking from the quay along Myrtle Street, into Odun Road, down Bude Street, along Market Street we passed the butcher’s shop, the chandler’s, the junk shop, the studios, and walked out onto Meeting Street to what was once Gribble’s Point. From there we looked across the Pool to Instow. The tide was on the ebb, the water was still choppy, and a boatload of scrawny children pushed off from a slipway. A tall, skinny youth in a navy blue Guernsey operated the outboard motor and the tiller. He yelled at the company in the dinghy to be quiet and to sit still. Some of them were and some of them did. A black dog barked at the wind from the bows. The boat was low in the water and rocking against the current. When a little girl leaned over to trail a finger in the water the dinghy tipped to the starboard. I was sure it would capsize, but no, they tacked along the edge of the wind and we watched them across the estuary, zigzagging, their laughter and the barking of the dog borne back to us upon that same wind, until they beached at Instow in the golden October sunlight.

Along Irsha Street we passed the cottages and courtyards of yesteryear. A greybearded cobbler hammered at shoes watched by a white bull terrier with a fleck of black upon its tail. The front door was open and watery sunlight illumined the cobbler’s back. He sat on a stool which projected slightly out of the doorway of his workshop. The courtyard walls were a tangled mass of dried autumnal vines.

The sun was low in the sky, and before the light should go and the day end, gulls wheeled and mewed over the exposed sand and mud of the low tide estuary.