|'On Beeny Cliff'|
Having learned that even letters address as generically as 'Neil Oliver, Scotland' reach TV's smouldering archaeologist, the Ragged Ramblers saw an opportunity to put pen to paper and here's the result:
Addressed to 'Neil Oliver, Scottish/long hair/loves cliffs/stands staring into middle distance on rocks'
"Dear Mr. Oliver,
I like your long hair. I like the way it flaps in the wind on Coast, wild and free, flapping like you are a Hardy hero brooding on Beeny Cliff. My son, Timotei, grows his hairs in the long fashion too, fresh and strong. Have you ever caught your hair in an extractor fan? Timotei has! He climbed up on our avocado bath and - whoosh - that was it...
All those years ago when you used to stand in a trench with some other man, I sensed that you yearned for so much more. It pleases me that you dig the old still and are Scotland... but not the independence. Your hair is much more that television’s Alice Roberts - public science understanding and all that! Do you prefer the traces left by long-dead humans to the living detritus we are forced to endure time alongside? (I am a scarcely sentient water-bag.)
My mother is 86 now and when I mention you she snarls, ‘Miserable cunt!’, but, rest assured Mr Oliver, I always threaten to smother the dotty old bat with a pillow if she potty-mouths you - and then she desists. She is angry with you because she believes that you dug a trench and buried, ‘that nice Nicholas Crane’ in it. She also says that archaeologists befuddle the public with gloves and ‘ritual’ when they really don’t have a clue about the purpose or meaning of an artefact - that’s mother for you!