Friday, 17 October 2008

The Outpost

Do not let them take this away from us

By Elizabeth

The latitude in these parts is far enough North to mean very short winter days. You’re lucky to get five hours daylight in midwinter, and the temperature at this time of the year generally hovers around freezing point.

It’s dark now at barely four’o clock in the afternoon and already the gates are closed at each end of our only street, so no one can get out, but more importantly no one can get in either, at least with a vehicle that is. Our street is wide in the middle, it had to accommodate beast markets in the past, but it narrows at each end to the width of a five-barred gate and this has proved to be most fortuitous. That’s not to say we are totally secure bordered as we are by open pasture and moor land, but that is less of a threat as most of our residents keep four legged early warning systems in their back yards and gardens. The coast nearby is constantly monitored for strange vessels and outlying farms are on the alert.

We have a Kirk, pub, post-office, bank, school, small library, general store, hardware store, newsagent, small chemist, doctor’s surgery and until quite recently…a mosque with a minaret. The latter used to be the town hall with a clock tower. It overlooks the widest part of the street and hosted county council meetings until it was decided to move Council Headquarters to the nearest small town about seventy miles away. It was then converted into a visitors centre for tourists interested in our cultural history. Its brief sojourn as a mosque has now ended.

We are a self-sufficient, close knit little community and there is no real need to venture far in order to maintain a comfortable existence. Unfortunately our village is currently under intense media scrutiny. National newspapers brand us as “The Outlawed Outpost”. We have no idea how… or if ever… our situation can be resolved. We have much public support undoubtedly, but having challenged the law of the land in our own interests it is feared we may be made an example of…this is the story.

The Beginning: We are used to tourists here and welcome them; indeed they are essential to our rural economy. Large camper vans abound in the summer and as long as they do not block farm roads or back into our drives too often they are welcome. B & B’s, holiday cottages, camp-sites and hotels form part of the infrastructure that keeps us going. Usually visitors fall loosely into two categories.

(a). White English families with children, and

(b). White English older couples without children, (possibly on the lookout for a pretty retirement cottage.)

Ethnic minorities on the whole do not venture here at all. They are not concerned with country pursuits or nature and certainly could not be interested in the Christian Heritage for which our community is famous. So imagine the surprise one day when one of our venerable old farmers spots a young dark gentleman in the street wearing one of those chequered bandanna's on his head.

Ah didna like his bonnet” , he adds after reporting the occasion.

A few days later the same dark gentleman is seen again in the street only this time he is not alone. Five paces behind him and another male companion trail four figures dressed in black robes from head to toe pushing buggies containing infants. The old farmer is puzzled, thinking at first they are nuns, but a nun with babies throws the old fellow into utter confusion. Giving up he goes inside to read Farmers Weekly.

During the next several weeks a Mercedes driven by an Asian man together with another in the passenger seat is seen to linger in turn outside each of the three vacant properties in our street. They have ‘For Sale’ signs outside. These are The Old Town Hall, an empty shop, and ex-hotel, The Port House now in need of renovation, the reason, one could assume, as to why this particular building although picturesque is not tempting to our category (b) tourists. They usually want something they can move into without more ado. Eventually all the ‘For Sale’ notices vanish.

Now it can be said that the pub shares with the Kirk a common social function. People go to both establishments for a variety of reasons not dissimilar to each other. News and gossip are exchanged, transactions made and generally support is forthcoming for would be supplicants in both establishments divine or terrestrial. ‘Never the twain shall meet’ is certainly not the case here as Alex the minister attests entering the public bar one Thursday evening with his dog Andy who seems to accompany him everywhere in the village, missing only when the minister is behind the pulpit.

He asks Davy the landlord for a double whiskey and a packet of pork scratchings for Andy.

Best be leaving him behind with the wife when you go on your rounds again Alex,” says Davy nodding at the attentive old Labrador waiting for his scratchings. “If you plan to call at The Port House that is.”

