Old Tom

The warm summer sun had drawn many people to the quaint Devon fishing village of Salcombe. Its narrow winding streets were full of visitors enjoying the beautiful early-evening atmosphere. The smell of the sea embraced all who walked along the quay. A gentle breeze travelled across the estuary enhancing the screams of gulls, which hovered above, hoping to spy the opportunity of grabbing a spot of supper, from an unguarded portion of fish and chips.

The sea was full of small motorboats and yachts, traversing in front of the harbour, the best position, for those sailors, wishing to pose, and show-off their maritime abilities.

It was busy too, in the old Ship Inn, with customers enjoying a tasty meal, washed down with a drink or two. Old Tom, had taken up his regular position in the corner of the bar; a space he usually frequently used most evenings. Tom was quite a local celebrity, telling old yarns of the sea. He had been a fisherman for many years, and although his yarns were interesting, there were always hints of extras of doubtful origin, but added some spice to the plot. Beside that Tom was old, and enjoyed the company of those who listened, especially if a pint of beer arrived, followed by a request for another story, from the city folk. Tom’s eyes, one blue, one green, opened wide, and his goatee beard twitched, at the chance of telling more.

The evening progressed, with each yarn getting more amazing with the addition of each pint of beer. It was of some surprise, when Tom suddenly stopped in mid-sentence and uttered, “Someone is in trouble at sea”. Those gathered around, looked at him puzzled. “What do you mean Tom?” asked one of the men. “Call the coastguard”, replied Tom, someone has fallen overboard, quickly do it,” The man drew his mobile phone  from his pocket, and dialled 999, and asked fro the Coastguard. Tom continued, “Tell them someone in the water off East Portlemouth”. The man duly obliged, and within a few short minutes a lifeboat was launched to check out the situation.

The time seemed short, when the man received a call back from the Coastguard, thanking him for his quick action, and confirming that a woman had been rescued from the sea, by the lifeboat. She had fallen of her windsurfing board, and could not climb back-on. The report continued that the windsurfer was shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

The assembled crowd looked at Tom, “How did you know” asked a lady somewhat mesmerized after what she had just witnessed. Tom looked in deep thought, “It is Telepathy”, he replied. “Is that instinct” asked another man. “No”, replied Tom. “But how could it work”, the man continued. Tom looked at him and smiled, “Are you sure you want to know, it is quite complex, but quite natural,” “Please do” continued the man. “OK” replied Tom. “Telepathy is like an electronic signal, sent out from the mind of one person which is received by another. The signal is carried by gravity waves. It’s all due to magnetic fields you see. That’s how animals can sense an approaching tsunami and flee to higher ground. They can sense the gravity waves from the approaching wall of water”. The crowd that surrounded Tom fell silent. The last thing they could have imagined was for Tom to come-out with such information. It was, indeed, a sobering thought. But, in the real sense of the word, Tom had probably saved the life of the windsurfer that in itself was impressive.

Last orders were shouted by a bemused landlord, and after a few moments of the reflection of the evening’s events, all made their way home, still trying to work out Tom’s amazing performance.

By Ray Steed,



Previous Post

Next Post