Book THREE - The Daughters of Day

The Daughters of Day


snake dry groundAdoration of Hapy:

Hail to you, Hapy,

Sprung from earth,

Come to nourish Egypt!

Of secret ways

A darkness by day,

To whom his followers sing!

Who floods the fields that Re has made,

To nourish all who thirst;

Let’s drink the waterless desert,

His dew descending from the sky.

Hymn to the Nile-God Hapy (extract)

(attributed to Khety, 20th Century BCE)       


The sea defined the people who lived there. It collected them up and separated them from the rest.

Many find their way to the end of the life journey and the final chapter of its telling, at a bed side family vigil with a drifting mind settling on a place or a village like Pennan, hidden in the more remote shores of north East Scotland. It is there that they pass on as they say, through and over a moon-absent haar to discover a final secret, maybe the sort of secret that nobody beyond the shores of the village would recognise.  If perceptive or with an open mind, they slowly begin to suspect that something is wrong and like Pennan, cowering under the North Sea mist, they search for its hiding place, just as back in the old days of smuggling coves either side of the bay in and around the sandstone gathered up around the Head. The secret can be a supernatural one in which the human mind can barely begin to comprehend (like the stories told in the stones on the beach or in the blood red coves); but it can be something as mundane as a human tragedy. Or it can be both, because both have lived alongside each other, long enough now.

The salt and sand weathered benches moulded from trees gifted by the Moray Firth  watch over this Scottish shore. Like the bank head wooden posts festooned with wind cracking washing, they have long known the secrets of the village, as if the tide collects and sifts through the human baggage that the spirit tosses away in the Pennan air, caught in the arms of onlooking oak.

On this bench, Joseph Watt looked out and loved this place (d. 1827)’ were the words set in brass on one of these temples to times past. Like many, Joe was a fisherman for the silver darlings of the sea. The bench now bolted to the bank head, you could see its long caressed arms weathered over the years by anxious hands. The dying look out at the sea differently, as Joe did back then, whether peering up at the dusk of   mackerel skies, or the calm of the pale and smooth sea before he retired for the night, he would let the crafted and world weary blue and green bleached glass he had collected between the stones, fall between his thin dry fingers before that last goodbye. Those men had long since gone from the edges of the sea around Pennan, eroded away by changed times and values, but their grain was still present on those benches and stones, to be caressed by those living in our world just now.

Monas and Nargess were newcomers, outsiders. “We keep ourselves to ourselves” was the muttering of many. But for all, they found themselves caught in the tension of a necessary commerce and the wish that the world would leave them alone, to deal with their secrets, in their own way.

What this part time priest and his Iranian friend had in common with those of old, the indigenous through generation upon generation, was that they too, were people that experienced life spent between two worlds – like on the sea-edge, an available wilderness in an otherwise crowded world. Like the benches and the sandstone, the sea perpetually renewed and took away those it touched over the years. Its mark left was often the beginning and ending of the sea roar, its constant demanding of attention, surrounded by its landlocked cabinet of memories drawn to the sea’s edge by that human chemistry of the human being that was largely water, tied to its mother and then hauled back onto dry land to wrestle with survival.

Of course, in a place of murmur and rumour and of secrets, keeping themselves to themselves invariably attracted attention, like a celebrity that attracts by trying not to, in putting on a disguise. But with the juxtaposition of the frequently seen clerical collar and head scarf (or hijab as her homeland would know it), the fact that she was Iranian and he was connected in some way to the Catholic priesthood, all simply added to the mystery. Many would come to Pennan and write sermons for their congregations or self- fulfilment, pen stories and paint pictures, as did Monas, when he discovered these shores, trying to escape from a prison to find that the only real prison was that of the mind, and Pennan had its bars.

Like those around them, Nargess and Monas walked in the spirit of liminality, where they went and in what they did. They too lived on and in the margins. Sea and land was not the notion that defined them, however. It was the veil between this world and the next. Unlike him, she occasionally saw through this gossamer veil, and caught an occasional privileged glimpse into the holy of holies and a grey green horse grazing on Pennan Head, later riding on through the waves as she peered down from high and into the bay, silently leaping and shimmering against the sea and its partnered sky.

For three years they had been largely left alone. “To recover” they said. Not just by the locals but by the authorities – his church and those that were involved in the Room, which was their work base, their first connection. Her voice had inevitably lost much of its accent, at least to his ears, and her appearance still mirrored that of the singer Amy Winehouse, an irony (as Amy was Jewish) along with comments on the similarity, Monas would employ in rare conversations about such things. Then Amy passed, and the references stopped.

The trace of thrown stone against cheek on her face buried under cotton back  then, was still detectable, not least on that morning as they lay on the 4th January 2014, separated by what they referred to as their Berlin Wall. Outside the skittering feet of waders left their own traces on the ebb tide sand, and a car made its mark as it crawled hesitatingly down the single road into the village, engulfed in the scent of burning clutch. It was a steep gradient and the snow cracked under the wheels of yet another black boxed 4 by 4 that invaded the place where fire and dust sandstone met the North Sea.

