…this is all a tad silly. I’ve got a blog sitting here and doing absolutely nothing. I suppose my excuse is that I am so incredibly busy these days since my enforced change of life (thank you Magnus) that I barely have time to breathe, let alone blog. This must change!
Please watch this space for new about The Owl Memory and The Monster Factory. It’s difficult writing two books at once but as they are so intertwined I can’t really do one without the other. Archie, you really must hold fire on these adventures for a while, that goes for you too Ben!
I’ve been watching a number of these ‘finding a monster’ programmes recently and I have to say that I’m completely mystified. What they are doing essentially is hunting and one of the most important requisites for hunting anything, whether you intend to kill it or record it, is stealth. You need to be quiet, you need to take scent and wind direction into account, you need to be still or move only slowly, you should not be shining lights and, above all, you should not have a camera crew faffing around.
If any of these programmes does come across anything it will almost certainly be by accident…but if they want to learn some real skills, come to the Highlands of Scotland and spend a week with an old stalker, he’ll put them right.
I have just spent the afternoon at a lovely old house organising the gorgeous collection of books they have. It’s a holiday home so I was on my own and time was not pressing. I had tea and a rather nice lemon drizzle cake to sustain me.
The clock on the mantle ticked softly as I studied the wonderful old works by Peter Scott and the like. I barely registered the door opening and closing until a moment later a chill breeze swept over me. I looked up to see, well, nothing, nothing at all.
I put it down to the lousy weather we had today and bent back to the books. A few minutes later I looked up to take my tea cup. Across the table from me, appearing to sit in one of the chairs was a patch of greyness, indistinct but identifiably of a human shape. As I watched the greyness shimmered and dissolved. I sat, rooted to my chair, for fully five minutes trying to make sense of the encounter. Now, back at the Dower House, comfortable in my own study, I still can think of no rational answer.
It’s perfectly true too…I have some stills from the security cameras somewhere and will dig them out.
It happened a few years ago now at a small but busy hospital in the Highlands of Scotland. In the wee small hours the door alarm was triggered but when staff went to let in whoever it was who needed help there was no one there.
Later, when the CTCV camera was checked a pair of otters could clearly be seen at the glass door, standing on their hind legs, obviously trying to get in. They made off when the alarm sounded. A cute little story but even stranger was to come. The next morning the cleaners spotted a mess on the glass. On closer inspection it turned out to be bloody otter paw prints.
Had this pair of animals come to the hospital looking for help? Who can tell?
I have just learnt that there is to be a huge new wind farm just down the road in the Monadliath Mountains. This is a shocking and unwelcome development. I am unconvinced of their effectiveness and they despoil pristine hill country. I am convinced, however, that there is someone in someone else’s pocket. Now, I am all for eco-friendly power, indeed, Strathnuin has had hydro since my ancestors installed it in the late 1800s but wind turbines are not the way forward.
We need to be installing more micro hydro, more solar and more pumped storage hydro to make use of day time solar excess. Every new house built now should have solar. We should be spending more time and money investigating wave and tidal power and the potential of seawater osmotic power. In twenty years time we will be wringing our hands and sobbing that we have covered all the wild places with useless wind turbines.
There, sorry, rant over.