The Dean of Drumnadrochit



Woody and I
parked my Lambretta
beside the village hall.

From here, as if in Vietnam
we could clamber up the hill
through a muddy undergrowth
and down again unseen
behind the hotel staff quarters.

I was the burning romantic one
The Outsider, the Dean of Drumnadrochit
the Brando of Ballachulish
Woody was the rough lad from The Isles
tall and crinkly round the eyes
as if his whole 17 years of life
had been an unexpressed joke
he was waiting for a chance
to laugh at.

He wanted to join the RAF.
and I would be a writer.
We made a solid pair
with a purpose…..
absurd it was
but lacerating ourselves for first lust
in a black September night
was a suppressed laugh
and a uniting influence.
It was also absurd
and beyond discussion
that the hotel management
didn’t allow visitors in the maids’ rooms.
Predictable and unacceptable….
(the silly old reactionaries)
and it gave us the bond
we craved.
I had seen The Guns of Navarone.
Woody, who often watched TV
was familiar with Milk Tray adverts.

Dressed in black polo-necks
we fell into ditches
and whispered and signed
and covered each other
down through the dimly moonlit brambles
to the cottage where the girls were.

We knocked furtively
and the door was opened fast
by Lindsay
who was sliding chocolates
between her ripe red lips
and who giggled
and flashed her black eyes
over my shoulder
in case the boss was watching.

It was somehow recognised
that she was mine
though there was no reason
to presume this
except we had already kissed
at the Barn Dance.
She was vivid
in tight
blue denim flares
white shirt
on white breasts
red scarf
below lipstick.

Woody was whisked
to another room,
and I followed Lindsay
like a dog follows
someone with a stick
as she chattered
with  gleaming teeth
opened two cans of export,
sat us on the couch
and kissed me violently
with beery breath
and an Aberdeen accent. 

Lindsay was good at snogging
on couches.

All the time we kissed and groped
and rolled in her long black hair
she was telling me about Maurice.
Maurice, an older taller boy
who went to more dances
was apparently
the world’s greatest lover.
Maurice, a bit of a smoothie
but wow was he good in bed.
Not sure if she liked him
but hey she certainly liked his loving.
I listened to this
as we clasped each other close
feeling a mixture
of libido
and terror
at this simultaneous rejecting
and receiving.
Why did she talk about Maurice?
I was ready to give her my passion,
my love even
and the desire hurt
even more than the jealousy.
I had an aching in my heart
and in my crotch,
and it seemed that night
that there was an aching

she said it
because she was a sex-maniac who didn’t care
because she was falling in love with Maurice
and I would do meantime,
because she just wanted me to be unsure
in order to control me,
she said it because she was a sadist
because someone had told her to say it.
she didn’t mean it
she did
she thought I was too


I heard giggles and squeaks upstairs
then cans opening
outside in the hall,
a laughing Woody
came in with more beer
two chambermaids
and a joke about it.

We were flushed under a blanket,
breaking our wrists to reach each other’s genitals
though she was muttering something
about a Bloody Mary
which I presumed
I didn’t understand
because I wasn’t a Catholic.
We buttoned our waistbands and flies
and I put Lindsay’s red scarf round my neck
muzzling into the last warm
hormonal fragrance of it
and left, still wearing it
for the cold assault course up the hill
beer swinging round my belly
long sighing murmurs below it
and a dark excitement
circling my abdomen
by the harsh route
back to the community hall.

Once out of earshot
Woody was loud and proud
about his victories and acquisitions,
though I suspect he didn’t believe
in risking unwanted pregnancy either.
(Penetration was of course
out of the question
because no contraception
was foolproof)
None of that expected laddish
irresponsibility for me,
you wouldn’t catch me
at a shotgun wedding,
or even wielding an unlicensed weapon
I was a principled, old-fashioned boy
or was I perhaps
not only stiff
but scared stiff?

Surely Lindsay hadn’t  actually
done it with Maurice, had she?
I could believe it of Maurice
but surely not her,
girls just dont do that, do they?
(Not any girls that I know anyway.)
Then Woody said something smutty
about Lindsay
and I glowed with pride silently.

On the way home
the Lambretta skidded on gravel
going round Carr’s Corner.
I lost control and Donny Mc.Phee, the builder
from Torlundy was coming the other way
with a full load in his dumper truck.
Donny had to take therapy for years
and was never the same again.
I left intensive care after 10 days
and made a full recovery.
Woody lost an arm,
both legs were almost severed
and he lay screaming under the truck 2 hours.
He never made it to the RAF
and decided to become a writer
which he learned to do with his left hand.

I joined the ambulance service
and kept Lindsay’s red scarf
for the next ten years
sniffing it occasionally
when I felt like a memory.
Eventually I threw the wool fabric away
but stored the red scarf inside
my personality
where I’ve carried it
into my eighties.

These days
I watch TV alot
with my wife of 40 yrs.
I shuffle out of the bathroom
with a yellow stain spreading on my trousers
slump on our couch
and wonder about
the future of my grandchildren.
I think about matters
of philosophy
religious belief
and the great

Most of all
I worry about Maurice









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