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Leaving the Marsh


The quagmire that we blunder into, while looking for a rose for Colinette, is particularly sticky, even the frogs are stuck.  Finding ourselves slowly sinking, the only way we can stay afloat is to drink from our hip flasks and, when they are lighter, use them as buoyancy tanks.  We emerge from the stinking alluvium, desperately low on Oban, Bunnahabhainn, Glengoyne, Caol Ila, Tamdhu, Knockdhu, Jura, Ardbeg and Linkwood, and feeling slightly under the weather.  Escaping from the marsh has taken too long, and I remind Juan that we are still lost, and feculently behind schedule.  Juan points out the fact that we are also soaked, and stink, and says that, if we had found a rose, it would sweeten the stench. 

I quickly sketch a rose, dip it in vintage Glendronach, and wave it around.  This does sweeten the air, but Juan complains that it isn’t a proper rose; it’s a rosebay.  I tell him it’s a fireweed, a perfectly good flower, and remind him that, in Eklunta, he uses Rosebay to draw the pus from his grandfather’s wen, and the Dene women use it to decorate their spears.  Juan says that, apart from the terrible smell, giving a pus-soaked, bloody, weed to Colinette is a bad idea. 

Noticing a large elephanty sort of animal, of uncertain temperament, we stop only long enough to offer a toast all our Navajo friends, then, singing The Yellow Rose of Texas at the top of our voices, shouting, brawling and scurfishly behind schedule, we slosh around in befuddled circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary