The scarf today is velvet and was a raffle prize at my golf club bridge drive. If the member who donated it is reading my blog, she may be surprised to see it draped around the figurine of a Black Watch soldier.
I mentioned the death of an uncle in yesterday’s blog, the last of my parents’ generation. He was in the Navy, not the Army but my blog is set today in Angus and I like the tartan inference. I am writing these Scarfaid blogs to inspire, amuse, catalogue my collection, keep myself busy and indirectly tell what life is like in lockdown. As a result of the Covid 19 virus lockdown, family could not attend his funeral. I don’t want this to sound depressing... it’s just a fact.
One can have an uplifting experience at such a time, so I have chosen one of my richest scarves to illustrate my blog today. I was going to Scotland for a family funeral of another of my parents’ generation. It was late October 2003. The journey was by the Aberdeen train from Kings Cross. The train was named The Northern Lights. My father, in his lifetime, had talked of this phenomenon as he had seen them when he worked in Lapland, yet some friends had taken expensive cruises to Iceland and Norway in the hope of seeing them to be disappointed with a non show. I knew little of them.
To be honest, I didn’t know what I was seeing when I looked at spirals of colour hanging from a clear sky as we left a friend’s house in Little Brechin the night before the funeral. We’d had a few drinks. Some folks see pink elephants after too many.....so I was seeing coloured bell ropes ringing the bells in heaven for a departed auntie. The lights were even brighter the night of the funeral and by then everyone was talking about the Northern Lights, the AURORA BOREALIS. The National Press had even written about it with great photos. The aurora was not usually seen so far south. So, it wasn’t the gin talking that first night. The day following the funeral was Hallowe’en and all the family agreed to have a supper at the But’n Ben Inn at Auchmithie, a tiny village on the North Sea. Hoping I didn’t have indigestion from bolting down my clootie dumpling, I rushed outside with all the family from the restaurant to watch the free light show. The sky was an ever changing pattern of blue, green and yellow shafts of colour descending from the corona or zenith. Aye, Esther, that’s a braw fireworks y’re havin’ up there, said my uncle. It was not an unhappy occasion.
We said our goodbyes and the family departed in various cars. I wanted to have one last look as we drove over the lonely Angus moor and a cousin and I stood there alone, in wonder. It was Hallowe’en, I was near my birthplace, so many superstitions from childhood, we shivered and hugged one another In the mysterious light .... yes, there is the scientific explanation of the aurora being caused by particles being blasted through space from the Sun attracted to the Earth’s magnetic field at the North and South Poles, but don’t you like the idea of an auntie setting off fireworks?
I am sorry for anyone who had the dream of a cruise to see the Northern Lights this year. It was ticked off my bucket list quite accidentally! I was booked to visit Bologna tomorrow. Guess, that’s back on the wish list.
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!