Thursday, 13 October 2011

Moffat Book Event : best laid plans dept

When we planned our forthcoming (this Sat Oct 15 9.30-6pm) autumn Moffat Book Event, back in April, we had not reckoned on our regional arts association dgArts ceasing to trade on Fri Sept 30, a fortnight beforehand, and for the online ticket sales system to grind to a corresponding halt. This has certain knock-on effects, mainly that we can have no idea how many people will come. This doesn't matter - the more the merrier - other than how many cakes to make for the traditional tea that will round off the day. However, we are confident that the day will go down in Moffat history because of the introduction by Angus Sinclair of his genius discovery on Moffat's hills and in Moffat's memory: The Moffalump. This iconic, shape-changing (therefore protean) creature is to be stalked by young and old, drawn, knitted and possibly even fed ( have special dishes invented for it). Only Moffat has a Moffalump. The hunting of the Moffalump was once a seasonal rite of passage for young people locally, who were sent out onto the hills in mist and rain with only an empty tin full of pebbles to rattle in case they surprised one. A surprised Moffalump is not a happy Moffalump, and unhappy Moffalumps emit an evil-smelling green exhalation that sticks to the unwary. Herds of peaceful Moffalumps used to graze the wooded slopes of the Devil's Beef Tub. It is often wrongly supposed that the drystone enclosures that pepper the landscape were built for sheep. Wrong. They are Moffalump nests, maternity units where the unfledged juveniles can play safely until they are big enough to roam alone. Every attic in Moffat will be searched next week for the traditional Moffalump traps which were woven by alewives the length of the High St in pre-coaching days, and the wooden castanets intricately carved with runic symbols played to warn unsuspecting Moffalumps before tins and pebbles were invented. As more becomes known of lost Moffalump lore, expert attention is being turned to bigger structures in the landscape, such as Skara Brae, Stonehenge, Newgrange and other massive strutures in the dawning realisation that these are not - as widely surmised - for human use,but are associated with early Moffalump cults, housing for Moffalump herders, for Moffalump markets selling prize creatures,their wool and other valuable by-products.

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