Steamboat Springs Dear Bertha,
Here is Cousin Eileen's account of Saxone Shoe Co.'s annual outing or company sponsored "holiday" as they term it.
Eileen tells me that when she has completed her year of teaching in Scotland, she will be writing up this entire adventure as her University Matriculation paper or thesis.
The object of her study is to analyze a comparison of schooling and related social and athletic activities between the U.K. and the U.S.A. She is delighted with the activities that Bob Milligan has made it possible for herself and her "mum" to enjoy (as Bob refers to Eileen's mother, my aunt Jennie).
These activities have given Eileen an opportunity to have a glimpse of British life, that she otherwise would never have seen. I'm sure Eileen's thesis will make interesting reading. Well, Bertha, without further ado, here's Eileen: Mother and I so greatly appreciated the invitation to join Bob and Jean Milligan on their annual company holiday sponsored by the Saxone Shoe Co., where Bob is employed in Kilmarnock. We started early. Bob had told us that one of their grown sons would pick us up at 5 a.m. in his auto to take us to the Kilmarnock train station.
As we reached the Kilmarnock train station, the Saxone Shoe Co. people were already boarding the train. Within minutes all were aboard, and we were on our way to Glasgow.
Arriving at Port Glasgow on the "Firth of Clyde" (the estuary of the River Clyde) we "de-trained" and were informed that the excursion boat which had been chartered for our day's use, would not arrive to pick us up for at least an hour.
We were not disappointed at having that time to spend on the wharfs and beach of Port Glasgow, for there was more interesting things to see and do than we could squeeze into an hour.
Glasgow has one of the largest ship-building yards and is one of the busiest seaports in Britain. We were thrilled by getting to see a huge new steamship making its maiden voyage and were told that as it passed out to the open sea it would be given its maximum steam power for the purpose of clocking its time at running the "measured mile" and thus establishing the ship's rating as to the performances that could be expected from the vessel as to the performance that could be expected from the vessel in actual service. I asked Bob if the speed was measured in statute miles per hour or nautical miles per hour, and what the difference would be between the measurements.
Bob said the nautical mile was a unit of linear measure used for navigation at sea or in the air, and that it wasn't calculated the same in various countries, but that the U.S. and Britain were attempting to have the figure they use made an international standard.
The figure used by the U.S. and the U.K. to establish the nautical mile is one minute of arc of a great circle of the Earth. This makes the nautical mile 6,06.1159 feet. But, for general purposes, the speed of a ship is quite commonly reckoned in "miles per hour" or "kilometer per hour."
The Firth of Clyde all the way up-stream to Glasgow is of sufficient depth to accommodate the largest sea-going vessels, affording fine harbors. Seaward from port Glasgow is a large lagoon which is utilized by a large number of small fishing boats, dozens of which laid moored or docked at the many wharfs.
Several of the fishermen's children were playing on the wharfs. We attempted to engage these children in conversation but found them extremely shy and reluctant to talk. Farther on, the lagoon gave way to a sandy beach littered with driftwood and other debris washed ashore at high-tide. I picked up a broken bone fragment, polished by the action of untold shifting of the waters. The bone was to dense (for its size) to have been from a horse or cow. Perhaps a whale? But what could have broken such a heavy fragment of bone? A mystery which I can never know an answer to in my lifetime.
A frog horn sounded; our signal to reassemble and board our excursion boat, which had just returned from another vacation outing. The Alice May was indeed a luxurious tour liner, and the spring weather was certainly conducive to a pleasurable outing. We glided up a long neck of beautiful smooth water called Lock Long that extends far into the Grampian Mountains.
The landscape offered scenes of pastoral serenity. The hillsides were aglow with heather in full bloom. From the start of the trip, a couple (old friends of Bob and Jean) had joined our party and then a pair of young Irish lasses who were working their way (employed by the Saxone Co.) through nurse's school. These girls seemed very lonesome until they were invited to join our little group. From that point on, for the remainder of our holiday, the eight of us were like one jolly family.
As noon approached, our ship pulled into port at the town of Dunoon, and we were told that for two hours we would be on our own. We could remain aboard the ship if we wished to do so or wonder about the town, and visit the "pubs" and cafes for which the town is noted. Dunoon is very much a tourist town and prices there are high, so after a walking tour of the town, we returned to the ship to enjoy fish and chips along with a few bottles of "Hollywood Ale" and "Gainess Stout" at a very reasonable price. After lunch our ship continued our cruise up Lock Long until mid-afternoon when we turned around and headed back for Port Glasgow. "High Tea" was served aboard ship; we finished up our holiday at Kilmarnock, just at dusk.
Don't you wish we could have been along?