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So we just took a taxi back here from Southampton, explained Sonia

I had a premonition that we would catch something nasty.  We didn’t

fancy cruising round The Med in the company of heavers afflicted with

salmonella or suchlike.

Diana chipped in: They claimed the ship had been undergoing enhanced

cleaning, but we didn’t want to take the risk.

Oh, said Dru.  But will you get insurance compensation?

Not b ***-likely, as Eliza Doolittle would have said. If you opt out

because of fear of illness, it’s not the same thing as contracting an

actual malaise, admitted Sonia.  You might be offered a re-scheduled

voyage, but I doubt it would be one we’d be interested in.

So, what are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Dru queried.  Have you got your luggage, or was it


It’s in the sitting room, supplied Sonia.  But we

haven’t thought that far ahead.  What are you up to?

Nigel and I are driving the hired van with the harp up

to Murgatroyd’s at the weekend.  The poor soul insisted

in going to Cornwall and placating his mother by painting

her skirting boards.  She’s never happy, though.  She’s like

the horse leech’s daughter, the Biblical one that continually

cried, ‘Give, give.’


How did he manage to escape? asked Diana.

By telling a white lie about having to help in the

transportation of some school equipment. 

Changing the subject, you do know that Gus is

coming up for a week or so with a friend, to support

the concert?  Dru looked directly at her mother.

Murgatroyd generously invited him.  He’s so laid back,

Mum.  You’d hardly recognise him.


No, Murgatroyd.  I think he found the renovation

project isolating and has an idea of the pele tower

developing into some kind of spiritual sanctuary. 

He envisages it becoming a retreat from..

..cattle thieves, laughed Diana.

More like the pressures of modern life, corrected Dru.

He has an aura about him now- a kind of new-found peace.

He has been going to Kagyu Samye Ling rather a lot.

What is that? Sonia’s interest was aroused.

Oh, it’s a Tibetan centre in the Esk valley.  You can do all

sorts of courses there, such as Mindfulness,or Shedra Studies.

a ginormous muckle stupa in bonny Scotland with a wee Buddha in front

Now Sonia was really interested.

Murgatroyd says their principle is to be everyone’s friend.  They

encourage you to attempt the impossible, which is what he was

trying to do in his building scheme.  They talk  about bringing benefit

to others and say you should experience freedom within yourself.

If you learn to take time you can become non-judgemental.

Sounds basic life skills, Diana commented. You don’t need to be a

lama with one or two ‘l’ s to agree with those principles. It would be

interesting to see if he has implemented any of them.

Don’t be cynical, mum.  He did actually say that you would be welcome

to come and stay.  He has plenty of room and I know he wants a full

barmkin for the concert.

Barmkin? I’ll explain later.  Look, he obviously needs to have a confab

with you in a spirit of compassionate understanding about what happened

at the start of your marriage.  He’s entitled to that, I think. But he is

accepting of the whole situation and still regards me as his daughter,

if not his biological one.

I suppose one’s enemy can be one’s best teacher, conceded Diana.

Mum, he is not antagonistic, I assure you.  Sonia would be welcome too.

I’ve got a better idea, reflected Sonia.  Why don’t we stay at this Samye

Ling place?  They’re bound to have a guest- house.  Then we could take a

taxi over for the concert, since it’s not far from the pele tower.

Dru was already Googling away. Yes!  There’s a women only house. 

You book 24 hours in advance.  Vegetarian meals..  Take midge repellent. 

Sounds off-putting, but they don’t have dengue up there.

Do they offer any courses? asked Diana.

Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva is one.  Oh, you can fly to

Edinburgh from Southampton and take a train to Lockerbie..

..isn’t that where the dreadful Pan Am disaster took place? Sonia’s

expression darkened.

Yes, but that was a long time ago.  Or you could take the train

to Lockerbie from Euston. If the monastery’s full, there’s always

The Eskdale Hotel in Langholm.

Sorted, agreed Diana.

What’s a Bodhisattva again? asked Sonia.

I think we’re about to find out, replied Diana.