Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Boats and bumf
As the boat – usually the evening boat – prepared to sail, the people left waving farewell would produce toilet rolls, which in these days were of the strong, slippery variety well-suited to their intended purpose, and throw them at the departing ferry. The skilled among them would hold them in such a way that they retained one end while the friend on board would catch the unravelling roll and chuck it back, holding in turn their end of this streamer of bumf. And so it was that the ferry sailed, with the symbolic breaking of the bonds of bumf as the gap between ship and pier increased.
It may be that I have a slightly misleading detail in there, for it was always said that the bumf-chuckers half-inched the toilet rolls from boarding house loos, so perhaps they came from boarding houses rather than cottages such as the one we lived in for our hols. We tended to look down our noses at such vulgar display – though I recall a surge of delight when a heartily lobbed roll vanished down a funnel.
This exuberant ritual no longer accompanies the departure of the ferries, as far as I know - but then maybe Dunoon didn't have quite the same sense of the remote that an island can bring. Whatever the reason, I was not hurling streamers of Andrex after the departing 5.50 boat this evening. I hope no-one was disappointed.