Sitting with my eyes closed, breathing into the feeling, pen in hand. A first few lines scratch onto the paper. Over-long thumbnail digs into fingertip, in the pen’s clench.

Casting around for “What is this?”


Then the words, “Not knowing your fate hurts” arise. I’m not crying, but my eyes smart, and chest heaves, with a sigh. Is that cliché, or just the perfect description – “chest heaves”? It always seems to be “heaves”.

I’m reaching in to catch hold of whatever that elusive thing is – of loss, tenderness, preciousness. Something that makes this whole long life feel meaningful – beneath all the noise, the interminable activity.

In that moment, Enya begins a call to the bank, on speaker phone. The automated voice says “Please enter your four digit PIN number, then press the hash key.”

Is that it? I’m forgetting my access code? Let me try tapping some random numbers on my soul.

The satin down duvet wraps me warmly in my throne, and the radiator hums.

Kilted sheep addresses the haggis

Dieter stands up among the now-drunken crowds with his hand up a sheep-puppet’s arse. It’s one of those moments where it seriously could go either way.

In his endearing, yet pronounced, German accent he begins:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!

The kilted sheep ventriloquises, looking almost as perplexed as the wider company, and making a mental note to re-examine its family tree as a matter of some urgency. However, the Bard will not be silenced, and nor will the puppeteer. Exhibiting manual dexterity rarely seen its hooved brethren, the sheep grasps the huge and freshly sharpened dagger, and at the climax, plunges it deep into the bowels of its innocent, albeit now evidently more distant than previously imagined, cousin.

The haggis volcanoes its oaty eruption onto the steaming plate, entrails spilling, and the fabulous aroma rises to the sky. With charged glasses smelling of Highlands and peat, we rush for our plates and queue, disorderlyly, for a piece of the felled prey.

Golden-orange neeps have been bashed. Tatties mashed. The haggis stabbed.

All’s well that ends well.