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Thread: Old Jock. A story by Purplefan.

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    Old Jock. A story by Purplefan.

    The wind was howling a right Gail as Old Jock tramped down the long road to his cottage.
    He was out gathering wood for his fire when he forgot about the time, and the snow started up again. It always snowed in these parts of the Highlands but as old Jock searched his memory, he could not remember when it was so cold. He shuddered and pulled the old coal sack he had used as a cape tightly over his shoulders and walked on. The tree lined road glistened with snow and it almost resembled day time because the snow was so think and laying everywhere. He reached into his Sporn and produced an old battered hip flask and pulled out the cork and put it up to his mouth and took a swig nothing. He remembered he drank the last of the water for his lunch and forgot to fill it at the burn. Still there is a nice bottle of whisky waiting for him back at his croft and he squinted his eyes to see if he could see any land marks. Old Jock had walked these woods outside glenfidoch for over 50 years man and boy and knew them like the back of his hand but lately these past couple of years his memory was not so good. One day when he went into the village to ask for some work. Stan at the post office suggested he should go

    They look at me and think I'm cool, I'm purplefan at night I rule.

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    and see a doctor. “A DOCTOR”!! Cried Jock. “Away wi ye man,” i don’t need wan o them”. “A good days work is what i need” Given Stan a wink. Stan said he could do with a hand cleaning out the bins and old Jock tipped his Tam o shanter and went round the back to work. Stan watched as Jock hobbled round and out of sight . He was a proud man and in his younger days worked for the big house as a game keeper to the laird. But an accident left him with a limp and a broken jaw and he had to give it up. The Job came with a cottage and the laird was kind enough to offer it to Jock since he could no longer work and being a proud man would not ask for assistance. He did odd jobs for people in the village and he lived off the land. He had a few traps out on the laird land where he could catch rabbits (the laird’s game keeper would turn a blind eye) and he grew vegetables outside his cottage. Aye, he was a hard working man and would not take charity off anyone. But lately he was finding it difficult getting out of bed and was not going to the village as regular as he used to. He could not see through the blizzard and it was getting heavy. The snow swirled round him like a whirlwind and the trees that lined the road offered him no shelter, so he thought he would walk on till he

    They look at me and think I'm cool, I'm purplefan at night I rule.

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    reached his croft. Can’t be far now, he thought as h shuddered. The wind was worse than the snow. It was a “lazy wind” His Jean would call it. It went right through you instead of round you. As he walked on he could hear the snow crunch under his feet and the snow was now round his ankles. Poor Jock was getting worried, he felt lost and unsure. He tried to light his stick but the wind kept blowing out his match. Keep on ye old trout he would say to himself as he walked down the road. He hoped for a cart to come bye and offer him a lift, he knew if he left the road, and went into the woods it would be worse for him, so he kept on the road and hoped he had not long to go. His fingers tightened round the old coal sack, his legs tired and each step became more difficult he thought he would sit under the big tree for a few minutes to catch his breath. SO he went round the back of the tree out from the gust of wind and sat down the tree was a large oak tree and old Jock had hoped it would give him some shelter. He took out his flask again and remembered it was empty. So he pulled his sack over his head and curled up to keep as warm as possible. He was not sure how long he was asleep for but he woke up with a start and shouted “Jennie Jennie!, come here

    They look at me and think I'm cool, I'm purplefan at night I rule.

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    lass”. He must have been dreaming, he got up and started toward the road again, when out of the corner of his eye he noticed a light. He was sure it was one of the workman’s sheds that kept the game keepers tools, but he was grateful and with a new sense of renewed strength he walked on through the woods, till he reached, to his surprise what was a cottage. There was light on and smoke coming from the chimney. Of course it must be the new people who have come up to work for the laird in the big house. Jock knocked on the door with his fist, and shouted “Anyone there”!?
    The door opened and a middle-aged woman stood there with a huge grin on her face. “Will ye no look at yerself old yin, yer frozen stiff”. Come away in with yerself and sit by the fire. Jock nodded his head with gratefulness and sat by the roaring but welcoming fire. “Whit brings you out on a night like this”? the woman asked in a strong Scottish accent. “Gathering wood”, chattered jock through his clattering teeth forgot about the time, and the snow came on”. “Och ye poor man” ye were lucky ta stumble on our wee cottage” she said handing Jock a well received glass of rum. “Eye, yes indeed” said Jock drinking the rum in one go and looking hopefully for another one. I’m Mary and

    They look at me and think I'm cool, I'm purplefan at night I rule.

