It was comedian Billy Connolly who said that Scotland had two seasons: June and Winter. After two days of fine weather, the rain is back, complete with thunder. That will be summer over then. It was so wet this morning, that I thought I would spend an hour cleaning up the folly.
Most follies are fantasy buildings placed in suitable spots in a garden. Ruins, and grottoes were popular in the eighteenth century, while you can find some good modern examples on this blog. And here is how to build one from branches. Inevitably, there is a British society dedicated to follies, with useful maps and pictures.
But my folly isn’t a building; it’s a stone:This huge slab of sandstone used to lie horizontally half-buried in the meconposis bed behind it. As a family, we used to hope it was the capstone for the grave of some ancient princeling, concealing a hoard of gold treasure. The prosaic truth is doubtless that it was quarried out of what is now the pond when the mill was built, but proved impossible to split and too heavy to move far. So it was dragged aside and left.
About ten years ago I thought it would be more fun if it became a proper standing stone. It was a two-day job for three of us to get it upright, using block and tackle slung into the nearby trees, and then to get it sunk sufficiently far into the ground to be stable and not fall on some passing child. Beneath the ground it’s anchored with iron stakes and packed rubble. It makes an excellent background to the blue poppies when they are in flower.In exchange for some surplus floor tiles, I asked a local artist to trace a Pictish symbol onto the surface. The enigmatic Iron age Pictish symbol stones are found all over north-east Scotland: – relics of a now vanished race. As you can see from these images, they were rather better stone carvers than I am.
Over the years, my symbol had become too weathered to be really visible, so I spent a happy hour this morning in the rain with a hammer and cold chisel to bring it back to life. I doubt it will confuse the archaeologists of the future, but you never know!