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23.2.09

Brian


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Juan, dancing a wild Tzigani dance, fell into a swamp and lost his Strathisla hip flask in the mire and, to make matters more serious, falling in after him, I lose my Aberlour hip flask.  As the loss of such fine vintage single malts would make a Highlander eat his brogues in despair, we spend the day diving into the primeval muck searching for the invaluable whisky.  Although our search is hindered by being constantly attacked by large animals we manage to find both flasks and, to celebrate, we drink the Strahisla and Aberlour; wash it down with vintage Bowmore, Lagavulin and Cragganmore, top it up with Juan’s Special Reserve then, cheering and singing and shouting with excitement we blunder into a man carrying a short stick.  I observe that he looks a bit like Jack, and wonder if he, too, comes from Piltdown. 

 

We introduce ourselves and offer him some malt; he takes the whisky gratefully and tells us that his name is Brian and that he is Jack’s cousin.  They had been working on Dirk’s continuum machine, he says, when Jack spilled a quantity of Highland Park over the instrument panel.  The machine, unused to such fine single malt, went berserk.  I say that this explains why everything seemed a bit Pleistocenic.  Juan says that, at least, there’s plenty of interesting animals to eat, but Brian explains that, most of the time, he was being chased by the interesting animals, and fully expects to be hunted to extinction very soon.  I tell Brian that Dirk’s machine is linked to Angus’s clock and, for technical reasons, the clock has gone awry, but that I estimate that we will be back in the proper era before too long. Brian, who is an expert on the subject, asks what the technical reasons are and Juan explains that Angus is playing the part of Mrs Mouse in the Buchanhavan Play. 

 

Brian say that that explains everything as, because Angus’s father and grandfather played the part of Mrs Mouse, and, in their own time, brought such intelligence and integrity to the character as illumined their generation.  Angus’s family’s reputation rests upon Angus providing an inspirational Mrs Mouse, imbued with deep wit and great grace, and his task is made even more difficult, I point out, as, during the first six acts, Mrs Mouse is huddled in a corner, fast asleep, only flicking her tail twice, in the third act.  Juan says that, in the seventh act, Mrs Mouse does raise her head, twitch her ears and squeak three times.  This, we all agree, affords little opportunity to portray the gravitas, clarity and strength of character of Mrs Mouse.  There is also the fact that the audience’s attention to Mrs Mouse is diverted by the entrance of Mr Khorkhoy, the Mongolian death worm. 

 

However, wishing Angus the best of luck, and saluting Dirk’s valiant work on his broken time machine and, given the fact that we seem to be further down the food chain than we would like, we drink toast after toast to the survival of all the wildlife, but hope that, in the evolvement race, the best man wins.  Juan tells Brian that we have been slattishly delayed and ask the way to Humperdinkadad.  He says that it’s in the centre of the Unknown Region. This isn’t helpful so, leaving Brian our reserve Balvenie, Springbank and Glenfiddich flasks, for medicinal purposes, and our flasks of Cragganmore, Bowmore and Balvenie, if he needs more medicine, we say goodbye and stagger straight into another swamp.  Chased by wild animals, shouting and screaming and yelling for help, bamboozled, lost, confused, befuddled and slurrishly behind schedule, we paddle around in terrified circles, as fast as we possibly can.

 

Professor Humperdink’s Diary