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    this is my husband Tam and we will be glad of yer company tonight and ye can go in the morning”. Jock went over and shook Tams hand. “Ye fancy a wee bit of music”? asked Tam in a braw Glasgow Accent. Oh yes, said Jock. I play the mouth organ myself” Tam pulled out a fiddle from behind the big soft Chair that sat by the huge roaring fire that Jock felt warming him up. “Hive yer self some o my baccy” Tam gave Jock a leather pouch from behind the chair and a clay pipe he took from the mantle. “help yer self man” Its ma own recipe” he said as Tam started to play and Jock sat there tapping his feet to the music and Mary brought in a huge pot of soup from the kitchen and placed it on the table. Jock was very happy that he had found shelter but getting fed as well was a bonus. The broth filled his nostrils and soon he hopped his stomach and he light up his smoke and sat back contented. He watched Tam play away and Mary his wife,sitting by the table pouring him out a big bowl of broth and a cut him a big chunk of bread. Tam took it and thanked her. “I thought i was a gone for, he said “till i saw yer light”. “I am right glad of your hospitality and fine food and drink”. Mary wiped her huge hands on her apron that wrapped round her middle and tied at the back. Old

    They look at me and think I'm cool, I'm purplefan at night I rule.

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    Jock recon she was about 50ish but to be honest Most highland woman look a bit older than they are, because of the hard work they put in. Highland woman worked just as hard as their men and in some case more. The music stopped and old Jock clapped his hands in appreciation. “Now are ye ready for some good old fashioned toe tapping shindig music”? Old jock pulled out his mouth organ and played Marries wedding and was surprised to see Mary take her Husband’s Hand and dances round the room. The music and the banter went on for a few hours and Mary put out some blankets for old Jock to sleep on. He would not need then to cover him as the fire roared on. Old Jock thanked his hosts, and watched as they went out the room and closed the door. Old Joke let the warmth of the fire sooth his old bones and he felt relaxed and contented as he began to nod off to sleep.
    As dawn broke out over Glenfiddoch the laird was worried about how the snow had affected his animals so he sent out Hugh and peter to check on them. The road was blocked with snow and you could not tell where the road began and the woods started. Suddenly Peter shouted to Hugh to stop! “look at that”! exclaimed Peter. There next to a tree was the

    They look at me and think I'm cool, I'm purplefan at night I rule.

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    body of a man. He was nearly cover in snow and as Hugh and Pete tried to pick him up they noticed it was Old Jock. “Daft old bugger must have gotten lost”. As they turnd his body over, they noticed a smile on Old Jokes face and they looked at each other puzzled. Then out of the top pocket of his jacket fell an old clay pipe and a pouch containing tobacco. “We can’t leave him here said Hugh, “we will put him in the van and take him back. The laird asked them where he had found him. “In the woods replied Hugh where the old tree cutter cottage used to stand before it collapsed during the snow storm 100 years earlier replied Hugh.

    They look at me and think I'm cool, I'm purplefan at night I rule.

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    Wow purple, that was terrific! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. You have a vivid and colourful imagination. Have you thought of writing a book of short stories? I think you'd be onto a winner! Loved it.

  9. #9
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Surrey. UK
    That was brilliant! I really, really enjoyed that!
    Please always remember that I am always right. I have a framed certificate to prove it.

    When in doubt, stop and think... WWSS? (What Would Suzi Say?)
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  10. #10
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Jane Austen country
    I loved that!
    ‘When all else fails, use glitter instead’

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