MEMORIES OF THE YEALM
Thomas Hoskyns Leonard
Brod always told me I remembered things wrong, But he's just a big bully. I'm sure
that we sailed into the Yealm after those naval officers tacked us all around Eddystone and into
Fowey in a force nine gale. But Brod denies it, even as we approach our dotages. And I certainly
NEVER saw rabbits bouncing around my cot when I was a toddler, Gaslighting, that's what it is!
And he was the one who saw ghosts coming out of the wall of that slum on the Beverley Road.
That was after he'd cracked his skull falling off the garden wall, that was.
And I do remember catching that giant sturgeon by the Mewstone, shortly after Jack
had kicked me in the gut while I was playing rugby at Marsh Mills, Yes I do! And I wonder who
else besides the sassy gym teacher had anything to do with that piece of life-altering destruction?
Yes, it was Autumn 1960, shortly after Argyle had drawn three-three with Middlesborough
at Home Park, that Mummy, Daddy, Brod and I set off across the Pool from the boathouse at
Newton Ferrers, The Yvonne was an ancient fourteen foot wooden skiff, with a Seagull outboard
motor attached, I was always so embarrassed when I compared it with the sea yacht owned by
Captain Fosslethwaite Festerton, and with all the luxurious houseboats moored on the estaury and
draped with all those sweaty bodies of the rich and wealthy.
While we were crossing the sand bar, Brod insisted on getting out his rod and trying to catch
a mackerel with his fly tackle. He caught a gull in full flight instead.
"It's all your fault, Tommy," he yelled, giving me a poke,
"Behave yourself," howled Daddy, clouting Brod around the ear,
"Do calm down, dear," said Mummy. "That's bad for your blood pressure,"
"He thinks that I look like Cliff the Biff," groaned Brod, bursting into tears.
We finally got as far as the Jurassic Cliffs by Silver Cove, which overlook the Mewstone
and Wembury from the coast. Mummy threw a line overboard and caught a large wrasse
which had been trawling the seaweed on the bottom.
"That's wonderful, darling," exclaimed Daddy, landing a pollack. "You'll win the fishing
competition with that,"
"Unless Ginger Ives catches another of his damned conger eels," said Mummy.
"There he is!" sniggered Brod, "He has a couple of basking sharks in tow,"
And then there was a mighty tug on my line, Daddy shook in his wellies when a giant
sturgeon reared its head above the waves, However, Mummy seized the grappling hook,
caught the bastard in its gills, and helped me to haul it in, I stuck out my hand only to
get it pierced by those fucking vampire teeth. Now here's another life-time scar to freshen
your memory, Brod!
Two fellows in a cabin cruiser helped us to take the sturgeon into Old Cellars Beach,
While the crowds were still applauding, the most beautiful mermaid I have ever seen popped
her head from out of the waves, and said, "Well done, Tommy!".
owned by Daddy's customer 'Humph', a very rich dentist