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- Robert Burns







"We twa hae run aboot the braes and pu'd the gowans fine"


These are a few pictures of my very good  and lifelong friend Jimmy Linton.


Jems and I were born in Earlsferry in 1926. The big difference between us is that at any early age Jems instinctively knew that in Earlsferry and Elie he had it all and was smart enough never to leave.


Jems when about seven


Jems at 16 in World War II wearing

the uniform of the Home Guard


Jems on the right with

another movie star


Jems in front. Brother Sandy behind

him. Sisters Bunty and Hilda at the back



Jems the movie star


Jems 2006 Enjoying his retirement

No, Sean Connery didn't come to visit but he could be mistaken for Jems .


If ever two boys were more alike they couldn’t have been closer than Jems, (Jimmy Linton), who was born  with the name of James and me.  At about the same time another boy was born in Earlsferry who was also given the name of James, James Lowson. With two James' this gave me quite a problem which I solved by bestowing on Jimmy Linton the name of Jems. Somehow the one word name, Jems, just seemed to fit him and he became Jems to all, which he still is to his close friends. There was no confusion as to my name of Sydney but about the same time someone decided to bestow on me the name of Scuds and so I became known during my Earlsferry years. As a boy it seemed like anywhere I went I always ran and I was nicknamed Scuds because of me always being on the run or scudding about.


Growing up with Jems was just great as it seemed like we were always of a like mind when we decided to do what we did or go where we went. We became a regular pair of sea gypsies. I never gave it a thought then but I wonder about it today that my parents never asked me where I went which in the summertime could be from dawn till almost dark or what dangerous ploys I had gotten into. I know they cared for me but the only thing with them was, if you want to eat be home at meal times and if you don’t just be home before dark. It was understood that we would be responsible for ourselves and not do anything foolish. They knew that we ventured out to sea in our frail boat, that we fished from the rocks and raked in the tangle covered ledges at low tide,  that we climbed the cliffs to see where gulls and other sea birds built their nests on high precipitous ledges, that we climbed to the tops of tall trees to see into crows nests, that on foot we wandered miles away to play in the woods, that on our bikes we roamed far and wide and that when the occasion arose we taunted our "friend and guardian" Jimmy Wilson who was the village Bobby. I don't recall that my parents ever told me "No" or that they ever said, "Don't do that."


As the years have gone on I have continued to greatly admire Jems. While I ventured away from Earlsferry which caused me to lead an entirely different life than I otherwise would have done Jems realized that he had it all and carved out for himself a lifestyle that has enabled him to be independent and to go on living the good life without ever leaving home.

Today Jems still has his twinkle in his eyes as he hoists the sails of his 24 foot sailing yacht, the Rum Rig, to feel the lift of the swells and the kick of the helm as he and his first mate Albert sail off into the wide blue yonder. However in this day and age Jems and Albert wear the latest technology life jackets. In our younger years when Jems and I went out to sea we didn't know what a life jacket was far less own one.


Skipper Jems at the helm ~ Earlsferry August 2007


Jems' 24 foot Trident "The Rum Rig" 


"A wet sheet and a flowing sea,

A wind that follows fast

And fills the white and rustling sail

And bends the gallant mast."


And bends the gallant mast me boys,

While like the seagull free,

Away Jems Rum Rig flies,

And leaves the Ferry on the lee.


Ferry tales can come true----as we remember the days of our youth.


Vintage '26.  Skipper Jems with me as his helmsman

Years have wrinkled our skins but lack of enthusiasm has never wrinkled our souls.


A sad day. Thursday the 9th.of November 2017. 

Jems left us behind as he sailed away on his last boat trip.

Bon voyage Jems.  I'll be seeing you-----