Friday, April 11, 2008


I'm taking a break from kidding season, moving hay and building gardens for a little while- I find myself getting up early and going to bed when the sun goes down. I can feel myself getting stronger and more physically able since we had the house fire in May 2000- and this year, it looks like we may go over the top to have the house built, gardens growing well and soap/handmade clothing business moving along well.

I took a bee keeping seminar a few weeks ago and the other day the wife of the fellow who gave the course called to say that I had won a hive of bees! So, it looks like we will have honey to go along with our milk.

I've had this story niggling around in my brain for a while- even though it is written in first person objective, it is loosely based on a real series of events, but names, places and things have been changed. A sweet story of discovery. I give you-

Three of Strings-

One day I was walking in Edinburgh and went past an antique store. Since I was not sure what had drawn me in the door, I set about looking in all the little nooks and crannies for....hmm, I don't know- some treasure or something written long ago in a book, perhaps words of love whispered by sweethearts long passed away.

As I rounded the corner beside the ancient counter, in amongst the flotsam on top, was a small basket with various random objects inside. Beads, bits of old jewelry, pieces of metal and what looked like three strings- old gut strings, like from an old harp or stout stringed instrument. Without thinking, I pulled them out of the basket and held them a bit, wondering if they were still able to do what they were made for, or perhaps they would be just the right thing for stringing some of the beads.

About that time, an old voice seemingly filled with pipe smoke spoke from deep within the gray light of the shop- 'I always knew you'd come- anyone sees what these strings are has the highlands in em'. Let me show you around...' And for the next two hours, he showed me the shop- all three levels. The basement was filled with old books, magazines and manuscripts- this place was not a place to take in all in one day-

The last place he took me was to the top of the attic, where the precious things were kept. He withdrew an old key and opened the creaking lock and there with a beam of sunlight was an old clarsach. Why it must have been 150 years old at the very least- and it was missing those three strings. Still, it shivered with the hum of the building, even thoughthe strings were silent.

'This has been sitting here for many years. I never got around to putting those strings back on the harp- I've never worked in wood to know how they do.....Say, would you take this with you and make it sing again? When you get it looked at, and know how to play it, come back here and let me hear you play....' The shopkeeper asked hopefully.

And as I left the shop, back into bright day, I noticed there was an inlay on the soundboard- 'To Mairi' it said, 'on our wedding day'.