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Tuesday 28 February 2012


There was a smallish hostel, I recall,
high on the Old Moor, with no road. A flinty track.
The mountain bikes we have today might just have made 
it there. Not so the cycles we had then. We played it safe
and walked them to the top. Then through enclosures
where the pigs roamed free, and we'd arrived.
First thing we saw: a notice in red paint:
NEW CYCLE TYRES FOR SALE No need to wonder why.

Self catering. The shop was out of food. Just bread
was still in stock. A makeshift supper, then next day
we're off to hunt for gulls' eggs for our toast.
(One more black mark against my youth.) And as we ate,
the warden told us of a village lost to sight and sound -
but he knew where! Below the Gulls Cliff Rocks. The gulls
were villagers, now elevated to the spirit medium of air.
We went to see. Saw nothing - not surprisingly, 

we thought. That night, provisioned now, we're back
and asking him again. The village never had existed,
he tells us, except in their imaginations. Then came
the great rock fall, rocks raining down on them -
from heaven, so some said. It was too much for them.
Imaginations could not quite sustain it under such
an onslaught. Thus, in its turn the village fell
into a darkness greater than all other darknesses.
Lost to sight and sound. Lost to man for ever.

Which did not quite explain the village sign...
He claimed he'd found it, down among the rocks.
It had been hung in pride of place, above
the basins in the wash room: GARWAAN


Elephant's Child said...

Pull the other one?

Dave King said...

The Elephant's Child
What, the one that's got bells on it?

Mary said...

I feel as if I have just paid a visit to the "Twilight Zone." Eerie.

Dave King said...

Know what you mean. He was a darned good story teller.

Tabor said...

I think I have been to places like this. creepy.

kaykuala said...

Great story-telling Dave! Things we did with the carefree days of youth! How nice!


Brian Miller said...

hehe...i think i would have listened to whatever story he had to tell...quite the yarn puller, he, and you...smiles.

Aliza Khan said...

WOW!!! Ur quiet a story teller and that too in a poem form... AMAZING!!!

Kat Mortensen said...

What! No "mists of may"; no "heather on the hill"?

I actually grimaced when I read the "gulls eggs" bit.

There's a shanachie in your family tree, I'm thinking.

Kat Mortensen said...

And by the way, I thought Garwaan was something out of Tolkien!

Jackie Jordan said...

Rocks raining from the heavens, village barraged out of existence. Sounds eerily like a biblical fable, i.e., Gomorrah. This was an enjoyable story. I'd like to read more along the same lines.

Windsmoke. said...

Bonza tale. I reckon there seems to be more to it :-)

Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil said...

My hometown is Binghamton, NY, home of Rod Serling. I agree with the Twilight Zone comment, although this also had a bit of a European sense of myth to it. Very nice write, David!

Dave King said...

It was a creepy place, yes. Made more so by the warden.

Didn't we just! When I think now...

Ah, well, I shall take that as the compliment I am sure you intended. Thanks.

Hi, and a warm welcome to the blog. Thanks for your visit and the much appreciated comment.

I did at one time begin to think my family tree might be a mango tree. I had to look up shanachie, and what d'ur know? It wasn't there. It was on Wikipedia, though. I am quite chuffed at that. I think I like being called a shanachie - and I've learned a new word. Much thanks.

Ah... I couldn't actually remember the exact name that was on the sign - Oh, yes, there was one! - so I just made it up. Don't tell anyone, but I've never read Tolkien!

Good to have your visit, and much thanks for this. I'll have a try!

Hi, Really good to have your visit and your kind comments. Thank you so much.

Ygraine said...

Delightfully eerie, definitely my kind of post!
Please can we have some more along these lines Dave?

Jenny Woolf said...

Some of those old youth hostels were pretty weird actually. They've sanitised them all now. I have however encountered some bizarre ones in America.