New app toy.
Solitude in Lockdown. A new way of regarding isolation.
(Photo: View of An Sgurr, 2008 by Mike Garratt. Creative Commons)
He came from Erin: leaned on his bachail
and celebrated Holy Mysteries,
overlooking Poll nam Partan. His monks,
his muinntir, chanted psalms on Easter’s eve,
baa-ing with sheep, yet he had no shepherd –
no Anam Cara when the slaughter came.
The Queen of Moidart was not of his fold.
She roasted him in his refectory,
unwilling to respect the Lamb of God.
She took the lives of fifty brothers too,
to re-assert her power and grazing rights.
Strange lights flickered over the monks’ corpses
and lured her Pictish women up the slopes
to Sgurr of Eigg. At Loch nam Ban Mora,
luminescence lingered, tantalising
her warriors, who waded out and drowned.
Columba, you did not want to be-friend
one destined for red martyrdom and yet
The Northern Lights received him to glory;
his abbatial staff hooked in the lost
of many a future generation.
apple ducking, Botox, Bratz, brownies, D H Lawrence, freezing eggs, Frieda Lawrence, Frozen, Glasgow School of Art, Lady Chatterley, liquid nitrogen, Marshmallow, Northern Lights, Norwegian fjords, ovopositor, Permafrost, Rate My Teacher, rosemaling, Sami, Stanislavski
Mum! Hi! How’s it going?
Drusilla had to snatch a chance to phone her mother. She was on the
go all day, every day, at St Vitus’ School for the Academically-Gifted Girl‘s
boarding house. Still, it would be half term soon. She would have to
start baking all those farewell Brownies. She felt that the girls should be
baking them for her, but they made such a mess in the kitchen.
The Juniors were in the common room, watching Frozen. It was a treat,
as everyone was up to date with their prep and it gave Dru a chance to
catch her breath. Her Deputy was on maternity leave, so the lot fell largely
Things had been quieter on the whole since the brazen Juniper Boothroyd-
Smythe had left and gone to Glasgow School of Art. It had been a real
challenge, keeping her on track. Still, her father had been very grateful
and donated a case of Pop My Cork! wine to the staffroom.
Great, dear! Murgatroyd and I were contemplating a little cruise. I quite
fancied The Norwegian Fjords, but forgot that they would be in darkness at
this time of year.
I suppose they might be illuminated by The Northern Lights? suggested Dru,
not really focussing on what she was saying, because she suddenly noticed
a paperback on the coffee table in the hall.
Wait a minute, Mum. Look, I’ll phone you back.
Dru snatched up the offending title and stuffed it under her jumper. Lady
Chatterley’s Lover! She would have to have words with the Upper Fifth!
Oh, hi, Miss Fotheringay. It was Isolde Percival, Scheherezade’s younger
sister. She was having a taster sleep-over to see if she liked boarding.
Have you seen my English reader?
Dru thought that Isolde might spread it around that the Boarding Mistress
of Weston House was in a state of infanticipation, if she were to notice the
bump under the magisterial sweater. It would be a historical re-run, as Dru’s
mother had once been a boarding house mistress, and she had left with a
very pronounced bulge, namely Drusilla herself. That was in the days when
you implicitly signed away your fertility in your acceptance of your terms and
conditions. However, the responsibility for the latest sprog entry on the
school waiting list had been passed on to Diana’s unwitting new beau,
MurgatroydSyylk. Yet now all appeared to be forgiven and they were
planning to see what floated their current boat.
Aaaaaaaaaaatishoo! Dru utilised some kind of method acting which might not
have impressed Stanislavski.
Sorry,dear. Just a moment.
She propelled herself into the staff office and pretended to look for a box of
tissues while she gave birth to the banned text.
Just my allergy, she apologised. Oh, was this the book you were looking for?
Someone must have handed it into the office. Is your name inside it?
Isolde looked inside the front cover. Yes, Miss Fotheringay. It’s definitely
It felt curiously warm.
Isolde, emm, is this a reader that you have been given as a whole class?
Yes, Miss Fotheringay. It’s on the syllabus. Mum’s been reading it too and
we discuss it at home.
Dru felt frigid, never mind frozen.
Very well. Run along and tell the Juniors that they need to stop the DVD
now and get their jammies on.
A chorus of Aaaaaws!! reached her ears.
Hi, mum! Sorry about the interruption. Did the girls read Lawrence when
you were on the staff?
Oh, good heavens-yes! Usually under the blankets with a torch. We used to
confiscate the copies and read them ourselves. It was still banned as a dirty
book until 1960.
Anyway, we are going to go to Oslo and then plan to go north to see as much
Sami culture as we can. I want to learn about rosemaling.
Who is she?
No, it’s an art form, explained her mother.
Reminds me of the film the girls were watching. Frozen, Dru
Sounds as if there’s a lot more fun in the old place than there was
in my day, remarked her mother. The pervasive atmosphere then
was more like Permafrost, especially in the Senior Non-Smoking
Anyway, must love you and leave you as Murgatroyd wants
me to book some reindeer thingy online. Speak soon!
And she was gone.
Dru caught a glance of herself in the mirror. Her complexion was
greyish and it was only five weeks into term. Her face looked as if
it needed Botox, or a blowtorch, perhaps? As for the rest of her…
She wondered what Lawrence would have made of her type. He’d
probably have thought her barren and in need of a few visits to a
Hmmm. At this rate she would need to apply to the governing body to ask
if they would pay for her to freeze some eggs. She didn’t fancy having that
mannish science technician doing something drastic to her ovopositor with
liquid nitrogen. It had been bad enough when she’d had some warts
Well, Time’s winged chariot and all that…She was unlikely to meet Prince Hans
of the Southern Isles while she was in loco parentis to this lot. If she was
ever to thaw out, she might just have to stop sticking the shards into her soul
and hitch up with good old Nigel. At least he wasn’t a mythical devil teacher
taking his pupils through the world, distorting everything they saw in his weird
mirror. He was more like Marshmallow (not!), the bodyguard in the film.
Trolls seemed to leave him alone, even on Rate My Teacher sites, as he was
wise enough not to raise his head above the parapet.
Yes, she could do a lot worse and, even though she didn’t look like a Bratz doll
and never had, she thought that she had had enough of the cerebral and might
just try to explore this vitality thing that Lawrence kept banging on about.
However, she didn’t intend seizing him- Nigel, she meant, not the novelist, by
the throat, as Mrs Ivy Bolton was said to have done, metaphorically-speaking,
to David Herbert’s poor old paralysed Clifford. No, she’d take a gentler approach
and invite him – Nigel, she meant- to Weston House’s Apple Ducking Evening and
would see how it went from there. (She couldn’t envisage DH ‘dooking’ for apples.
Not with that huge chip on his shoulder. Frieda, maybe, but not him. Mind you, she
couldn’t imagine Nigel being very successful at it either.) Nor at other playful
activities, but- as the girls were wont to say, Don’t go there!