They had been left alone many months without any contact whatsoever, alone  to watch the light lengthen on the Iranian rug in the bedroom, warming the curtains of the house that was like many of the homes there, a one-time fisherman’s residence, or a stonemasons, or even violin makers if the census records were correct. Three houses with box or truckle bedrooms now into one, with the square horsehair mattresses discarded for bookshelves and wireless electronics. Pennan life had historically always found itself in the mix of artist and the artisan, the aesthetic with the Calvinist, the scandal and the sacred.

Like many days that started early in Pennan, they would lie and listen to the sound of young murmuring kittiwakes and fulmars nested up in the cliff behind them, as their parents screamed like babies. The first look through the parted curtains brought a view of black wing tipped distant gannets out in the bay plunging into the banquet below them.  The scent and touch fast tracked her back to where they had bought the curtain, in the street market of Cairo in February 2011. Her mind drifted to that time when life was a mixture of silks and spices, antiques and rebellion, curdling in the early morning polluted air with mop wielding women swishing around grubby feet in shop doorways and arches. That, and the muddy coffee that Monas would complain about in the El Fishawy café, again and again. It was there that they purchased a lantern that hung above their divided beds now, which would sway to the sound of an intruder, at least which is what Monas said. And so he looked up at its swaying and she looked at him as he rescued himself from yet another disturbed night.

She moved over to his bed and placed her arms around him, as a mother would a child. “Could be them?” she said. She glanced at his clerical collar on the bedside table, over his shoulder. She thought that he had weathered well over the years. His face was still chiselled, covered by even less silvery white hair, and those emerald eyes that she could drown in, given half the chance.

As she placed her head on his chest, separated by a tee shirt and white cotton sheets,  they both let themselves hear the sounds of the day beginning, and that of the unmistakeable voice of a car not practised in the steep winding descent into the village. It would be an outsider, for sure. “ OIL 3 or GAS 4 on the plates?” said Monas, grinning. Personalised car registration plates on large 4×4 vehicles were not unusual in and about Aberdeen, a region only now made rich by exploitation of the surrounding natural resources. Fast cars as opposed to fish and farming was more appealing to the young these days, as was money.

They were as close to Greek love as could be, but the tension was always there, if never explored. She moved the sheets from above his chest to rest her ear on him and closed her eyes. “Do you wonder how what we hear now has changed over the years in this house, Monas, the noises now and when this house was built two hundred years ago? I know the birds and the natural sounds are presumably the same of course, but other noises, like that vehicle? They would not hear or smell the sound of vehicles coming down the hill like that.”

Monas stroked her long blue black hair. “I guess it was a lot quieter in some ways, here anyway. But the crowd would be far noisier. The screaming children, the voices and the running about. Probably ten in this room. But don’t forget back then there were over three hundred people living here in Pennan. Houses were back to back along the whole front and noises change as people change, life changes, only the birds and the sea remain, and the stones. And then back in 1953 you had the great storm or tsunami as we would call it now, when it wiped out half the village property and most of the east coast of the UK. That must have been pretty noisy. I guess the sea was angry that day.”

Nargess moved her head around “I can hear your heart beat, Monas”. She remembered how different it was that night like many others, as she held him whilst he screamed out and writhed. “It must be have been really difficult before stethoscopes were invented, people  listening to heartbeats like this, and tapping away at your back and chest.”

He said “I suppose sounds are different, including that one or at least our perception of them? Imagine if what you were listening to right now was not my heart beat, but that of a patient, or a complete stranger? Anyway, maybe my heart beat needs coffee? I’ll get it for both of us.”

Nargess clung to him. She was listening to the car outside getting closer, turning at the bend at the bottom of the hill next to the Pennan Inn, and turning left rather than right towards the harbour. She said “no, just wait – if the noise is what you think, we may not have too many times like this for a while.” She stared at his face and grabbed at his white collar on the bedside table, throwing it across the room. “It’s not much of a heartbeat Monas, to be honest. I can hear the sound of your heart but also…the sound of blood coursing through your body.”

Monas began to lift her off of himself. “That’s enough for now. Do you fancy making a dash for a walk on the beach, out the back and away before the car knows where we are?”

“It sounds like turbulence Monas, your heart and all the internal goings on.”

“I’m not a bloody conch you know” replied Monas.

“Maybe you are. You are supposed to be resting, anyway. We both are. And I can hear the sound of gulls too, in here, inside your shell like Monas, not just out there.”

“We have been spending too much time by the sea, Nargess.”

“And you heart is like the waves, ebbing and flowing…”

“Definitely too much time by the bloody sea.”

With the sound of a car navigating precariously down the ice crisp bank head, they made their escape and headed out over the snow that had unusually fallen earlier this year, to the stone covered sands and the skittering waders. “There she is” said Monas. “Our heron. You know what that means. Trouble.”

