In 1990, Tom was camped out in a hut (which stands in the ruins of the cottage above) on the tiny uninhabited bird island of Burhou, filming puffins and storm petrels (who only come ashore at night) for a wildlife documentary. Working at the whistle, he passed the days trying to play Columcille by Iona, which he was planning to use on the sound track of the film. However, on returning to Alderney, he realised he'd radically misremembered the tune, but thought the new version ideal for a yearning love song... see below for melody and chords (transcribed in Am, as recorded by Slide on "The Sippery Slope" - although the Toms play it in Bm)

BLISS, vocal, whistle, guitar NAPPER Octave mandolin


Now the waves whisper under the boats in the harbour

And the gulls all come wheeling and wailing like souls

There's a full moon a-rising, the tide makes its answer

And the sea is so clean and so cold

You were wild as the south-western wind when you came here

I caught you and tamed you and taught you my tunes

Now the bright lights are calling you back from my island

I'll be taking my boat to Burhou.


When you said you where leaving I knew they were over

Those days out at anchor, those nights in the dunes

By the firelight you promised you'd stay here for ever

And I offered my soul to the moon

Well I wanted for nothing when only you held me

But the beam of the lighthouse and the gleam of your smile

But I won't be there waving your plane from the runway

I'll be taking my boat to Burhou.


I will lay out my lines when the sea runs like wheatfields

I'll harvest the pools when the tide lets me graze

With conies for comfort, gulls eggs for the taking

I will hermit the best of my days

But at night I will lie when the storm winds come howling

Prowling the night like the demons I knew

When the storm in our hearts was as wild as The Brimtides

And we first took my boat to Burhou