(first published in Ink Sweat & Tears, Feb 25, 2018)
Sandy Brodie pushed open the door of the Inverallan Barber’s. Lachie Brown was in the chair, with Jim MacBeth, the barber, in attendance and Willie Bain next in line for a haircut.
‘Aye boys, helluva storm oot there.’ There was a ragged, muttered chorus of ‘Aye Sandy’ from all present.
‘Shouldna’ be too long, Sandy, if ye just tak’ a seat. How’s business up at the hotel? Many guests?’
‘Aye, aye. A family o’ six folk frae Holland came in today. An’ the lady bishop decided to stay anither week.’
‘And wit’s the lady bishop doin’ wi’ herself? Willie here wis saying that she wis goin’ in for The Peat Throwing Contest.’
(Lachie Brown: ‘Peat throwin’ – load o’ bloody nonsense’).
‘Aye, that’s richt. They held it this morning, afore the rain started. An’ she competed in the ladies section.’
‘An’ how did she get on, the bishop lady? She wouldna’ be any match for Lady Gayle from the Big Hoose: she’s won it every year since it started.’
‘Well now, she was makin’ an awfy hash o’ it, at first. One peat hit Andy, the gardener, on the back o’ his heid. He wasna’ pleased.’
Willie: ‘Nothin’ pleases Andy Morrison. If Nicola Sturgeon ran off tae Las Vegas wi’ Donald Trump, he wouldna’ crack a smile. So did she improve, the bishop lady?’
‘Didn’t she just? I reckon she wis getting some tips off Donnie MacKinnon at the half-time break. Because she really began to rack up some style points from the judges after the break.’
‘She wis turnin’ a tight spade?’
‘Aye, aye, a very tight spade. You could tell Lady Gayle wasna’ best pleased. So Donnie won the men’s section. And the bishop won the ladies’.’
Willie and Jim together: ‘You mean…?’
‘Aye, that’s richt: Her Grace at first just ghastly, turned a tighter spade than Gayle…’
Willie and Jim gently hummed the Procol Harum organ break.
(Lachie Brown: ‘Load o’ bloody nonsense’)