One of the prompts from Cricket’s Slice Of Life this week (I apologise for being so late with this, Cricket) is our roaring 20s or indiscretions in our 20s. Like most people, I succumbed to a few frivolous, indiscreet moments in my youth. This is one of them.
When I was 20 I returned to Scotland for a family wedding. The wedding took place outdoors which was unusual in those days and in that climate but it was on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, so who could resist?
Loch Lomond lies north of Glasgow and I believe is the largest expanse of fresh water in Britain. It was an idyllic location, unspoilt, wild, you could smell the history and the poetry in the air.
When the revellers were dancing at the reception my cousins Aine, Jessie and I slipped out to wander the banks of the great Loch. There was a sense of majesty, of mystery, of splendour in the air. The mountains loomed in the background, the loch itself was coated in shadows, streaked with mist.
For years I have kept what I call a memory journal. I archive significant events in my life always with the same heading – REMEMBER THIS DAY. I keep a little memento of the day – a photograph, a dried flower, a drinks coaster and paste it into my journal along with a line or phrase that reminds me of how I felt at that time. It has provided me with much joy and comfort over the years.
In this particular instance the memento was a postcard of Loch Lomond which my cousins found for me. The phrase I wrote to recapture the feeling of the moment was
“ the splendour of the silvery light.”
I was heavily into the Romantic poets at that time. Can you tell?
The best part about this postcard was the message my cousins had written on the back. Three little words which still make me giggle – Nudes at Night.
I blame Aine’s incredibly strict Catholic upbringing. (And the two bottles of champagne we’d guzzled). That girl was just busting a gut to let loose. She worked hard at school, attended Church every morning – who were Jessie and I to refuse her whimsy?
Aine got it into her head that she wanted to run around the Loch in the moonlight in the nude. Naked in the silvery light. It didn’t take long for Jessie and I to agree and I threw in the added suggestion of singing Loch Lomond as we walked around.
So there we were, naked on the misty night, walking along the banks of Loch Lomond singing
‘Oh, ye’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road’
without a care in the world except for the fact that it was possible we were going to be discovered in the nude at any moment or that we would collapse from hypothermia.
We danced wild arabesques, whirling and twirling like water sprites. We were adorned by moonlight. Mist lapped at our heels, trailing behind us like a wedding train.
There was a sense of splendour, an elaborate, sweeping beauty that bespoke of another world. We laughed and we sang, but we were freezing.
Aine, the instigator of the whole thing, caved first, running back to the rock where we’d left our clothes. Jessie and I weren’t far behind her. Our teeth were chattering so much it was over an hour before we could speak again. We couldn’t do up the zippers on our dresses because our fingers were shaking with cold.
We sneaked back into the reception, huddling together like nightbirds. No one had even noticed that we were gone. Well, except for Auntie Peggy, who noticed our dishevelled appearance and pursed her lips. ‘Floosies,’ she muttered as she walked by, leaving an aroma of single malt whiskey in her wake.
Indiscreet? I suppose it was, but fun nonetheless. Those yon bonnie banks and yon bonnie braes have not been the same since!