Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
'Stac Jenny' (4 of 4)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_NG_STACJENNY_04
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Alison Napier
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1487
KEYWORDS
poem
poems
literature
competition
competitions
writing competition
writing competitions
story
stories
audios
audio recordings
recordings

Get Adobe Flash player

'Stac Jenny' was one of the 'Highly Commended' entries in the adult prose section of the Neil Gunn Writing Competition, 2007. It is read here by the author, Alison Napier, from Lairg.

To celebrate Highland 2007, Scotland's year of Highland Culture, the theme was 'Highland Spaces'. Judges for the adult prose section were Scottish writer Margaret Elphinstone and Ann Yule, Convenor for the Neil Gunn Trust.

The Neil Gunn Writing Competition is organised by library staff from The Highland Council Education, Culture & Sport Service with support from the Neil Gunn Trust. It was first established in 1988.

'Immaculate gleaming campervans, shimmering like taj mahals, smug in their self- containment, come and park in the field that belongs to the rabbit-man. The grass is clipped closer than a carpet. All Campers Welcome his sign proclaims, and I can see the row of bungalows on wheels, parked side by side in a perfect recreation of a suburban street. A brave few wander across the dunes as far as here, plucky little Lawrences of Arabia, and stare into my garden. I offer them a few cabbage leaves but they decline, profuse in their thanks. This is not what they want. Perhaps they do not cook. I myself cook every day, soup from vegetable-scraps and rabbit-bones, scones, the dough soft as an infant's breath, and hearty life-saving stews with beans and peas and roots, and strands of seaweed, salty iodine memories for seasoning. I grow cabbages, carrots and kale in the dry Sahara soil, and I protect the shoots with flotsam and jetsam, with upturned lobster-pots and bundles of runaway nets and plastic containers from foreign fishing fleets, blow-ins, and corks and faded floats hang from the rowan to ward off evil spirits and so far this has proved happily successful. Evil spirits are warded off and the kale stands tall.

The brave who venture here admire the polished artefacts in many languages, a few of which I understand. Mad amounts of money are offered for the jewels in my crown, for my fossil family, the trench people, and I say No in many languages. I offer up the tent pegs instead, traditional ethnic folk-carvings, local totems I confirm. "Tent-pegs!" they laugh, delighted, and so in this way my captors and robbers are scattered about the globe, to be perched on mantelpieces, or accidentally burned, or hidden in attics, or displayed behind glass with other precious artefacts, while I receive a modest income for life's essentials. Who would have thought it. Cypraea moneta.

Yes yes yes yes yes. Yes. Certainly. Today we are going to the cafe, the one at the campsite. Blue, blue, a kind of blue, nobody knows the trouble I'm in, this gnarled and twisted limb is rotting on the vine, once bitten three O'Leary, they will wash me in hand-hot water with a tenderness to die for, and soothe creams and oils into the cracked leather because I'm worth it and polish me until all the ragged jagged edges are smooth again. They will use me for their dressing up game and disguise me as someone's mother. And then and only then will I be placed, this time surely, on the long trolley barrow-pram and wheeled out to the garden to join the others, eased into a deckchair, to season and weather under the protection of the rowan, to wait and watch and wait and watch, with this kind foreign stranger, who pretends so faultlessly, in kingfisher breaker blue.'

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

'Stac Jenny' (4 of 4)

2000s

poem; poems; literature; competition; competitions; writing competition; writing competitions; story; stories; audios; audio recordings; recordings

Am Baile

Neil Gunn Writing Competition (audios)

'Stac Jenny' was one of the 'Highly Commended' entries in the adult prose section of the Neil Gunn Writing Competition, 2007. It is read here by the author, Alison Napier, from Lairg.<br /> <br /> To celebrate Highland 2007, Scotland's year of Highland Culture, the theme was 'Highland Spaces'. Judges for the adult prose section were Scottish writer Margaret Elphinstone and Ann Yule, Convenor for the Neil Gunn Trust.<br /> <br /> The Neil Gunn Writing Competition is organised by library staff from The Highland Council Education, Culture & Sport Service with support from the Neil Gunn Trust. It was first established in 1988.<br /> <br /> 'Immaculate gleaming campervans, shimmering like taj mahals, smug in their self- containment, come and park in the field that belongs to the rabbit-man. The grass is clipped closer than a carpet. All Campers Welcome his sign proclaims, and I can see the row of bungalows on wheels, parked side by side in a perfect recreation of a suburban street. A brave few wander across the dunes as far as here, plucky little Lawrences of Arabia, and stare into my garden. I offer them a few cabbage leaves but they decline, profuse in their thanks. This is not what they want. Perhaps they do not cook. I myself cook every day, soup from vegetable-scraps and rabbit-bones, scones, the dough soft as an infant's breath, and hearty life-saving stews with beans and peas and roots, and strands of seaweed, salty iodine memories for seasoning. I grow cabbages, carrots and kale in the dry Sahara soil, and I protect the shoots with flotsam and jetsam, with upturned lobster-pots and bundles of runaway nets and plastic containers from foreign fishing fleets, blow-ins, and corks and faded floats hang from the rowan to ward off evil spirits and so far this has proved happily successful. Evil spirits are warded off and the kale stands tall.<br /> <br /> The brave who venture here admire the polished artefacts in many languages, a few of which I understand. Mad amounts of money are offered for the jewels in my crown, for my fossil family, the trench people, and I say No in many languages. I offer up the tent pegs instead, traditional ethnic folk-carvings, local totems I confirm. "Tent-pegs!" they laugh, delighted, and so in this way my captors and robbers are scattered about the globe, to be perched on mantelpieces, or accidentally burned, or hidden in attics, or displayed behind glass with other precious artefacts, while I receive a modest income for life's essentials. Who would have thought it. Cypraea moneta.<br /> <br /> Yes yes yes yes yes. Yes. Certainly. Today we are going to the cafe, the one at the campsite. Blue, blue, a kind of blue, nobody knows the trouble I'm in, this gnarled and twisted limb is rotting on the vine, once bitten three O'Leary, they will wash me in hand-hot water with a tenderness to die for, and soothe creams and oils into the cracked leather because I'm worth it and polish me until all the ragged jagged edges are smooth again. They will use me for their dressing up game and disguise me as someone's mother. And then and only then will I be placed, this time surely, on the long trolley barrow-pram and wheeled out to the garden to join the others, eased into a deckchair, to season and weather under the protection of the rowan, to wait and watch and wait and watch, with this kind foreign stranger, who pretends so faultlessly, in kingfisher breaker blue.'