Friday, August 29, 2008

Hugh McMillan would like to invite you to the
launches of ‘Postcards from the Hedge’ ,
a unique book of poems, with accompanying poster
and map , illustrated and designed by Hugh Bryden.

Thomas Tosh in Thornhill, Saturday September 6th,
Gracefield Arts Centre Dumfries
Friday September 19th at 7.00pm.

Refreshments will be served at both events.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Role of the Oatcake in Medieval Warfare

(“The Scots are able to make longer marches than other men because they carry and make cakes of oats to eat and comfort their stomachs”: Jean Froissart)

It’s a fact:
These oatcake crumbs in your pocket
are scions of a noble race,
the mighty oatcake,
paste of the Gods.
The English gave them to their horses
but it was oatcakes won freedom
for the Scots and French,
not Wallace, Bruce or Joan of Arc.
What did Archibald Douglas have in his bloody mitt
when he stove in the Duke of Clarence’s head at Bauge?
A rough oatcake.
“What think ye of the mutton guzzlers and winos now?”
asked the Dauphin of his effete courtiers
when the Scots had swept the field.
He saw the power of the oatcake.
The Maid entering Orleans victorious in 1429 was
flanked , they say, by Scottish guardsmen,
warrior giants with twice fired oatcakes,
their banner three oatcakes rampant
on a sable field.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Mrs Shug and I put on a 4 horse accumulator yesterday, a clear sign of desperate times.It was the 5th anniversary of our move to the Peoples Republic of Penpont and we were sunbathing among the grass and butterflies, though,being Scotland, the sky was cut in a dramatic diagonal,one side bright blue, the other black. We have not ventured far these holidays,partly because the car has decided to work only when it is being examined by mechanics. The rest of the time it sits like a very expensive pile of scrap outside the front door. Every week we get new bills from garages expressing bewilderment and grateful exasperation that they can't find any fault. It has been diagnostically tested all over Dumfries and Galloway. It is the most diagnosed car in southern Scotland, but still it will not work.

I remember in 1970 my mother and I drove in a decrepit old banger on an epic circumnavigation of Scotland - something like 900 miles without a whimper. Our Citroen Picasso can't limp to the door.

Elsewhere, poor Theosyphillis Neil is back on the parish. Last week a meeting was called of all friends and interested parties to try and raise a relief fund to pay off his bar bill from the Tartan Bunnet, to lift a ban imposed on him by the licensee. The bar bill, it transpires, is roughly equivalent to the Gross National Product of Latvia. £4.62 was raised.

The Bunnet must be a lonely establishment just now as MacDuff too has been injured in a battle against other Cyborgs and has been recalled to the Manufacturer for repairs.

Plans for the postcards from the Hedge tour continue apace. Watch this space.