Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Old Greenock Characters - A Man In A Boat

From John Donald's Old Greenock Characters (Second Volume)

Once upon a time, that is to say, some fifty odd years ago, a strange being dwelt in a  boat at Garvel Park. Although his features were not, in themselves, unpleasant, they were so unclean and so framed by amass of long unkempt hair as to give him the appearance of a "wild man of the woods". His weird appearance was such as might have inspired fear and trembling in the timorous, if, unaccompanied, they had met him in the gloaming. It was said that his name was Andew Barr, and that he had, at some remote period, been a baker in Port Glasgow, and afterwards a worker in Cairds shipyard, but little definite was know regarding him.

The boat in which he lived was a yacht of about five tonnes, named the 'Ocean Pearl' which had been built by a number of young tradesmen. She had been a good sailor and a prize winner at Port Glasgow Regatta; but for some reason or other, her owners, one set after another, desired to get rid of her, so that she frequently changed hands. Presumably, her latest owners had abandoned her; for it is impossible to conceive that Barr purchased the yacht. At the period of which we write, the vessel was propped up on even keel, behind what was known as 'The Divers Hut' at Garvel Park, and entrance to her was obtained by means of a ladder.

It could hardly have been a commodious residence, yet it seemed to suit the occupant, for he lived there for four or five years. How he lived is a mystery, as he did comparatively little in the way of fishing, and did not appear to follow any other regular occupaton. At the end of this period, heidsappeared, and the place thereof knew him no more.

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