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Blog 67 - A Purple Patch

I think these three words describe a good period so I have chosen it for this week’s blog title. The silk scarf today is not exactly purple, but pale heather graduating to dark peaty brown. It is the colours of a Scottish moor and I intended to wear it last week travelling to a certain spot in Glen Esk. I did not. I swapped it at the last moment for a sensible dark green Hermes cashmere to keep me warm. But let me tell you of my silk scarf’s journey since I bought it just over a week ago.

I left the magic carpet sulking in my garage at missing out on a new experience as I set off in a coach with partially sighted and totally blind friends to find the Watercress Railway. There is usually some adventure with this group. I remember feeling slightly nervous previously on our search for the Bluebell Railway, another old steam train, when our coach got stuck under a low bridge. I kept my eyes shut as we reversed up a long steep hill on that occasion. No low bridges this time, nor an appearance of a Charles Bonnet apparition to a fellow traveller. We had safely arrived in Alton in Hampshire and I had fifteen minutes to find a scarf to fulfil this sometimes impossible task I set myself……and so this Indian silk scarf started its first week in my care.

First it had a gentle soporific steam train ride scrunched up in my handbag for an hour, following the transport route of byegone days of the local watercress. Surprisingly, I didn’t eat any watercress that day but enjoyed an icecream in the sunshine as we waited half an hour or so to take on water for the steam. A young man shovelled in coal to keep the embers glowing. The scarf was totally unaware of its journey ahead.

Two days later packed in my small suitcase in Richmond, it went first to Wiltshire for an overnight stop near Stonehenge. An early Saturday start and a long motorway journey, two drivers, three passengers in the back, the scarf deep in the car boot. Northward it went, over the border to Gretna Green. 'Can I get out now?', said the scarf. It remained safely packed. I remembered visiting there a year after I was married and embarrassed my husband by pretending we had just been wed over the blacksmith’s anvil. I asked him at breakfast whether he took sugar in his tea! You know I don’t, he snapped. He didn’t always understand my sense of humour. Last week one of my daughters, married in Sri Lanka, fancied a second wedding in Gretna Green, but did not have three weeks to spare to qualify. She is not too sure that her wedding records in Sri Lanka were not lost in the tsunami.

We pressed on to Annan. The scarf was not allowed out of the case to visit the whisky distillery next morning. The first tasting of over 100% proof alcohol might have eaten through the silk had a drop escaped my numbed lips! It did not pay homage to Rabbie Burns where he wrote The De’il’s away with the Exciseman or witness the most haunted road in Scotland. Nor was it allowed to see the enormous horse heads of the silver Kelpies at Falkirk. Finally we arrived at the Burn Courtyard House at the foot of Glen Esk which would be our home for three days in Angus. 'Can I get out of this b.........suitcase now?', said the heather coloured scarf. I smoothed it out and laid it on my bed. It wasn’t at all pleased at the fuss over last week’s Hershey Kisses scarf. It didn’t get an outing on Monday either to visit Brechin to see my family home, or Auchmithie, the tiny jewel of an old fishing village where we had a big traditional Scottish lunch to welcome yet more cousins. I had been looking forward to a slice of ‘clootie dumpling’ but that was destined for an equally long journey back to England like my complaining scarf. My ‘doggie bag’ dumpling and silk scarf will get their moment.

I did wear this scarf last Tuesday for a short time before we set forth for the sound of the bagpipes and my cousin’s ash scattering at the top of the Glen. I then decided at the last moment that warm Scottish cashmere won over gleaming Indian silk. It went back in the suitcase. The scarf had been excited the previous evening for a few moments as the Aurora Borealis lights were seen farther north in Scotland. That’s just like my sparkling lilac against my dark brown, said the scarf. Your blogger was lucky to see the Northern Lights some years ago in Auchmithie, an amazing pyrotechnic display…. but remember the scarf comes from India, not the far North.

It should feel quite honoured I am wearing it today and it is the first blog entering my 89th year. My birthday was yesterday. Apparently the Japanese characters for 88 look like lots of rice grains. I will let you know if this is significant. Can’t imagine there is any connection between rice, the Northern lights and Stonehenge. We certainly have had a purple patch of amazing experiences in the past ten days since I bought this scarf. I wish I hadn’t mentioned a patch. We were greeted by a leak in my daughter’s Wiltshire home, water dripping through the light fitting from an undisclosed source and a large wet patch on the floor. Back in Richmond my sister on her return was faced with an electricity blackout. Let’s get the music going….will it be Rod Stewart’s Purple Heather or something from Deep Purple? I know there’s a poem that begins ….'When I am an old woman I will wear purple with a red hat that doesn’t go...'. I guess you all know what I am thinking!

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 67.

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