Other Notebooks Are Available

Music from the passing comets. Writerly notes. Scotland - America - Australia - wonders beyond Thule.

Find out more at: Schietree

cri de coeur 

paint my nails my nails flaking and as usual my edges

picking up a book and hiding behind it

soft pages with a taste of fire and acetate to them

move in-progress to declined and then I can have a drink and I will toast you, rejecter, with truthful respect in my heart.

We already live in post-apocalyptic landscapes. The world is full of tiny footnote apocalypses. Animal bones and cairns reporting repeat loss. Which is why we like to read about greater, sweeping devastation. To secure a toehold for ourselves among the lesser and continual.

Ruins of Moss Farm, Machrie Moor. 

more [x]

[x]

[x]

Machrie Moor, Arran.

The standing stones (as well as burial cairns, boulder stone circles and unseen around them, old plough marks and huts) are from c. 3,500 B.C.E - 1,500 B.C.E..

Not much info to be had on site, but also not many tourists, just folk wandering and lying sunbathing on the patches that weren’t bog. Because the spring grasses, bracken and flowers were yet to come in, it felt like we were somewhere arid, depending on where you stood. It was a high of 12C (53f) that day. Even so I got a bit of sun and wind burn.

D, A, M and I went round Arran in A & M’s re-purposed minibus/campervan. We got to a village called Whiting Bay, a strip of mostly white-washed Victorian and mid-twentieth century houses along the coast facing the humpback of Holy Island. Maybe it was just the fact that I was intensely queasy when we rocked up into Whiting Bay, but it soon turned out that the place had a strange, slightly sinister aspect. We stopped for refreshments at a place called the Coffee Pot:

image

Which had this view from inside:

image

I can report the tea was good. I couldn’t have the coffee given the nausea. There was cherry pie, but it was not had. Flies’ Graveyard (a sultana pastry slice) was chosen instead by one of our party. The carpet was the same colour as the wall, more or less, as were the tables and chairs.

*

We went out for a walk to some waterfalls, which turned out to be further away than advertised - two miles instead of ‘just off the road’ in the guide map. M had a dodgy knee from partially climbing Scotland’s tallest mountain a few days before, so we just wandered down the path a little until we came to a house. Another Victorian, red sandstone, with a rain-dripped laminated sign saying ‘free range eggs for sale £1.50 1.60. The only way up to the house was the dirt path by which we had come. I went up through the gate to knock. The outer door was open, the inner glass door shut. There were lights on in one of the rooms, though it was a bright day.

*

You know that feeling of apprehension you get, approaching some old houses? The sense that whoever lives there is not really living, only waiting in there? Hollywood capitalises on that sense. That house in True Detective was a shlocky over-the-top version of this house that I came upon.

*

I looked in on a hallway of miscellaneous carpet pieces, to a kitchen with the world’s oldest microwave. Dust was on the air, not the way it is in a house in need of a bit of a clean, but as it is in a house that is suffering from decades of neglect. But the kind you know, as I said, someone lives in. I peered in another window. The greyness hadn’t settled. It was there, as if someone stirred through it, shuffling through it, hour on hour. There was a piano, some trophies. No one answering. The hens scratched in a black-earthed chicken yard. 

*

image

While I was waiting for the door to be answered, my friends stood on the path. A woman passed them, that woman you see in the picture, and she stopped to explain some things. 

"Mr Gregory hasn’t sold his eggs for a few years." she apparently said. M said the way it sounded came out exactly as written. He doesn’t come out much and he doesn’t ever answer the door. Ominous. Like the beginning of a Shirley Jackson story. We walked on down to the riverside and picked handfuls of fresh wild garlic, shoving the leaves in wads in our pockets. Then flipped back towards the road. We stopped to watch the hens and wonder about Mr Gregory. He hasn’t sold his eggs for a few years now. Was he a hermit? What happened to make him stop selling, but to keep the sign on his gate, so that people would come up and knock and never be answered?

*

Just as we were walking away, I saw a shape at the window, turning away. Mr Gregory, I presume. No one else saw him. I expect he’s elderly, but why should I think that? There was a house behind his, a little smaller, with a shiny land rover parked beside it. Maybe that was his place too. Maybe he is very selective about his guests.

*

The cocks began crowing, four of them, standing guard. Who has four cockerels in their chicken yard? Mr Gregory, then. The crowing followed us back down the dirt path, and long into the main part of the village. On our way back to the car I took a picture of this weird mural:

image

Was the woman riding the goose naked? Or was she just wearing a pink dress? Her face was kind of messed up too.

There was this house on its forbiddingly long lawn:

image

Bear in mind this place is a strip of houses right by the sea, what need was there in a lawn that huge? I noticed as we were driving off, on out of Whiting Bay, that there was a preponderance of widows-walks, those small balconies with room for a sailor’s wife to pace as she waits for them to come home from the sea. From catching the whiting which gave the place its name.

ambiguous person on a train bound for a post-industrial city and from there the west coast

ambiguous person on a train bound for a post-industrial city and from there the west coast