Thursday, 4 August 2011

Scary monsters

The unexpected has been happening. Just to keep us on our toes.

A huge limb of an old oak tree fell off and took out part of the best fence on the farm. Typical.
Limb could have chosen any of the horizontal fences to launch itself on to but opted for one of the few nice bits which had new stock fence, new fenceposts and everything.

The bullocks in the field somehow managed to creep under the limb and over the squashed fence then made their way into the garden of new folk who had just, that day, moved from town to country.

The bullocks were quickly rounded up and put into a different field, townspeople were issued humble apologies and a dozen fresh eggs, limb was chopped up for firewood.

The limb looked like a big scary monster drawn by Gerald Scarfe; I suspect it has been creeping about the field on all its spidery limbs. At night.

Later that day, after good hot baths and the donning of Best Clothes, we headed for Dundee so The Farmer could see the cardiologist.

The Tay rail bridge rose out of the Tay looking like a giant ethereal ghost bridge.

The once graceful limbs, now slimy stumps of the original bridge lurk gloomily out of the water. On the 28th December 1879 at 7.15pm, the original bridge was felled by a wicked gale, bridge and train fell into the icy waters of the Tay resulting in the loss of 75 lives (including the son-in-law of the bridge designer).

Later, and suitably sobered by the gloomy Tay, we meet the cardiologist and are reassured that given sensible diet, lots of physical excercise and a good plan of stress management, The Farmer's heart will be strong enough to support him through a normal, healthy life.
No scary monsters there, thank Goodness.

The following day, the bothy is given a complete spring clean.
The pair of us humph all the old bedsteads, butter tables, kists, cupboards plus thirty years of rubbish and debris, old tools and toys and lots of rat poo.
It is a filthy job but finally the light comes back through the wee window and we can see the stone floor again.

Now that there is more light, ironically, it is harder to see inside.
In the darkest corner lies a big drum. We turn the drum round to read the label and it is a big drum of carbide. The top of an upturned pressure cooker serves as a lid.
I had been smoking over it, unaware that it was there, unaware that it could have been last fag and a swift entrance to Heaven complete with a bothy if bothies and fifty year old farmer's wives who swear and smoke are allowed past St Peter.

My sister-in-law, who has come up on a visit and ended up doing an amazing restoration job on the neglected garden, comes to see the bothy. She discovers that the rustling that I have been hearing all day is not a hen skulking outside the window but rats waiting to get in.

We quietly tiptoe out.

That night, I have a disturbed sleep.
An anxiety attack of monster proportions fuelled by exploding carbide, rats and water ghosts, of falling bothy roofs and Gerald Scarfe trees.
Of St Peter saying 'Fags or Heaven, your call".

We are waiting for SEPA to get back to us about the safe removal and disposal of the carbide.

I am taking the children out for the day, probably to Newtonmore, maybe further.

Far away from beasties, bothies and things that may blow up in the night.


  1. I found a load of interesting chemicals in brown bottles in our barn, and the council had to come and remove them. I hope the day at Newtonmore was totally and utterly rat free and generally glorious.

  2. We got as far as Aberfeldy and had chips.

    SEPA never did get back in touch (quelle surprise) so rats and carbide still in the bothy.
    I wonder if one may wipe the other out.

    Like you, Jane, we found so many brown bottles that I'm thinking of starting a bochan and brewing moonshine. I will keep you a jar or two.