Scenes from Highland Life: Jane-Sharon Regent. Parts nine – twelve

river teithNine. Three days since the referendum

I’m in a car hurtling towards a farmhouse in the darkness. The first Women for independence Highland meeting since the vote, and the kitchen is packed, standing room only, almost out of cups for tea, and everyone’s talking at once, louder and louder and louder. One woman says, maybe this was the best result we could have had. If we’d won, we’d have half the population still opposed to independence, and they could have made a real mess of it. And I’m thinking, yeah, if we have another referendum in five years, the regretful Nos will surely be Yesses, and even entrenched Nos could be conceding a little. Maybe we just haven’t quite reached fruition, maybe it’s not quite time yet.

Ten. Five days on …

and an old man stops me in the town, because of my Yes badge. I think he’s going to harangue me, he looks so serious, but he wants only to express his sorrow at the result. He talks about his grandkids, who are running in and out the door of the hardware shop, and his two sons, teachers, who gave all their time to the Yes campaign. I won’t see it now, he says, but you – he looks into my face to gauge how old I am – you will. Sixty thousand people in the SNP now, he adds. And it strikes me. This 80 year old man wasn’t frightened into voting No, like so many of his frail, elderly peers, because he has his family all around him. He wasn’t left to the tender mercies of the BBC and the Daily Record and the Better Together bogeymen who said pensions would be the first to go after a Yes vote. Long live families! God bless the generations that talk to each other.

Eleven. The motorbike man notices the Yes badge …

and says, I voted No. Oh, aye? Fucked if I know why, he says.

Twelve. The sky is blazing red tonight,

… rendering the hills a deep, dark green. The leaves are beginning to rattle and the birds are swirling in sky-shaped flocks, ready to travel south. The equinox is five days’ past and we are beginning the descent into winter. Who knows what it will bring on the wind. But I tell you this, I’ve had three conversations today, with three very different people. And the conversations caught fire when we talked about politics, about the fact that this isn’t over, about how, and when, we’ll gain our independence. This is a quiet little place, one we came to for a slower pace of life, removed from the shocks of the wider world. And it’s even reached here, this feeling, this urge for renewal, this sense that our time is coming.

Mary Irvine: Post Referendum Musings

This section: Scenes from Highland Life, The Referendum and Scottish Politics

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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