Big Sandy

Gomes live for a very, very, very long time (unless they get crushed or smashed into pieces that can’t be repaired…) and over the centuries they begin to adapt characteristics of the geographical area that they inhabit the most.  They overhear the local humans, too, and gradually adopt some of the habits and mannerisms of those locals.  A good example of this phenomenon is Alexander Clambucket Targomshie, a coastal sandstone gome who comes from the area near the Calanais (pronounced Callanish) Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.  Known as “Big Sandy” to his friends, he is indeed very large for a gome.  Almost two feet tall and two feet wide, with massive hands, he strikes a remarkable figure in the gome world.  When he is solid he has a pinkish-brown, smooth, sandy surface.  He is very comfortable in the water.  His eyes are close set, small, and limpet-like.  His mouth is large, moist, and gloomy. In his petrified state he looks like an unremarkable block of sandstone that has some barnacles, seaweed, and limpets sticking to the surface. Sandy uses this disguise to blend in with other boulders and rocks in fields so that he can spy on things going on around him. He does this in Twilight Cave to figure out what might be about to happen at the Calanais Standing stones. Unfortunately an itchy sheep uses him to scratch its fleece on which makes it harder for him to hear things clearly.

Coming from the Western Isles of Scotland Sandy has adopted some of the characteristics of this part of the world.  Sandy is a morose, gloomy, pessimistic, and fatalistic creature with a lilting, soft Highland accent.  He is weary at how wicked and violent the world is.  He pronounces his “j’s” like a “ch,” and his “v’s” like “ff’s” so that he might well say, “The world iss a terrible, wicked, depressing place, so it iss.  People is always r-r-rushing and hurrying efferywhere.  They neffer haff enough time to chust sit still and share some amusing stories, and maybe a choke or two.”

Sandy is one of Wullie’s oldest and closest friends.  They have had many adventures together, only a tiny amount of which we have been told about, so far.  Although Sandy seems to move and think at a very slow pace he is a deep thinker, and is afraid of nothing.  He has absorbed a lot of water inside himself and can quickly turn parts of his body to a sandy slushy mixture while keeping the rest of his body hard.  He can use this as a defense mechanism to confuse his enemies.  He put this to good use when he protected Finn from being attacked by Baldo-The-Bladderwort on the misty beach near the Invertoshan military facility.  When Baldo was attacking Sandy with his lobster-spike Sandy made the part of his body where the spike hit him become soft like slushy sand so that the spike just pushed through and out the other side.  But when the spike was removed Sandy hardened that part of his body up again and healed over where he was struck. Big Sandy is a reliable and dependable friend to Wullie, and is someone whom you would like to have on your side when things look bleak.

Here is a picture of him walking along the beach near his home, worrying about something:

In Twilight Cave we learn that Sandy lives in a cave that looks out over the sea from high up on a cliff on the west coast of the island of Lewis.  The cave is accessed from behind the fireplace in an abandoned cottage.  He calls his home Fairgduil, which is the Gaelic word for Seaview.  Since Sandy has lived there for many years and likes to light fires it is unclear how he keeps the cave secret from nosy humans.  How does he prevent smoke and flames from being seen by sailors on boats out at sea?  Sandy seems unfazed by fire: he can put his hands into the hot coals of the fire to get out the roasting potatoes.

Although he mostly moves slowly Sandy seems to have a method of transporting himself much faster than you would think (see post on Catharting).  He shows up behind the boatshed in Stornoway harbor, a location that is more than fifty miles from his home.  We also find out that he can turn several parts of his body to slush all at the same time and can then harden them in order to trap an enemy’s weapon (including their beak!) if he needs to.

In Chondrite Vault when Wullie gets captured Big Sandy has to help Finnley try to rescue him. To do that he needs to confront Pink Angus in the gome city of SubterMacdui and end up fighting the champion gome fighter, Iarunn Sgriosadair.

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