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TITLE
'The Envoy of the Black Pine' (3)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_CLIO_GRAY_03
PLACENAME
Tain
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Tain
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Clio Gray
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1274
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'The Envoy of the Black Pine' by Clio Gray, due to be published in August 2008. It is read here by the author.

'This third section was written as a direct consequence of the storms and floods we had a couple of years ago which swept away so many bridges and knocked down so many trees. It started life as a short story before being amalgamated into the main body of this novel.

The church bell tolled in Lower Slaughter, water dragging at the ropes. The heavy door groaned upon its iron clasps but did not give, yet still the water filched a way through every crack and gap and would not go, lifted the coarse-haired, boot-cleaning mat from the flagstones, wended a slow way through hymn sheets and books of psalms, made a path through apse and bay, tugged at rope and hassock, sat itself at every pew and eased the candles from the tenebrae hearse, left their tang-spikes bare and sharp as the tines of a newly sharpened fork. It dragged the Verger's gown around his legs, sucked at the seams and layered them with silt. He struggled through the swirling mud, hands slapping at the brown scum as he tried to reach the altar. The water was up to his waist when he'd gained his goal, the altar cloth already lifting from its table, trying to trip the thurible which held it down. He saw the monstrance in its niche behind; he struggled to gain the aisle steps, reached out his hand.

But before his fingers could grasp its stem, the monstrance eased gently over with the rising water, and scattered the Sacred Body onto the scum, and the Verger wept to think his God would curse him for his negligence, but the brown owl in the gallery cared nothing for his despair, only shrieked at her disturbance, set the bats to spin and slap their leathery wings about the turret, turned her head to the belfry openings, where the sounds of the softly ringing bells escaped into the storm. Her wings unfurled and she disappeared into the snowy night, oblivious of the watery world below her, caring nothing for the low-lying houses, whose tie-beams broke, their ancient gable-ends collapsed, thatch turned into duck-raft as it was swept off on the broad black back of the flood.'

Clio Gray was born in Yorkshire, spent much of her childhood in Devon, and has been living in the Highlands of Scotland for the past fifteen years. She works at her local library in Tain and spends the rest of her time writing books. She won the Harry Bowling literary prize in 2004, followed by the Scotsman/Orange Short Story Award in 2006 for 'I Should Have Listened Harder', set in a Siberian prison mine. Her collection of short stories, 'Types of Everlasting Rest', was published in 2007.

Clio considers herself to be a 'natural librarian', drawing upon years of compulsive list making and information gathering to help create her inspirational plots. Her writing has attracted a lot of interest. Jan Rutherford of the Scottish Book Trust was impressed with Clio's work and paired her up with a mentor, Alan Bisset, to work on her first novel - 'Guardians of the Key' (2006), the first in a series of historical thrillers featuring Whilbert Stroop, a finder of missing persons and compulsive maker of lists. A sequel, 'The Roaring of the Labyrinth', was published in 2007.

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'The Envoy of the Black Pine' (3)

ROSS: Tain

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Clio Gray

This audio extract is from 'The Envoy of the Black Pine' by Clio Gray, due to be published in August 2008. It is read here by the author.<br /> <br /> 'This third section was written as a direct consequence of the storms and floods we had a couple of years ago which swept away so many bridges and knocked down so many trees. It started life as a short story before being amalgamated into the main body of this novel.<br /> <br /> The church bell tolled in Lower Slaughter, water dragging at the ropes. The heavy door groaned upon its iron clasps but did not give, yet still the water filched a way through every crack and gap and would not go, lifted the coarse-haired, boot-cleaning mat from the flagstones, wended a slow way through hymn sheets and books of psalms, made a path through apse and bay, tugged at rope and hassock, sat itself at every pew and eased the candles from the tenebrae hearse, left their tang-spikes bare and sharp as the tines of a newly sharpened fork. It dragged the Verger's gown around his legs, sucked at the seams and layered them with silt. He struggled through the swirling mud, hands slapping at the brown scum as he tried to reach the altar. The water was up to his waist when he'd gained his goal, the altar cloth already lifting from its table, trying to trip the thurible which held it down. He saw the monstrance in its niche behind; he struggled to gain the aisle steps, reached out his hand. <br /> <br /> But before his fingers could grasp its stem, the monstrance eased gently over with the rising water, and scattered the Sacred Body onto the scum, and the Verger wept to think his God would curse him for his negligence, but the brown owl in the gallery cared nothing for his despair, only shrieked at her disturbance, set the bats to spin and slap their leathery wings about the turret, turned her head to the belfry openings, where the sounds of the softly ringing bells escaped into the storm. Her wings unfurled and she disappeared into the snowy night, oblivious of the watery world below her, caring nothing for the low-lying houses, whose tie-beams broke, their ancient gable-ends collapsed, thatch turned into duck-raft as it was swept off on the broad black back of the flood.'<br /> <br /> Clio Gray was born in Yorkshire, spent much of her childhood in Devon, and has been living in the Highlands of Scotland for the past fifteen years. She works at her local library in Tain and spends the rest of her time writing books. She won the Harry Bowling literary prize in 2004, followed by the Scotsman/Orange Short Story Award in 2006 for 'I Should Have Listened Harder', set in a Siberian prison mine. Her collection of short stories, 'Types of Everlasting Rest', was published in 2007.<br /> <br /> Clio considers herself to be a 'natural librarian', drawing upon years of compulsive list making and information gathering to help create her inspirational plots. Her writing has attracted a lot of interest. Jan Rutherford of the Scottish Book Trust was impressed with Clio's work and paired her up with a mentor, Alan Bisset, to work on her first novel - 'Guardians of the Key' (2006), the first in a series of historical thrillers featuring Whilbert Stroop, a finder of missing persons and compulsive maker of lists. A sequel, 'The Roaring of the Labyrinth', was published in 2007.