All entries for January 2008

January 25, 2008

The Beasts of Ancrum Moor

I will continue trying to catch up on my blog soon, when I get some more photos to accompany the calamatous summer fun . But as one set of fun things happen another takes its place so you can understand the difficulty. In there mean time get comfortable, get a cup of tea and check out this story:

This is a true story. As told by Professor McCrimmon, my great uncle for which he won a prize at One World Week's Tales by moonlight on the 22nd of January 07.

Now you may be surprised to see me sitting here in front of the fire trying to put the willies inta you as the shadows dance a jig aboot my craggy face. Ghost stories are for the young you might say. And d’you ken wha? You’d be right. Mine is a fairie story. None of your Disney nonsense. But fairie stories are in m’blood, stories of bloody hard fought battles wi’redcoats are too and all of the monsters that you see out of the corners of your eyes abide in the wrinkles around mine, behind these old glasses.

He was a lot like me when I was young; tall, handsome and he had sharp sight. But I’m getting ahead of m’self, I haven’t even told you his name yet.

Where I come from we have a saying; cometh the hour cometh the man, well this was the hour but he was no man. He belonged to the Bunnock tribe in Jedburgh which is near the east coast of Scotland and he was a fierce warrior. By the turn of the fifteenth century he had killed many a… wait, oh yes, his name was Mungo. Let me tell you, there have always been unjust wars. And there have always been insurgents. And there has always been the Cu Sìth (pronounced 'coo shee'). Obviously this all happened long ago, I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. You probably want to go home and play with your x-plods and i-cubes. You want me to carry on?

A'right but first put down your marshmallows and show due reverence of the dead, because even brave heart lost his head in the struggle. That’s right Mel Gibson, what a man.

T’were Henry the eighth that started it all, but that name didne mean any more to Mungo than any other name that past from the lips of a mother to the birth certificate of her bastard Anglo-Saxon scum, I mean son.

Henry was trying to persuade Mary queen of Scots to marry his son. Although why Edward couldn’t court her himself is a subject for debate, I’m inclined to believe it was due to his lack of a good pair of testicles.

So how did Mr the Eighth try and get our Mary into his son’s empty sack? Did he send her flowers with love poems and sign them “Eddie”? Did he arrange a blind date or a trip to the local bowling ally?

Did he bugger! He sent over five thousand men, including three thousand Spanish and German mercenaries and seven hundred Scottish turncoats to boot. Now you might just understand why we call this the war of the rough wooing. And that’s hard to say if you’re a Scotsman.

Mungo had women problems of his own. There was a lassie in his village called Colina who Mungo had his sharp eyes on. He would tell his cuz’n Dougal how he followed her out one night onto the desolate Ancrum Moor to try and have his way wi’her.

Dougal would eagerly ask; “How was it? Did you touch this, did you see that? How did it feel?” But Mungo would sigh and say “When I got to the top o’Palace Hill she had disappeared, and I was left wi’only the stars for company.”

Colina would tell her cuz Rhona a different story. She too had her sights set on the tall and ruggedly handsome Mungo and would always whistle as she past his door when she went for a late night walk up onto Ancrum Moor, in the hope that he might follow and have his way with her.

Rhona asked the selfsame questions as Dougal; “How was it? Did you touch this, did you see that? How did it feel?” But Colina would sigh and say “When I got to the top of Palace Hill he was no where to be seen, his foot steps stopped only to be replaced by the howling of a dog at the moon.”

On Sunday the Bunnock Tribe congregated on Melrose Abbey, more for the gossip than the religion. As the young and old alike of different tribes settled down to lessons of morals and gods that were not their own, a popular young lad called Jamie burst through the abbey doors.

“What’s the bother Jamie?” Colina asked the out of breath youngster. He gasped a lungful of air and screamed as only those whose lungs aren’t fully grown can: “THE ENGLISH ARE COMING!”

The English, the English, the selfsame English that had devastated Edinburgh, the selfsame English that had destroyed Leith, the selfsame English that had dutifully and without an ounce of malice laid waste to much of Southern Scotland the year before. Year of our Lord 1544.

They were at the door. Before the minister or anyone knew what had happened the abbey was destroyed and was serving as an encampment for the English. And not all lives were spared. Dougal and Rhona were caught up in the mealy and slain as the dogs the English thought they were.

Melrose Abbey

Now here’s the particulars of the story and forgive me if I’ve rushed it but by a curse of fate Colina was a Cu Sìth spirit, I’m sorry to mix my mythology but she was a familiar, a familiar in the Karma game in Jedburgh. Colina is Gaelic for “Young Hound” and funnily enough Mungo is a Gaelic name meaning “My Wolf”. Mungo Too was a fairie hound, a Cu Sìth in the Karma game in Jedburgh. A Cu Sìth, so I’m told, is an enormous dark green beastie roughly the size of a cow or a large calf, with shaggy fur and a long braided tail. And despite their size they hunt silently.

That night Mungo and Colina ran though the dark, tears streaming from their round hound’s eyes and they spied the encampment and the fires at Melrose Abbey. The wind was behind them but it carried not a sound of their approach. The fell upon a tent each mauling as many men as got in their way. Colina had attacked a German tent as she heard their Germanic tongue through her howls of rage. “Achtung! Shnell, Shnell, Shnell oceltoff Schweinhund!”. Mungo in turn fell on the turncoats who knew the fairie hound by his green fur. “Cu Sìth!” they cried “run Cu Sìth!” But the English wouldn’t listen and they charged on the beasts, hang the consequences!

