“The Orkney Spring of Bradley Driver - Easter 1995”

I needed time and space

Peace, and freedom from stress

To write a long blocked novel - 

Hopefully it would turn out my best. 

 

I rang the number of

An Orkney woman,  

She said she was a widow,

Advertising ‘room to let’ 

 

Cheap board and who knows?

Free bawd if my luck was in. 

 

The train journey was unremarkable

Aside from a chance encounter

With a mystic named Jorda,

Who, ignoring gawping passengers,

Fingered a Volvic star

On my forehead, and

Uttered a prophecy for me.

 

“At the turn of the moon

You will stand in the midst of

The Ring of Brodgar and find

The truth of your identity, 

Your destiny will be revealed …”

 

I did not get the rest.

The train arrived at Ardgay,

Jorda dashed out the carriage, shouting,

“Come for tea next time you pass by.”

 

Pentland Firth was flat and calm, 

I raised an arm in greeting but

The Old Man of Hoy ignored me.

 

I met the 'intended’ as arranged,

Outside St Magnus’ Cathedral. 

First impressions of her,

And the holy pile? 

Unfavourable.

 

She wore a toxic pink windcheater 

Patched inaccurately at the back,

And clashing Terylene slacks.

Her hair was a fright of untamed curls, 

Moiling like cobras in a charmer’s basket.

 

St Magnus was macabre, 

An overdone motif of skulls and bones.

Good for a séance on a wet afternoon -  

It would never do in Leytonstone.

 

We took the ferry to her isle 

Walked to a cottage beside a burn.

With a dozen cats outside the door. 

 

She had no time for T.V. or electricity.

And handed me a torch

I read her only book; 

An ‘all you need to know’ about

Danish peat bog burial rites.

 

She had a taste for single malt, 

Slowly slumping into a stupor.

I stayed stone cold sober,

My attention gripped by the moreish

 

 "Bond-women five shall follow him, And eight of my thralls, well-born are they, Children with me, and mine they were.  As gifts that Budhli his”

 

The torch battery died,

The rest would have to wait till daylight. 

I stretched and yawned, 

“Bedtime for Bonzo.”

 

That perked her back to life. 

 “Do I get a kissss?”

I suppressed a retch, 

“Well, a good night peck.”

 

“Isss that all?

 

Ignoring her whisky breath

Closed eyes and puckering, 

I landed a quick peck

On her gooseberry cheek.

Then off to my room,

Even quicker.

 

On Good Friday she confessed,  

Her virginity –

It came as no surprise to me.

She made it clear

It was mine to take.

A cherry tart

For wolfing off a plate,

 

“I’m honoured but we really ought to wait.”

 

Unhappy that her maidenhood

Would not be breeched by me

Anytime in the ‘foreseeable’

She vented her spleen

On a bottle of Old Pulteney.

 

I boned up on ‘Tollund Man’.

Weighing my chances 

Of eluding her advances 

And escaping the island

Scrotally intacta.

 

Saturday night, 

Fired with frustration

She rat a tatted,

On my barricaded door 

Stark naked.

 

Access denied.

 

Easter Sunday early 

The cottage was empty

I packed my bags fast  

And hotfooted

To the harbour

Ducking behind walls 

At every passing car, 

 

The dock was silent

Still as Gurness Broch

I knocked on a door,

 

 "What time does the ferry leave?"

 

A woman replied – horrified,

“No ferries on Sundays!! 

And Easter too!!

Shame on you!!”

 

Welcome to Chthonia. 

 

I took a bed at a cheap hostel. 

The virgin found me easily 

And begged me to go back with her

“We can build a life together.”

 

I shook my head

Stood my ground

As she walked away

She wept and wailed

Making an unearthly sound.

 

As darkness fell, 

Cowardice prevailed.

I crept into a barn, 

Stacking bales of hay

To make a wall

Against the night chill

And eyes of a baleful -  

Despite her valiant efforts -

Virgin still.

 

From behind my hay bale eerie

I spied her Monday morning early

Sleuthing the hostel and surrounds.

 

Then watched her triste depart, 

Sad without her Lochinvar. 

 

I never went back to Orkney.

One dose of “Wicker Man” 

Meets “Thirty-Nine Steps” 

Meets “Misery"

 

Was more than enough for me.

 

 

◄ "Dingle Bound Epiphany June 1990"

“Glastonbury Fayre” ►

Comments

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Jeff

Tue 27th Dec 2016 09:39

Absolutely brilliant!...laughed sooo much. Having worked on Orkney (Flotta isle) I can picture the whole scene!....please print the rest!...Jeff....

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Rick Gammon

Tue 27th Dec 2016 03:30

This is another drastically edited pome - hopefully it will make the cut - every word is true. I've omitted some of the weirder moments 😃

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