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TITLE
'Jenny of the Pockets'
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_JENNIFER_MORAG_HENDERSON_02
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Jennifer Morag Henderson
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
40978
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes
short stories

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'Jenny of the Pockets' by Jennifer Morag Henderson, from the anthology, 'Riptide'.

It was a hot day in Inverness. The sun drenched the city centre in light, saturating the buildings until they emitted a warm, weak glow of their own. The summer was reaching breaking point.

On the High Street, just up from the river, two young men stood at the edge of the pedestrian section of road, each with a fiddle in a case tucked under his arm. The High Street used to be the centre of town before most of the shops moved out to the nearby retail park. The young men were standing across the road from the Town House, next to McDonalds. Street furniture littered the pedestrian walkway - benches and spindly water-parched bushes, council-watered flower-pots and faux-Victorian street signs - while a few Invernessians weaved slowly around the obstacle course to peer in the windows at hot shop assistants. But most people did their shopping elsewhere these days, and used the town centre as a meeting-place. Knots of teenagers stood about, filling the street with yellow summer dresses, long legs and laughter. Parents took struggling babies out in pushchairs and sunhats, and tourists stared at everyone as if Inverness was a display in a theme park.

The two young men with the fiddles looked at the piper standing opposite McDonalds. His piping almost drowned out the sound of the guitarist in the close mid-way down the High Street, while around the corner in Inglis Street, at the other end of the pedestrianised section, a tiny girl in full Highland regalia enthralled the tourists by playing a clarsach almost as big as herself. There was no room in this part of town for any more buskers. The piper had told the two young men as much when he had stopped for a break, quickly and with a practiced hand counting out the coins from the open music case that lay at his feet, and sorting out the larger denominations to put in a safer place. 'Where are you from?' he had asked them, and when the lads had admitted to being from Cape Breton, he had broken into a smile. 'Everyone knows the best fiddlers come from Cape Breton. But listen, mate, I'm here all year round, you know. There's not much money in winter, and I have to make up for it in summer. I need the money to go to the RSAMD in Glasgow for their new Celtic music course, like... you could try round the corner, see if Judith's packed up her clarsach for the afternoon yet'. He shouldered his pipes and stepped back to his position at the wall, posing for photos with happy tourists, who shook his hand and left him another few coins. 'Good luck MacMasters!', he called over to Calum and Finlay, whose Scottish names marked them out as sons of ancestry-obsessed New Worlders.

Inverness used to be a town. It used to be a place where you could walk down the High Street and it would take all day because you had to stop and talk to everyone that you knew. It was made a city by the Queen for the millennium, and the small town grown large had not yet adjusted to its new status. It was as if there were two Invernesses, side by side, uneasily co-existing in the thundery air. One was full of new people: incomers who walked through anonymous city streets where they knew no one and shopped in chain stores; and one full of people who stopped to talk, who knew each others' parents and remembered what had happened to them all together when they were sixteen and first saw summers like this.

Old men who had forgotten the conventions they grew up in, but who had not adjusted to living in a city, lurked in shadows and old Inverneesian pub corners. But old women who forget conventions were suddenly out in the summer air, walking along the streets of the town every day where previously they would have been living an indoor life. Jenny, for example: she kept herself clean and neat, she caused no trouble - but she was always around, always walking through town. That was how you knew she was mad. That and the pockets: she was smartly dressed, with little black heeled shoes with a shiny gold buckle on the front, but all over her clothes she had sewn extra pockets. She was known in Inverness as Jenny of the Pockets.'


Jennifer Morag Henderson grew up in Culloden and now lives in Inverness. She has had stories, poems and articles published in Scotland and Canada. She is the editor of the Highland literary magazine 'Random Acts of Writing' which publishes three times a year. Jennifer also organises special literary projects. Her recent published works include:

- Biographical essay on sculptor Alexander Munro, and poem inspired by Munro's works; featured in the 'Reflections' exhibition and accompanying magazine at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (2008).

- 'Cacerolazo' in 'Random Acts of Writing' magazine, Issue 11. This is a short story about Argentina's 2001 financial crisis, a subject Jennifer first became interested in when carrying out interviews for her radio show on Canadian station CKDU-FM.

- 'Jenny of the Pockets', a short story in 'Riptide: New Writing from the Highlands & Islands' (2007).

Jennifer holds an MA in English Language and Sociology from the University of Glasgow, and a Graduate degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. She also speaks fluent French. She has worked in various aspects of the book trade, including publishing, bookselling, bookshop management and library admin.

