“People tell me a story, and I will give you a merk…”
Ann Shaw

(A merk is a 16th century Scottish coin - this is an iconic reinterpretation of it.)


Examples of stories:

A Royal picnic
Fiona was sailing with her father around the west coast of Scotland some time ago.

“We were preparing to have a picnic on the beach at Colonsay, an area we love and where we always land every year.
But this time we saw the Royal yacht Britannia in nearby waters. I looked through the binoculars and what did I see? - the Queen sitting on the beach having a picnic!

Next day the papers had headlines about the security of the Royal family having been violated.”

Silent retreat on Guatemala
Alison, student volunteer.

“ I was working in Guatemala and one day I went on a silent retreat.

I knew the area well from my work so I scrabble down a cliff side and found a secluded beach.
Well I had not been there more than ten minutes when a man arrived.
He tried to talk to me, to chat me up. I did as I had been advised: ‘Say nothing, avoid eye contact.’

He persisted. He tried everything he could think to make me talk even coming down and sitting close to me.
But I was determined I would not break my silence. I would not move.

Suddenly I pooped myself, one loud explosion.
He left after that.”

Bus trip in Africa
Mary, volunteer in Africa

“I travelling on the local bus one day to the market.

Suddenly it stopped in open bush country. A Massai warrior wearing nothing but a skimpy blanket around his middle got on.
He smelt of goat’s fat, as soon as he stepped on the bus I could smell it.

He came and sat next to me.
I didn’t know what to say so I just said “Hello”.


Maria was attending a concert in Findhorn, the alternative community in the north of Scotland and she found herself sitting next to a young man.
She got chatting to him in the interval.

“I got married last week,” he confided to her.

“Congratulations!” said Maria. “I hope you married a nice young Scottish girl.”

“No” he replied. “ I married an English man. There he is playing the clarinet.”

Surprise! Surprise!
Joy, 83, enjoys an active social life.

“The other day I had the shock of my life. A woman whom I have known for years propositioned me.
She said to me:” We could be a lot closer.”
And she winked.
I didn’t know what to say….”

The Shetland Pony
Carole looks after a herd of prize Shetland ponies
on an estate high up in The Ochils in central Scotland.

“The owner cared little for the ponies except she liked to turn up at shows and win prizes. My job was to take care of them on a day-to-day basis.

One mare was having difficulty foaling. So I rang the vet. He came. He said a caesarean was needed and rang the owner.
She wanted to know how much it would cost.
He told her.
“Not worth it. Shoot the pony.”
I burst out crying. I couldn’t believe it.”



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Getting on a Bit