tied up the laces yawmng, then moved back upstream
gathering shiny branches.
When I got to the tent I threw the shiny branches
into the ashes. Sunset was starting. I tore tiny twigs and
cones from a branch in the big heap I'd gathered the
weekend before. The twigs and cones were so tinder-dry
you could just set ﬁre to them using the goldish lighter.
few thinner branches on top got a good strong heart in
the bleeze. I saw juicy sap from one twig bubbling and
popping out from its torn end, then a little jet of smoke
rings came puttering out before the end ﬂared up and sap
dripped into the red hot embers underneath. More twigs
got piled on, crackling up and glowing bright till they
turned to white tubes and fell in. The smoke shot straight
up into the still-bright sky. It was fairly blazing so's I
dragged across the log I'd been saving with the long
branch on it. I put it so the sticking out bits you co畬dnt
break off were across the ﬂames.
cloud of red hot cin
ders shot up.
Down the river I ﬁlled the billy can. Kneeling over
the water, sunset going on, everything was luminous.
When taking the billy can up the brae I held out one arm
to balance me. I could hear the ﬁre's crackle before I
came up over the grassy bank. I hung the b楬ly can, shift
ing it so the tips of ﬂames ended just under its bottom.
Back down the river you could smell smoke in my
hair when I ﬁshed out the margarine and m楬k. With the
gentle light from above and the pitch black trees in front
of me, coming back up the brae was l楫e being held in a
big purple glove.
Midges were start楮g so I walked away from the ﬁre
and tore up green bracken, caw-cannying not to slash my
ﬁngers on stalks. I used the stick to lift the billy can off the
ﬂames using both my hands and tottering a bit. The sticky
out branch on the log had burnt away. With the toe of my
boot I gave the trunk a sharp shove 楮to the heart then
jumped back as sparks shot up. I layered the bracken on
top so's it began to put out
hen I looked up from the sipp楮g of the coffee, shaky
blobs of stars were pushing out above me. The pasta
was bo楬ed enough so I held the lid at the rim with my
towel then lay the billy can on its side. Starchy water
drained out through the little holes and I plopped in a
blob of margarine. The low-burned ﬁre was good for
cooking. I fried the chopped-up onion, tinned tomats and
kidney beans with burger mix. The heat was on my
cheeks so much, when you turned away you felt coolness.
I tipped up the billy can and the pasta slid out and bub
bled with the sauce. I ate straight out the pan. I blew
steam from my mouth every now and then when I got a
hot bit. I took the odd s睩g from the milk bottle. The sky
was dark and sheets of stars were trembling above me.
I lit a Silk Cut off embers then gazed into the ﬁre.
It'd died down and the cinders t楮歬ed. The light from
the ﬁre was throwing out less and less shadow round the
tent. The dark outline of 慬l the mountains was round me.
The butt of a Silk Cut lit up in the ashes. A shadow
wobbled by the tent. I yawned and there was a buzzing in
my ears. I unzipped the front of the tent then crawled in.
irds were singing and I pushed aside the ﬂap. You
could smell the night leaving the earth and everything
waking. 䅮 ancient-looking sun was drumming up the
loch and offof the water. Another scorcher starting. I
climbed out the tent and stretched my hands-to-the-high
sky. I put on the sandals and walked down to the river in
my jammy bottoms.
I threw water up in my face and didnt dry though
cold drops dripped down. When I brushed my teeth I
was standing up in the sun squ楮ting at the high ridges
where I'd seen three deer the last weekend. Three deer,
standing, looking right at me.
I carried 慬l the cooking things down to the water
and rinsed the billy can out. Some pale bits of conchiglie
pasta ﬂoated away round the rocks and were carried
through the pools and streamlets. I cleaned out the empty
cans then scoured the saucepan with clumps of grass be
fore dunking it in the current.
I ﬁ汬ed the billy can and climbed the brae, one arm
out holding the saucepan, then p楬ed more sticks on the
dusty ash to set a ﬁre going.
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I drank two cups coffee quick then made another. I
walked slowly down the brae and set up on a boulder
with my Silk Cuts and goldish lighter. It was already
lunchtime, you could see from the position of the sun.
After smoking a couple I hopped the stones to my toilet
bag and took out the shampoo. I crossed and unhooked
the towel giving it a good shake. I'd just got to the stones
and was starting to move downstream when I heard it.
I jerked my head up and did a big breath. Kicking
out sheets of splashes I crossed to the bank where you
heard it again, queerly distinctive in the glen the way you
can distinguish moonlight from streetlight in the port.
I took a run at the brae and was panting up the top.
In front of the tent I tipped the billy can water onto the
ﬁre and there was a whoosh of sudden steam. I pulled on
a T -shirt then in the tent got the little denim skirt. When
I crawled out the tent I sighed. I could even make out the
words the voice was echoing up the glen:
YOO HOO, MORVERN. YOO HOO.
YOO HOO MORVERN
I trudged up to the backroad. There was heat-haze
far down the single track of tarmac; through it some
colours smeared together. It looked like she was bounc
ing: she was on her bicycle.
Shaking my head I trotted down to the tent. Lanna
was riding up over the concrete bridge, her thighs were
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taut, stood up as she was on the pedals. She sat on the
saddle then came shaking down the bank, swishing
through the bracken and screaming. She jumped off the
bike as it was moving: it clunked down. Lanna kept
running towards me and stopped so's I'd to take a step
Found you buggerlugs. I saw the smoke. Look at the
tan youve got you holy terror; it's boiling, eh? she says.