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'Jenny of the Pockets'

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

audio; literary landscapes; short stories

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Jennifer Morag Henderson

'Jenny of the Pockets' by Jennifer Morag Henderson, from the anthology, 'Riptide'.<br /> <br /> It was a hot day in Inverness. The sun drenched the city centre in light, saturating the buildings until they emitted a warm, weak glow of their own. The summer was reaching breaking point.<br /> <br /> On the High Street, just up from the river, two young men stood at the edge of the pedestrian section of road, each with a fiddle in a case tucked under his arm. The High Street used to be the centre of town before most of the shops moved out to the nearby retail park. The young men were standing across the road from the Town House, next to McDonalds. Street furniture littered the pedestrian walkway - benches and spindly water-parched bushes, council-watered flower-pots and faux-Victorian street signs - while a few Invernessians weaved slowly around the obstacle course to peer in the windows at hot shop assistants. But most people did their shopping elsewhere these days, and used the town centre as a meeting-place. Knots of teenagers stood about, filling the street with yellow summer dresses, long legs and laughter. Parents took struggling babies out in pushchairs and sunhats, and tourists stared at everyone as if Inverness was a display in a theme park.<br /> <br /> The two young men with the fiddles looked at the piper standing opposite McDonalds. His piping almost drowned out the sound of the guitarist in the close mid-way down the High Street, while around the corner in Inglis Street, at the other end of the pedestrianised section, a tiny girl in full Highland regalia enthralled the tourists by playing a clarsach almost as big as herself. There was no room in this part of town for any more buskers. The piper had told the two young men as much when he had stopped for a break, quickly and with a practiced hand counting out the coins from the open music case that lay at his feet, and sorting out the larger denominations to put in a safer place. 'Where are you from?' he had asked them, and when the lads had admitted to being from Cape Breton, he had broken into a smile. 'Everyone knows the best fiddlers come from Cape Breton. But listen, mate, I'm here all year round, you know. There's not much money in winter, and I have to make up for it in summer. I need the money to go to the RSAMD in Glasgow for their new Celtic music course, like... you could try round the corner, see if Judith's packed up her clarsach for the afternoon yet'. He shouldered his pipes and stepped back to his position at the wall, posing for photos with happy tourists, who shook his hand and left him another few coins. 'Good luck MacMasters!', he called over to Calum and Finlay, whose Scottish names marked them out as sons of ancestry-obsessed New Worlders. <br /> <br /> Inverness used to be a town. It used to be a place where you could walk down the High Street and it would take all day because you had to stop and talk to everyone that you knew. It was made a city by the Queen for the millennium, and the small town grown large had not yet adjusted to its new status. It was as if there were two Invernesses, side by side, uneasily co-existing in the thundery air. One was full of new people: incomers who walked through anonymous city streets where they knew no one and shopped in chain stores; and one full of people who stopped to talk, who knew each others' parents and remembered what had happened to them all together when they were sixteen and first saw summers like this.<br /> <br /> Old men who had forgotten the conventions they grew up in, but who had not adjusted to living in a city, lurked in shadows and old Inverneesian pub corners. But old women who forget conventions were suddenly out in the summer air, walking along the streets of the town every day where previously they would have been living an indoor life. Jenny, for example: she kept herself clean and neat, she caused no trouble - but she was always around, always walking through town. That was how you knew she was mad. That and the pockets: she was smartly dressed, with little black heeled shoes with a shiny gold buckle on the front, but all over her clothes she had sewn extra pockets. She was known in Inverness as Jenny of the Pockets.' <br /> <br /> <br /> Jennifer Morag Henderson grew up in Culloden and now lives in Inverness. She has had stories, poems and articles published in Scotland and Canada. She is the editor of the Highland literary magazine 'Random Acts of Writing' which publishes three times a year. Jennifer also organises special literary projects. Her recent published works include: <br /> <br /> - Biographical essay on sculptor Alexander Munro, and poem inspired by Munro's works; featured in the 'Reflections' exhibition and accompanying magazine at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (2008).<br /> <br /> - 'Cacerolazo' in 'Random Acts of Writing' magazine, Issue 11. This is a short story about Argentina's 2001 financial crisis, a subject Jennifer first became interested in when carrying out interviews for her radio show on Canadian station CKDU-FM.<br /> <br /> - 'Jenny of the Pockets', a short story in 'Riptide: New Writing from the Highlands & Islands' (2007).<br /> <br /> Jennifer holds an MA in English Language and Sociology from the University of Glasgow, and a Graduate degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. She also speaks fluent French. She has worked in various aspects of the book trade, including publishing, bookselling, bookshop management and library admin.