Sometimes you think of something… Something you might like… And then that thought spirals out of control to the point of absolute ridiculousness? Well I had one of those last night. And this morning I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be a good idea to write it all down for the purposes of amusement and entertainment. So I did. It’s not far fetched, it sounds quite normal but it is a bit of a fantasy. Enjoy!
Think of something typically Scottish and images of highland games and tartan and imaginary lake monsters will no doubt come into your head. For the most part these images are modern creations, a part of a fantasy built up during the nineteenth century, and very little to do with ancient or traditional Scotland or Scottish culture at all. For over two hundred years, however, these images have persisted and through popular culture have cemented themselves in the public imagination. But why did this happen in Scotland? Why not with other parts of the British Isles? Why not, for example, with Wales?
For those who haven’t been keeping up with the previous Aunt Mable stories or who are new or want to be reminded, allow me to fill you in. Nobody in the small mountain village of Cythry has seen Mable for seventy years. There is nobody alive who remembers her so when she turns up, hobbling out of the fog, on the day after the Second World War began, it comes as a complete surprise. Her great nephews (Edward, Seamus, Arthur, Fletcher, Erasmus- Who can’t pronounce his own name and a lot of other things besides- Tiberius and Earnest, along with their friend Seb) find she is a truly horrible woman; she beats them, takes their toys away, and threatens them with boarding school. So far the boys have tried contacting their Father (away on war work) and trying to get him to come home. He has not believed them. Edward has been carted off to boarding school and for the others Mable has replaced their tutors with the equally horrid Mrs Mippsy (or, as Erasmus insisted on calling her, Tippsy.) At the end of the last story it looked like, finally, their father would be returning home…
NOTE: This piece is also available in A Journal of Nearby Places (Available from Amazon) and as an audio recording on YouTube (Under the MORFAVERSE channel)
I find myself dreaming of my favourite mountains again, those mountains which seem so near and yet so far away as to be almost unreachable- The Carneddau, the vast expanse of high ground at the northern end of Snowdonia. A lot of people dismiss them as unexciting, not worth bothering with. From the outside they can look that way, particularly from the coast road where they look little more than gentle hillocks. The thing is, you can’t know until you’ve spent a day roaming the high plains and running with the wild horses how beautiful they are. Up there you are alone, lost in the wilderness but only ever a few short miles from civilisation. Just look into my eyes and you’ll see what this place means to me- It means a lot. There’ll always be a special place in my heart for them. Those mountains are calling to me now and I can’t help but recall a long ago lost life, a life beyond a thick and foggy curtain of rain, and a time when I first found myself scrambling up damp, grassy escarpments on my hands and knees, falling hopelessly in love with this demi-paradise.