Today’s post, like every post, is a love letter to the woman without whom there would be no, no Stroke Bloke, and no Ricky. Thank you, Beth, m-m-m-my Charon.

It’s also for everyone who cares enough to take the time to click through to Thanks.

It’s to the memory of the people who built my Scotland, but I’m too late to see again: Hugh, Donald, and, most of all, my mum.

Finally, it’s dedicated to our friends Jen, Paul and Jill. It’s been a privilege to spend this time with you, and we’re honoured to be able to call ourselves your friends. Keep applying constraints and finishing things.

And thanks are certainly due to my lovely in-house therapists


200 million years ago, I read
Scotland had been a desert.
Then I left forever.
Sure enough, as we fly over the filigree fingerling fjords of the Forth,
My old home is no more.
The friendly clearances – and mum’s departure – have seen to that,
Even though I recognize my old da’,
A different man, but still an anchor to the harbour below.

On the edge of the new old world, I am scared.
Over 16 years, I traversed the old new world,
And by the time I was through, we were an entirely new group of people.
I am changed, too –
My sandstone heart broken, yet held together by succulent American oak.

So, as I survey this new land, I have strength.
You brought me back from Buckie,
And, my Charon, you sailed me safely across the Styx
So I returned from the underworld alive
Even though I had no coin for you, so owe you everything.
Now, as we stand shoulder to shoulder on this remote peninsula,
Scotland may be gone,
But Caledonia is my adventure with you.

(A) Scotland (B) Brooklyn (C) Love’s Forever Changes (D) All of the above
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10 thoughts on “Caledonia

  1. I can’t believe its taken me so long since meeting you to comment but i have been reading your blog.
    Every best wish for your move back home and thank you so much for making me spit out my wine one evening a few months ago describing your stroke bloke situation having come out of too much mind blowing sex. I think i missed a few people in the bar with my not so dainty mouthful of wine with the guffaw that followed. hope to see you again soon! Beatrice xx

    1. No problem at all. Thanks for reading. And for the kind wishes. Things are going quite well, other than the (spoiler alert) litany of disasters that will no doubt be enumerated in a subsequent point. Do drop us a line if you’re in the area. We’ll do the same.

  2. Happy reverse migration…

    And you may consider this a sacrilege, but until I saw this post the only Caledonia I was familiar with was New Caledonia / Nouvelle Caledonie. I had no idea where it’s namesake is. I’ll be the first to admit I’m British deficient.

    I also have to admit that the line “M-m-m my Charon…” will probably be stuck in my head for a while now.

    1. Ah, yes. Scotland. Ecosse. Scotia. Alba. Pictland. North Britain. And Caledonia, which, though Roman, is possibly and pleasingly from the old Brythonic or Brittonic word for “hard” or “tough”.

      And, only the title line? At least it’s not the opening riff. Eh? Oh.

      1. Caledonia. Alba. Brythonic.

        I’m learning so much new stuff lately. I love this kind of language nerdery.

        Though in defense of my seeming ignorance, I have obscene amounts of useless knowledge when it comes to etymology and linguistic families and historical geography of obscure places. If I ever have a stroke, I hope that’s not all I’m left with. It would be just my luck (and that of everyone around me) to not be able to remember my own name or how to use a phone – but to be able to rant for hours on end about Dravidian grammar.

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