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TITLE
'A Lament for the Union' (2)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_DAVID_ROSS_04
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
David Ross
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1290
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from the short story 'A Lament for the Union' by David Ross, published in 'Highland Views' in 2007. It is read here by the author.

'It was a hard winter. No matter how much coal she heaped on the fire, even with the central heating fully on as well, she never felt warm except when her husband was with her. When he was away the days and nights seemed unending, and the cold seemed to be permanently lodged inside her. The new fear of abandonment which had swept over her heightened her normal fear for his safety at sea, and all she could do in his absence was to repeat to herself his time-worn reassurances. He was a Safety Officer after all, was he not? Ah, but finally the day came when she persisted too far in her concern. And he said yes, of course, there were countless factors beyond his personal control and in such an event there would be compensation -

Compensation? As if all the riches in the world could ever compensate her -

He'd become angry at that, instead of touched by her expression of dependence. No doubt he'd instinctively sensed that the right time had come to tell her to pull herself together, because it was soon after that she began to do so.

Towards the end of April, when she was given a clean bill of health at her final checkup, an impulse to break with her usual routine took hold of her, and instead of returning home directly by the ferry, she boarded a Nairn bus, travelling through the built up slopes of Drumossie as far as the Cumberland Stone where she was the only passenger to get off.

The bleakness of Culloden Moor that day, at the same time of year the battle had been fought, was at first repellant to her as she slowly tramped round the site, avoiding treacherous bogs, whose sparse reeds and rushes offered little indication of their real depths. But in the end she began to feel a melancholy kinship with the place, for men also had had the life torn out of them there - by bayonet and by bullet.

And when she stopped by those mossy mounds where the heather has for two centuries and more refused to grow, she fancied she could hear low murmurings at that most mysterious place. The words were not words she could understand but their resonant tones spoke eventually to her of some profound acceptance lodged deep within the earth itself. Then it was that resignation began to rap itself around her like a plaid against the spring chill and the real healing could begin.'

After completing a degree at Edinburgh University, David Ross stayed on in the capital for another fifteen years, working at a variety of jobs from lecturer to dish-washer. He wrote two draft novels and ran a Creative Writing Workshop for Theatre Workshop as well as playing and song-writing in several bands, including Poetry Roadshow, a words/music fusion of performance poets and musicians.

Returning to his home town of Tain in Easter Ross, he began writing 'Highland Views' and worked mostly as a musician and tutor, initially with the Highlands Music Centre, and Invergordon Community Arts Project. He was later responsible for developing Music Performance and Sound Production courses for North Highland College in its Alness Centre, and a Creative Writing Course in Dornoch.

David Ross is currently self-employed as a guitar, composition and recording tutor.

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'A Lament for the Union' (2)

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: David Ross

This audio extract is from the short story 'A Lament for the Union' by David Ross, published in 'Highland Views' in 2007. It is read here by the author.<br /> <br /> 'It was a hard winter. No matter how much coal she heaped on the fire, even with the central heating fully on as well, she never felt warm except when her husband was with her. When he was away the days and nights seemed unending, and the cold seemed to be permanently lodged inside her. The new fear of abandonment which had swept over her heightened her normal fear for his safety at sea, and all she could do in his absence was to repeat to herself his time-worn reassurances. He was a Safety Officer after all, was he not? Ah, but finally the day came when she persisted too far in her concern. And he said yes, of course, there were countless factors beyond his personal control and in such an event there would be compensation - <br /> <br /> Compensation? As if all the riches in the world could ever compensate her - <br /> <br /> He'd become angry at that, instead of touched by her expression of dependence. No doubt he'd instinctively sensed that the right time had come to tell her to pull herself together, because it was soon after that she began to do so. <br /> <br /> Towards the end of April, when she was given a clean bill of health at her final checkup, an impulse to break with her usual routine took hold of her, and instead of returning home directly by the ferry, she boarded a Nairn bus, travelling through the built up slopes of Drumossie as far as the Cumberland Stone where she was the only passenger to get off. <br /> <br /> The bleakness of Culloden Moor that day, at the same time of year the battle had been fought, was at first repellant to her as she slowly tramped round the site, avoiding treacherous bogs, whose sparse reeds and rushes offered little indication of their real depths. But in the end she began to feel a melancholy kinship with the place, for men also had had the life torn out of them there - by bayonet and by bullet. <br /> <br /> And when she stopped by those mossy mounds where the heather has for two centuries and more refused to grow, she fancied she could hear low murmurings at that most mysterious place. The words were not words she could understand but their resonant tones spoke eventually to her of some profound acceptance lodged deep within the earth itself. Then it was that resignation began to rap itself around her like a plaid against the spring chill and the real healing could begin.'<br /> <br /> After completing a degree at Edinburgh University, David Ross stayed on in the capital for another fifteen years, working at a variety of jobs from lecturer to dish-washer. He wrote two draft novels and ran a Creative Writing Workshop for Theatre Workshop as well as playing and song-writing in several bands, including Poetry Roadshow, a words/music fusion of performance poets and musicians.<br /> <br /> Returning to his home town of Tain in Easter Ross, he began writing 'Highland Views' and worked mostly as a musician and tutor, initially with the Highlands Music Centre, and Invergordon Community Arts Project. He was later responsible for developing Music Performance and Sound Production courses for North Highland College in its Alness Centre, and a Creative Writing Course in Dornoch.<br /> <br /> David Ross is currently self-employed as a guitar, composition and recording tutor.