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This article is taken from PN Review 260, Volume 47 Number 6, July - August 2021.

Then... Brian Morton
In the field below the house, the land girls worked with their backs to the sea, as they’d been told. When they heard the drone of engines they bent over, hitched up the skirts of old coats and watched back between their legs. The boys, further down the field, looked at the girls’ backsides and threw rogue potatoes at the prettiest ones. The plane came in low past Strone point, so low it looked like it was readying to land. It jerked sharply up when freed of its load and then soared high and wide to avoid the first bounce as the barrel-shaped thing skited twice, three times, four, five across the water, before thumping into the old ship’s side. The girls would wait till the hollow boom arrived to match the final splash and quiver. After the first time, the man who’d ordered them to work facing the hill came back and told them they’d seen nothing. Tom Lamont said he’d seen Janet McGrath’s knickers, but wouldn’t tell a soul.

These things happened long ago, but they are still, as they say, the speak of the place...

The farmhouse sits on a shelf of flat ground, protected from the wind by the hill’s shoulder. It long ago absorbed most of the outbuildinfsouthgs, but a byre and shed are still attached. There is a tiny upstairs, two small rooms with archer-slim windows looking out over the loch. In front and to the right, a giant beech, completely hollow, where the ...

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