Hilda Oakley

Australian author and poet

   Oct 02

A Scottish Serenade

It was in the early hours of the morning. Tiffany awoke with a start to the sound of the peals of the front door bell. Glancing at the clock, she noticed it was 2.30am.

She shook her husband awake and sent him downstairs, to find out who it was and what they wanted. Douglas cautiously descended the stairs and as he passed the fireplace, he grabbed hold of a heavy, sharp poker.

Before opening the door, he demanded, “Who’s there?”

“We’re officers from the metropolitan police force. We are looking for a Mr or Mrs Featherstone,” replied one of the officers authoritatively.

Before unlocking the security door, Douglas asked if he could see their badges, despite all of them being in uniform. In the city at this hour of the morning, he felt he needed to be a bit careful who he opened the door to.

“Come on in!” he said, while still rubbing his eyes. “I’ll get my wife to come on down, now I know it’s safe. She can make us all a cup of coffee or tea.”

When they were all together, Douglas asked inquisitively, “What’s this all about? What is so important to wake us up at this unearthly hour?”

“Can we all sit down for a minute?” the female officer suggested. “I’m afraid I have some tragic news for you. Does a Scotty Featherstone live here?”

“Yes,” replied Douglas, shakily.

“There has been a terrible accident on the motorway. Scotty has been hit and killed by a speeding hit-and-run driver. I am very sorry to ask this, but I need one of you to come and identify the body.”

With this news, Tiffany became hysterical and burst into tears. Douglas spent the next thirty minutes consoling her. Eventually leaving her in the care of the police woman, he agreed to go and identify the body.

On seeing the body, he sobbed. “Yes! That’s him, that’s Scotty!”

Arriving back home Tiffany and Douglas clung to each other, reminiscing of the good times they all had together.

x x x x

Six months had passed since the death of Scotty. Tiffany and Douglas still missed him dearly and now there is a void in their life.

They both agreed. After lot of discussions, everything was settled.

Excitement was in the air. They only had to sign the final adoption papers and they would welcome a new member into their family. Tiffany was nervous, but thrilled beyond belief.

Everything went smoothly at first. Winston was a cute three year old. He was quite timid and shy at first and then things began to happen. They realized he loved the sound of Scottish music.

He seemed lethargic during the daytime, but still they didn’t know why. Then when he heard the sound of Scottish music, he became happy and bounced around with glee.

During the weekends, Douglas would take Winston for a drive into the country. Here they would walk for kilometres over undulating hills, then jog down into the glen, finishing their trek at the cliffs overlooking their beautiful loch.

Douglas would sit for hours day dreaming and watching Winston run around. This way he could put the past behind him. He was still puzzled as to why Winston was so tired during the day. Some days more than others! Maybe there was some medical thing wrong with him that needed to be checked out.

One night, Tiffany and Douglas decided to follow Winston into his bedroom, just to make sure he was getting a good night’s sleep. They were surprised to see Winston sneaking out of the house and shuffling off down the road to where there was a Scottish concert playing. He crept inside the theatre without being noticed and sat quietly in the audience until the performance finished.

This gave Tiffany an idea. Deciding to humour Winston with his obsession for Scottish things, she made a wee coat for him out of the McNamara tartan clan, which was Tiffany’s maiden name. Tiffany asked a friend of hers who was very musical, if she could make a miniature bagpipe for him, as he loved the sound of them so much.

The big day arrived. Tiffany dressed Winston in his new colourful coat and handed him the miniature bagpipes.

Winston was over the moon. He jumped up and down, around and around. He was overjoyed and the happiest he had ever been.

Then to Tiffany and Douglas’s amazement, Winston started playing the tune “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. They were flabbergasted. How could Winston ever learn, or even know how to play the bagpipes!

A Scottish concert was to be held the following Saturday night. Tiffany and Douglas took Winston along.

The folk running the concert were highly amused to see a small Scottish terrier in a tartan coat, carrying bagpipes. They even went to lengths to say that he could be their mascot at their next function. But they were even more astounded when they heard him play the bagpipes.

Just by luck, there happened to be a Royal talent scout in the audience. When he saw Winston and heard him playing the bagpipes, the scout demanded, “This Scottish Group with Winston, are commissioned to play in a Royal Command Performance for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

The Queen loved the performance so much, that when the word got around, Winston became the most famous canine in Britain.

He also is one of the Queens favourites, up there with the corgis.


Hilda Oakley
Copyright © 25.08.2013

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