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Here and Nowhere

July 3, 2010

In the face of financial horror and the descent of the Open tourists onto St Andrews, I have been relegated back to the sticks for another summer. My homestead is Amulree. When I click onto Google Street View over that little marker that indicates the aforementioned placename, the camera lands right bang in front of my house. That’s how small this place is. Wedged somewhere between Crieff, Aberfeldy and Dunkeld, it’s actually diminutive enough to be labelled a ‘hamlet’. I didn’t even know those existed any more. I feel like a Tolkien character.

PH8Now, I bet a bunch of you readers are thinking how idyllic this all sounds, a bucolic paradise where poetic inspiration flows like water. I’m not a city boy, I love the pastoral scenery as much as anyone, and will freely admit that the heather-bruised hills that circle Amulree are breathtakingly beautiful. But I’m not a Romantic either (not with a capital R anyway). I can find pleasure in meadows full of flowers and the rippled shadow of a cloud over a hillside, but I couldn’t churn out a sonnet about it. I need something a bit less sprawling, a smaller space to focus on, or the poem just gets carried off on a breeze.

What would really help me in this case would be some folklore. A few local legends to spark some imagination. A ghost-story, a fairy-tale, even an entirely human anecdote. The problem with local legends here is that we’ve got no locals to tell them. The only people you’re likely to meet on an intrepid stroll into the wilds of Glen Quaich are other people out on an equally intrepid stroll. Maybe I should learn to speak sheep. Do sheep have a language?

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 3, 2010 1:57 pm

    This reminds me of Tom Pow’s Dying Villages project for some reason!:

    – the place being so empty that there is no one to keep the ghost stories/etc alive.


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