Moray's Houses Unvisited

‘You must go to Duff House.’

We didn’t; at a turn in the road, a whim,

We left behind El Greco, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Chippendale.


‘Step back to a bygone age,

And visit Maggie’s Hoosie.’

We went by in a glance.

Her ‘But ‘n’ Ben’, her kettle, pot and kist,

Might have shamed the Duff Earls of Fife,

But this is only speculation.


We neither did ‘discover and enjoy’ the Salmon Bothy at Portsoy,

Its natural refrigeration uninviting in a North Sea gale.


The carnyx of Banff Museum,


(Somehow the word was enough.)


‘Come and have a go!’

At Forndyce Joiners’ Workshop.

We went the other way.


Any of these had shaped us,

If slightly: a painting here;

A battle there;

The haves and have-nots of local history;

Something forged.


Now we are unchippendaled,

Hoosieless, unfrozen,

Carnyxed, unjoined.


Derek Alsop