Claire tells me of a post-apocalyptic novel she once read. It featured a community built on iron stilts in the middle of a bog. To keep ‘them’ at bay the people had to set the bog alight but as the peat was gradually consumed the evil came closer and closer. If you recognise this book do let me know (though I can’t promise I’ll read it).
On the train to Edinburgh this morning I got chatting to Ian. He was telling me about his first job as a teacher in Unst, the most northerly inhabited of the Shetland Isles. The post came with a house- attached to the school- and a peat bank (and tusker for cutting it). Although the days when each pupil would bring a peat to school to warm the classroom were past, during the winter months Ian’s Raeburn stove would be on all day as his kitchen doubled as the staff room.
Islay peat road.
Peat black Aberdeen Angus cattle from Mosston Muir farm at the Fife Show today.
Lovely drying weather.
a small corner of ‘The Peatlands’.
Of All That Ends’ by Gunter Grass p.75/8
From ‘How and where we will be laid to rest.’
In this late essay Grass is describing the preparations he and his wife are making for their funerals and burial.
“…Over the course of time no longer ours, all would decay, the box and its contents. Only bones large and small, the ribs, and the skull might remain, unlike the bodies buried in the bog in Schleswig-Holstein, now placed on show under glass in the Schloss Gottorf Museum. Those bones turned soft; you could still see tissue, skin and knotted hair, as well as bits of clothing, relics of a ghastly prehistoric Age, of scientific value, eagerly sought as fodder for bog-bodies stories, like the one of a young girl whose face was covered with a strip of cloth in punishment for some atrocity that could scarcely be imagined.”
Peat bog/cotton buds