Meanderins oan the rurban Braid Hills owerlookin Morningside
by Nancy Rathbone
"May ah, Mrs Askew-Pemberton?" ah sed an reached fer ma binoculars; "och, jist cry me Jinty," sed she, handin them ower, so ah cood tak anither bogle at the bane o ma existence, Martin Elginbrod and whahoomsoever wis gien him the BJ, as Madeleine had called it: "the effin shitface bocht up lots o feus in Morningside, includin mine, an when Tommy Sheridan was pushin thru the Abolition o Feus in 2000, Elginbrod worked a flanker an somehoooranuther, goat exceptions tae the Abolition for aw the properties wha's feus he'd purchased, under the name o an a variety o so-called Charities, ye've probly nevver heard o The Morningside Mithers and Toddlers Milk Charity, or The Braid Hills Conservation and Children's Play Areas Foundation, an The Jordan Burn Early Years Bathing Society, tae say nuthin o The Holy Corner Salvation Memorial Fund an the demotic Public subscription Campaign to Raise a Statue of Sir Parlane MacFarlane on Bruntsfield Links, weell they're aw Fronts whit wis the registered Feu Superiors an because o their Charitable Status were exempted fi the Abolition and as soon as the Bill wis passed by the Scottish Parliament, me an hunners o ither Feu Vassals received letters fi lawyers acting for the Charities – as in Martin Elginbrod, Solicitors – detailing hoo much the annual payments wis bein retrospectively increased tae thoosans o poonds, in sum cases hunners o thoosans, an advisin that the only wey we cood avoid this wis tae sell oor hooses, but that 'unfortunately' because the arrears wud be passed oan tae whaever bocht fi us, the properties wis noo, officially, Blighted! but as a gesture o goodwill, the Charities wis prepared tae buy them aff us, at a knock-down price; ah ken sum folk soucht their ain legal advice but ye ken hoo hard it is tae get ane solicitor tae tak action agenst anither, so for fear the valuation micht drap even further, a lot o them accepted whit wis offered; ah wis lucky, ma nephew is cried Felix Rosenstiel an he's Chief Clerk at ane o the few honest solicitors in Embra an he managed tae get me a meetin wi a Judge o the Coort o Seshun, Lord Jock Linkumdoddie, wha wis very interested in ma case an sed an investigation into Elginbrod wis currently underway, but it hud tae be aw Hush-Hush, but Felix wrote back on ma behalf an telt Elginbrod tae get stuffed – in mair proper legal langwidge an he drapped the threats but it took a lang while an ah wis worrit sick, but ah wis only lucky that Felix is ma sister's laddie, otherwise ma goose wud hae bin cooked!" an then the person wha's heid ah thocht wis a sporran stood up an Madeleine wis richt enough, it wis a wee laddie, wha coodny hae been above ten yeer auld; ah handed the binoculars tae Madeleine an suggested we call the polis: "ye'll be lucky," said Jinty: "the Chief Constable, Duncan Doubleday is in cahoots wi him, an so's that MSP wha chairs the Policing and Security Committee in the Scottish Parliament, ye'll ken him, Sir Faslane MacFarlane – oh he dusnae use the Sir bit noo, but ah ken fi some o Iver's papers ah fund in the loft – oh, ah cannae tell ye whit aw else a fund, it'd mak yer hair staun oan end – that he still owns vast estates in the North West an a couple o Islands, and earns a packet, though he wears a cloth bunnet an talks like he's the reincarnation o John MacLean!" and Madeleine chipped in: "and from what Duncan Doubleday has told me," which made Jinty look queerly at her, obviously wondering how on earth Madeleine could possibly be on intimate acquaintanceship with the Chief Constable, "he and Elginbrod and MacFarlane are related, cousins I think, and they are in some kind of Brotherhood, a bit like the Masons, called The Ring of Gold!" and "aha!" cried Jinty, that's it, The Ring of Gold! my Iver was the Treasurer, there's a hale filin cabinet stuffed fu' o bank statements an tax returns an membership lists, bit ah coodny mak heid nor tail o it, ah thocht it wis a Boolin Club or suchlike, they only hud a few hunner in the bank, bit fae whit ye'se huv sed, those'll be the public accoonts, the richt anes'll be hidden somewhaur else," then Madeleine said: "we'll I'm doing something," and took out her phone and in a few minutes had told the Police Call-Handler that she believed a child was at imminent risk of sexual assault and shortly after we heard the siren and saw the flashing lights of a police car as it pulled up in the street below, opposite Elginbrod's hoose; but the twa officers stertit running backassforwards up the hill towards us, hauncuffs at the ready an calling on their radios for back-up, sae we scarpered, pronto!
(Editor's Note: our Morningside Correspondent, Miss Nancy Rathbone, together with Madame Madeleine de Parmentier and Mrs Janet Askew-Pemberton, all claiming to be residents of Morningside, was arrested by Police Scotland yesterday and charged with the ancient offence of Smookeeking – which, for our English readers, means Night Peeping, or invading the privacy of others by watching through windows from the shadows! this is a serious offence and until such time as Miss Rathbone and her accomplices can prove their innocence, this newspaper will not be publishing any more of her contributions; we apologise unreservedly to those innocent residents whose privacy was invaded by these three snooping women and trust that when they are found guilty in a Court of Law they will be punished with the full severity which their crimes warrant; the offence of Smookeeking carries a maximum sentence of Transportation for Life to the Scottish Colony of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Canada – signed on behalf of the Publishers by Praline MacFarlane, Editor-in Chief)