A woggle of witches

Woggle of Witches

Today has been most unproductive as I have been looking after my wee lad, the wee’st of my bairns incidentally. Archer, for that is the name of the beastie, has been poorly throughout last night and the majority of today.

These few lines require substantial work,I wrote it a year ago if memory serves correct; as such, I am at last revisiting and tidying as necessary. You should be able to get the idea though; for after the read, and as usual, the picture above has something, although I am not entirely sure what yet, embedded in it as is my routine.

Love you all more than I love potato scones for breakfast,

Hamish xxx

“What do you mean your name is ‘Bast’?” said the old lady an hour after the comfortable work worn old boat had slipped away.

“It is ‘Bast’! Really it is!” said the scrawny barefoot lass in a high and piping voice.

“But ‘Bast’?  What does it mean, ‘Bast’?” Persisted the old lady.  “Bast?”

“Da called me it.  It is short for ‘Bastard’.” said the lass with great pride, as the elderly lady’s jaw slowly dropped, then closed again.

“Hmmmmmm…….well, I think ‘Bast’ is a better name for wee lasses as the likes of yourself.  Now dear, do you know why your Da gave you that name?  It is something one rarely hears as a name.” said the witch.

“Well, Da was listening to this lad who was travelling all around with a book, and doing the ‘converting’.  My name was in that book, and Da got told it was a good book, and Da heard that name from the man doing the converting. So because it was in a good book, that’s what he called me.” said Bast swelling with greater triumph.

It was the longest conversation she had ever had with any adult that actually listened to what she said.  This was an adult who listened with her ears and eyes, taking in everything about the child, both voice and action.

“Very interesting dear; now what does your Da call your brothers and sisters?” said the elderly lady unable to stop herself picking at the scab of interest.

“I have a big brother he calls ‘Pict’, a sister named ‘Iona’, another sister named ‘Somerled’ then there’s me biggest brother ‘Mad Oengus’ what’s all growed up.” she grinned.

On completion of their conversation, a cup of suspiciously potent tea was taken by all, followed by a little lie down.

Bast’s education had begun.

An unseen aura seemed ever present about the boat.  The elderly lady became ‘Grandma Hazel’, and the old man was simply called ‘Grandpa’, Bast discovered one evening after a meal of fish, cabbage and boiled potato. Grandma Hazel, an old lady in Bast’s eyes, yet no more than fifty years of age to the eye of an adult.

“Appearances are everything” she confided in Bast one evening.  This revelation was made in between adding handfuls of some rather noxious smelling herbs, or ‘greenery’ as she liked to call them, into an almost spherical three legged pot.  The opening was lesser than the girth of the soot blackened iron creation, possessing a handle of wire, and a lid that could be clamped down upon it.  Sealing it entirely, and effectively creating a bomb of sorts should it be left over the fire too long.

“What does that mean?” said Bast, locking Grandma Hazel with the steel gaze unique to small children, cats, naval officers, and the insane.

“Well dear, that means that what people see, not what actually is, is what is most important on the outside.  Do you understand?” said Grandma Hazel, never once talking to Bast in the tones of an adult talking to a child, or more importantly, an idiot.


“Now, here is an example, and we have spoken of examples before.  Look at me, really look at me, and tell me what do you see?”

“You?” said Bast quietly after a few seconds nervous contemplation.

“Yes, however, if you didn’t know me, tell me what you would see.”

Seconds longer than hours ticked away in Bast’s five year old head.  The noxious smelling greenery that had gone into the pot had become an entirely evil, and far more toxic smelling, seething and bubbling mess.  Bast edged back from it, and Grandma Hazel said “well?”

“I see an old lady with a big warty nose, not enough teeth, funny grey hair, a pointy hat, and black clothes.” blurted Bast.

Smiling, Grandma Hazel went onto say “well done my dear.  That is my appearance, but now what does that mean?”

“It means that you are an old lady?” Bast displaying the keen eye of a five year old girl, therefore completely accurate.

“Splendid!  Correct again!  That is what I hope people see, but that is not who I am.  If I was sitting on a chair out of doors and in a village, completely naked what would people see?”

“Pffffffttttt………..your boobies.” said a now tittering Bast.  Hands over the mouth and blushing.

“Yes they would.  But would they think I was just an old lady with grey hair and a warty nose?”

“No.  They would think you were a crazy person and burn you, and then everyone would cheer, and all of the Da’s would get wobbly drinking lots of whiskey and ale.” said Bast.

“Indeed they would.  But would I be any different if I sat on the same seat wearing these clothes?  Of course not, but it is only what people see that they believe to be real.  Not what actually is.  Do you understand my dear?”

“Yes Grandma Hazel.”

And that was that.  It was to be a lesson that Bast would unwittingly cherish and utilise  for the rest of her long life.

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