Cu Sith

The Cu Sìth ran back outnumbered five thousand to two. Mungo laughed and could see Dougal laughing too in his mind’s eye, as he ran into the wind wi’the taste of blood on his lips and in his nose; Scottish blood, but he could hear the English charging after him and he howled with delight as he reached Palace Hill.

He turned… but Colina was gone. Fallen; their skill of silent huntin was Colina’s curse. She was gone.

And as the English advanced he could take no comfort in the fact that the whole Scottish army stood behind him waiting in ambush. Two and a half thousand men with position, wind and surprise on their side. With the rising sun behind them and the gunpowder smoke blinding the English eyes the Scots won the day, and this war was over shortly after when Henry the eighth died. But since the battle of Ancrum Moor we dunne say cometh the hour cometh the man any longer; we say cometh the hour cometh the beast.

Thank you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancrum_Moor

http://www.rampantscotland.com/visit/blvisitmelrose.htm

Here I discovered that the real reason Edward couldn’t woo Mary himself was that he was 10 at the time and Mary was just 5 years old!

Here's a link to the website of one of the most inspirational writers of our time Neil Gaiman, to whom I shall dedicate this story along with all of the Bunnocks and the McBeans:

http://www.neilgaiman.com/




January 17, 2008

France 1st–9th Aug

Smoking on the bike
A great time was had in France, with the parentals, my cousin JW, his girlfriend Verity, her sister Erin and later Ken, Caroline and lil’Sarah. It was a lovely way to while the time. We went to the beach, we went swimming, had BBQ, played badmington, even lit fires on the colder evenings.

alan cake minikart

Sarah proved herself a little daemon on a trike and a more than willing convert to the land of all things Who. She even watched the scary episode Utopia on a laptop outside one nice day. But was a bit more scared when the Master went all badass and brought on the Toclafane. We also watched Castle in the Sky which was mildly astonishing as it’s quite a long studio Ghibli film and not necessarily the best for little kids but Sarah seemed to love it. We also played with a really friendly butterfly, that was rather eager to land on people.

bonjour butterfly

It was probably just our pale skin that did it but it was delightful none the less. There was a fair bit of cycling which was banter, except Alan did his best to obliterate any health benefits by smoking while cycling. I'm sure that'd just increase incotine absorbsion rates, but hey-ho, there's no telling some people.

old town st bruac i think smoking on bike2


We went to Hammacs bar which was tops, had a meal at the Auburge on JW’s B-day, always delightful, played poker and boggle. I was a bit ancy as I had just spent a lovely week with Becky and was getting withdrawl symptoms a bit. But I’d made a nice little den in the out-house attic with a b/w tv and a little sofa and a bunch of comics I took out from the library and a doc who mag I managed to secure on the way to the ferry from London Bridge WHSmiths.

my french den  beaching

balderdash  haha!
We also went go karting a couple of times which was great fun, always just a few milliseconds behind Alan, and even Sarah hit the noddy cars just for fun. There was also a lovely little walk along the cliff tops over looking Erquy’s little port.

kart racing!

al log
On the way over to France we caught a bit of a magic act and I got involved in tying up the mental magicians assistant and then when hidden in a tube of material she put on my coat while still wearing all of the rope. But it was mega lame, and she was a lot better than he was at it.

magicshow

All in all a great time with banterful company. It was also great to spend some time with A/V in the old place and in the sunshine! Great food and great chilling! 


Lagos Portugal 23rd–30th July

headbanging

trusty tent

So wow this was lovely to the max. It can basically be summed up thusly:

Beautiful beaches (and I mean really beautiful) & tastey picnics on them. Beautiful Bex in a beautiful bikini on it too. Beach volleyball, cool camping where we met cool Irish and Aussie travellers. Banter in the various grungy pubs, a town layout that was like something out of an MC Escher picture. Sardines to die for. Lovely little restaurants especially the Mimar bar run by Marc and Minda (read Mork and Mindy) where we met a lovely older Scottish couple (mainly due to their accents and the man’s amazing cheek to cheek moustache, the kind of which you’d expect went out of fashion a couple of centuries ago) who said that now they were too old to get “pisshed” so they’d tell us the best spots to get “pisshed”.

bex and jim

Lazy lazy lovely lazy boys who went everywhere very slowly and daily would be recovering from the half remembered nights before. Ice lollies: that had to be purchased in the mornings to stop over heating in the tent. The Icy Atlantic. Comic books and Charles Handy. A lovely and very necessary shower but feet from our tent. Hello Kitty. Gorgeous flowers. Sweet ass barbeques laid on by the boys and then the ex-pats with sumptuous swimming pools and delightful dogs, one of whom couldn’t get enough of headers.

bex at camping

Some of it was messy (slightly excessive drinking), and some of it was annoying (boys not being on the beach for volleyball when they said they would be, sand being blown by the wind at an unpleasant angle and camping German families playing operatic rock music at 10am to rouse their family and the unwilling masses in Camping Trinidade). But most of it was laughs, table dancing, sunshine, relaxing, getting lost and found, nice little beach bars and top notch partying.

lagos1

Head banging, pole dancing right,

Contemplating in moonlight

swimming through ice and cocktails

sunshine and sand never fails 

flower in her hair



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