The Port House has been purchased, it is thought, by one of the Asians in the flash car, although that is now in dispute as many other Asians are currently seen going in and out of the building.

Andy is one of God’s creatures,” says Alex, “cheers!”

Aye but what God?” replies Davy, “No’ theirs’ for sure. Yon hates dogs. Have ye no’ heard that sniffer dogs in Glasgow are wearing wee bootees on their feet if they have to search a Muslim hoose. That’s because Muslims think dogs are unclean?

Respect and tolerate” says Alex.

That runs both ways Minister,” says Davy turning away to pull a refill pint for Billy the builder who upon hearing this exchange, perches himself on a barstool.

One of that crowd asked me for a building estimate on The Port House last month” Billy butts in. “Wanted fifty percent knocking off. Why should I do that? Says I. Calls me a racist to my face there and then, threatens to report me to the Race Relations Board and God knows who else…er sorry Alex…but it got me stottin’ mad at the time”.

No offence, you have to make a living, and they’ll not be getting a better builder than you around these parts Billy… I’ll get that… and one for yourself Davy”. Alex pushes some coins across the counter.

Och the pair of you must walk aboot wi’ ye’re een shut”, says Davy,” The Port House is finished; they got a load of Poles in from some recruitment agency. It’s happening all over the country, locals are losing out everywhere these days…. Cheers Alex

Three months later:

A hasty unofficial meeting convenes one evening in the school. No one’s quite sure whose idea it was to gather the assembly initially, but news radiates rapidly here.


Present are The Minister, Billy, Davy, The Librarian, The Doctor, The Head Mistress, The Post Mistress, The Bank Manager, The Chemist, The Vet, The Coast Guard, several farmers and a member, if not two, from almost every household in the street. It’s dark and the classroom overcrowded; condensation trickles down wood panel walls despite open windows.

An agenda written on the blackboard reads:

1. Tuberculosis: the Doctor’s Tale.

2. Sheep stealing and chicken thefts: the Farmer’s Tale

3. Wailing from clock tower: The Residents’ Tale

4. Sharia Mortgages: The Bankers Tale.

5. Petition to close down pub: The Landord’s Tale

6. Islamic instruction in school timetable: The Schoolmarm’s Tale

7. Anti Christian graffiti on church wall: The Minister’s Tale

8. Pork butchers’ van ambushed and set on fire: The Butcher’s Tale

9. Andy and other pet dogs missing: The Vet’s Tale

10. No help from local police force

11. Enough is enough

Note on item 2. Sheep are reported missing on a regular basis of about two a week. Ground drenched in blood is evident. This is consistent with halal slaughter techniques. The former empty shop now owned by muslims not only boasts halal lamb for sale, but also has a continuous supply of chicken.

There must have been close to two hundred villagers packed into that classroom, and many more in the playground when Alex The Minister finally emerged. All listened courteously as he gave an outline of the meeting. His conclusion being that negative influence on our community was grossly disproportionate to the actual foreigners living here who had attempted to take it over.

“It’s time to make a stand
,” he says rather righteously wishing Andy were by his side as well as God, “There are a lot more of us than them, so let’s just do it… BUT with no violence please. I suggest silent intimidation…get out your mobile ‘phones now and call everyone who can get here within twenty minutes. We will then proceed to the three venues in the street, stand outside and slow handclap for as long as it takes”.

Astonishingly it worked… the street heaved with people the eerie sound of slow hand clapping resonant in the Scottish night, and when a solo bagpiper joined in with a plaintive lament it was too much for them. Not even bothering to pack the Asians fled from our little town, and we closed the gates behind them.

So this is where we are… during the day things go on much as they always have, at night the gates are closed with guards on duty. You are up to date we cannot predict the future.


Anonymous said...

Haha! I loved it, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a post, will be sending this out to all my friends and e-mail contacts.

Aberdeen p

Anonymous said...

Nice article Elizabeth. well written. I had to read it a few times to fully appreciate the thought that went into it. Albion