How did you ﬁnd me?
Your smoke, can see it miles back. I left the port
before seven; it was a totally gorgeous mo牮ing. Red
Hanna's at V the D's so's I just cycled out and he goes
that you were this way. He did me a map:
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We walked in the tent direction.
My sweet arse is killing me; mustve cycled seven
m楬e. Dont you get scared here? says Lanna looking up
We汬, men could just come along and rape you.
What men? Theres two cars gone up the backroad
since Friday night.
Dont you get the spooks on your own?
Nut, I goes.
What are you smiling at? Lanna says.
It's weird hearing my voice out loud, I goes.
Lanna looked about again and says, Well I would
get the spooks. The hi汬s have eyes, Granny Couris Jean
How is she?
I was over the other day and she was asking about
you. I just told her that you were camping on your own
every weekend and that we were away to a resort.
Do you want to come swimming cause I've to wash
my hair? I says.
Is it not got biting ﬁsh
Nah, I goes grabbing the towel.
sing my ﬁngers I smeared more fresh mud out the little
hole and across Lanna's cheekbones. Her eyes looked
mentally white with the blackishness of the muck round.
I caked more onto her forehead then up into the
I knew this would be a good facepack when I saw it,
digging my little toilet up round that bend,
Lanna wiped more wetter stuff on my dried mask then
she squashed a few rowan berries and heather onto my
forehead where it stuck. I ﬁxed some berries on Lanna's
Cmon, do the fertility dance, says Lanna.
We both leaped up and hunched over, circling and
grunting in a dance. Lanna'd taken her top off and
brownness blackishness was splattered down her tits.
Escape harmful rays with this remarkable Factor
Twelve, goes Lanna ﬂickering her eyes.
I laughed and it echoed back from the cliff.
We started moving downriver. Where the grass
ended in the bank of sand and pebbles at the river edge
Now caw-canny on boulders cause if you fall you'll
break your leg in a split second, I says.
We moved from boulder to boulder. I let Lanna go
ﬁrst. I watched her body from behind as she jumped,
balanced; then jumped on. Sometimes her tits pulled up
and almost disappeared when she held her hands out and
moved her arms in a carousel as she yelped and tried to
balance. I popped up on the stone beside her and we
laughed into each's mud-pack-face. Lanna clung with an
arm then leapt on.
When we got to the pool I chucked the towel on the
This is pretty brilliant, goes Lanna.
I says, It's deep in the mid摬e. See, if you keep your
pumps on you could jump oﬀ up there into the deep bit.
Dare you then.
You too. Youre covered in it too ya mink.
We stripped off except for our feet then climbed up
round the huge boulder and paddled across the deeper
water with Lanna holding my hand. I tugged her up the
other bank into long grass that tickled my shins.
I need to, Lanna says getting down among the grass
and flowering sweet violet; her sharp, crouching bottom
suddenly widened, outlined against the bright, then spar
歬ing grass under her.
Up at me she says, I stopped at The Glue Pot for a
We stepped out on the jutting rock. Lanna rested
her mucky face on my shoulder, a berry fell oﬀ her cheek
as she goes, Woops, you go ﬁrst.
No ways; both together, I went.
We held hands and looked at each other. I says, Re
member, right in the middle and dont go and do a
bomber or you might hit rock, just keep legs straight,
right . . . ? ready to push oﬀ the bottom. The water'll
slow us but it'll be really perishing so dont get a fright.
We plucked up the courage then I goes, One,
We both screamed. 䅩r moved past me. I turned my
head, saw that with the hand that wasnt squeezing mine
Lanna was gripping her nose.
We hit water. Coldness punched my chest and there
was a boom. Lanna pulled her hand away. I opened my
eyes and saw:
Bubbles, the copperishness of the water with big
bars of sun going through and through.
I surfaced beside Lanna. The wave our splash
caused was cupping against the cliff and sherbety bubbles
were tickling up my thighs.
Again, again, bawled Lanna.
O睷 it's freezing, I coughed out and pushed over to
the warm rocks. I climbed out with my head held down,
blackish drips fell on my bosoms: Blood, was what I obvi
ously supposed and reached up with a ﬁnger. It was the
mud running offof my face.
Lanna was doing doggy-paddle across the pool, her
head held straight up in a funny way and big mud-shad
ows under her eye sockets.
Looking at her I laughed then swa汬owed.
I kneeled gently on my knees and pulled handfuls of
water up into my face till there was no mud on me.
Cmon again, went Lanna from the other side of the
pool where she was clung to a branch with her toes stick
Cmon. Cowardy ben, cowardy ben, bawled Lanna
to egg me on.
sat smoking Silk Cuts and watched Lanna's pale body
appear through the birch trees and mellow shadows up
by the jutting rock. Her freckles seemed to match the
frills of bright sun being let through the leaves behind
her. The ginger hair that tu牮ed blackish when wet was
slapped in a rope over behind her back. She smiled down
at me then jumped.
Lanna' d the elbow of the arm she squeezed her nose
with ﬁrmly against her bosom. Her sandshoes pointed in
a dainty way as she zipped into the water with a crack
then came up with a deep laugh. She crawled out the
pool with the water that dripped from her, hissing on the
We were quiet for a good bit just smo歩ng.
down by the water then started shampooing my hair.
Lanna watched, saying nothing.
I squeezed water out the hair then lay face down
with my arms by my sides.
Lanna was sat in the shady bit under the big boulder
smo歩ng my Si汫 Cuts.
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