The Ghosts of Glaschoile
There’s someone in the passageway; the glimpse of a hem and white arms wrapping a shawl against the blast, as she collects a box of mackerel from outside the Tradesmen’s Door.
Bluff talk, hearty with a good day’s sport, sleeps in the sofa cushions; and fireside tales, whiskey softened, have embedded in the beams and mantle with the birch-smoke.
Scratched in the baths enamel, which no amount of scouring can whiten; the scent of sleepy children soaking off beach silt, honey and fish-scales into peat-brown water.
Remnants of raised voices sound in the whine and boil of pipework; squabbles over an eagle feather, a woman’s shout to ‘not forget the carrots, from Inverie.’
And on the frayed fibres of brown and mustard carpets; imprints of evening heels, of damp wool and skin rubbed coarse by a day in dubinned leather stalking on the hills.
In the lavatory on the landing, thumbprints lurk in junk-shop stacks of magazines; where generations of Gents have mused on taxes, and how to tie a fishing fly.
Oaths and gossip are layered in the paintwork, slapped onto sills on short fine days by handymen; who came by cart; by clapped-out Landrover, whistling along the Glaschoile Road.