The grey heron majestically glided past them as it did most mornings at first light. From statuesque hunter to disturbed beauty, it passed them both as they sat behind large sandstone rocks, hidden from eyes. “It’s like my horse” she said. “It’s praying for us…well, for me anyway.” The hurried exit meant she had forgotten to wear her head scarf, and as Monas saw the pitted lines on the side of her face, he knew that he could touch her and she would know how he felt, as he rounded a snowball from the little he could find, and placed it on top of her head.

“Should have worn your hijab” he said.

“Always need to. It’s my protection” she said, throwing water from a rock pool over her face. “No, it means, the heron is telling us something else…and there it is, a mate.” The two grey herons were less present this last year, normally spotted at dusk and dawn, hidden in shadows against the duck egg mottled rocks, occasionally gliding down the bay as if to check on the village. They had watched as the black beast of a car turned down at the bottom of the hill, past the Hotel and into the lone road upon which most of the village houses now sat.

They had spent a lot of time that Christmas, in Pennan Bay and New Aberdour up the coast, collecting glass and shells, to be stored away in jars and for jewellery. Monas sat down against one of the larger rocks and watched the car manoeuvring along the front, past the benches and the watchful eye of the embedded wooden tree trunks that acted as clothes poles, and of course the twitching curtains and blinds of those that had decided to wake and brave the early onset of the NE Winter. She had told him of her times spent during the University holidays and the winters in Tehran, when she and her family would visit the water caves at Ali Sadre in Western Iran by peddle boat, and how at eleven kilometres long with deep lakes, they made those sandstone coves near Pennan, appear half hearted.

And so this was how he would love her, and sometimes he wished he could love her more. As she stood there, tossing stones into the sea, he was reminded of the times when he would find her walking and singing Persian songs to herself, or maybe to her family that were no more. Like the village where they now lived, their relationship was a symbiosis of one and the other, a unity of different natures that left traces like the alluvial residue left by the water on land. Monas slowly raised himself and put his arm around her, tucking the hijab he had tucked into his pocket, around her neck.

She smiled “First lecture of the day. You know that as well as a useful piece of clothing for the desert, the metaphysical context to this headscarf is that it is a protective veil that separates me and my God from the rest of the world?”

“I get the concept – it is a sign of respect, ultimately, right?” said Monas.

“Well, every time I put it on, I suppose just as when you use your collar, I am trying to think of all those issues that matter for a woman that uses it, before God, if you like?  It keeps me moral and private. I want to keep out of my life those things that are nothing to do with God’s will.” They started to walk towards the house, up the beach.  “And I think that this includes what is coming to us in that car” she said.

“You know I have spoken to you about what we call irony, Nargess?”

“Shakespeare? What the Americans don’t get?”

“Quite. Well, there is an irony over there Nargess, because unless I am mistaken, that… is the Bishop of Aberdeen.” They watched the car park outside the house and a single man in a long black trench coat stretched out his arms and began to wave in their direction. He then made his way inside the house. “That is one of the problems with living in Pennan, you know. Nothing is ever locked”, said Monas.

The Bishop of Aberdeen, one Gilbert Harris, was unexpectedly appointed having previously been Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery two hours west of Pennan and heading north towards Inverness. He was elevated to his current role just a year ago and it was said that in terms of career advancement, he rose without trace. As befits someone who had been in an enclosed environment for over two decades, the outside world was a constant marvel to him, and when he did speak (which was fittingly rare), there was a degree of wisdom and detachment which Monas had come to cherish, if only by way of telephone.

A slim man, but fit looking with greying silk hair where it existed, and approaching seventy years of age, he was nevertheless ostensibly a welcome visitor who “had an air” as people would say, that enveloped a room when he entered or spoke. He was someone that would always bring leaven to a conversation.

“Are you going to be okay?” she asked Monas, as they slowly meandered precariously over beach stones spotted by snow. There was good reason behind her question. Not only was Monas haunted by sleep ridden nightmares with a Francis Bacon landscape (the painter, not the philosopher) which came with its context of animalistic and gory imagery, but Monas had confessed to Nargess on more than one occasion that all Bishops, Cardinals and Popes brought up in him mental images of Bacon’s iconic painting of “the screaming Pope” – His Holiness Pope Innocent X (after Velazquez), with all of its papal rage. “I’ll make you a special coffee, OK?” she said, squeezing his hand.

Monas shook himself of the cold. “Maybe it’s just a friendly chat?” He had not convinced himself, nor Nargess, of that piece of optimism.

“So tell me… how have you two been, Father?” greeted the Bishop. He had sat himself on the large hooded wicker- woven Orkney chair which took pride of place in the living room area on the ground floor of the house, facing out to the sea. Nargess drew the curtains further apart and the morning light flooded in, revealing a musky haze of light against suddenly disturbed tranquillity. “And then there was light…” said the Bishop, with a smile of approval. “I tried to contact you by phone, even mobile phone, but I couldn’t reach you. Either of you.”

“We don’t get a mobile signal here, Bishop” said Monas

“We like it that way” said Nargess. “It’s one of the reasons we live here”.

“I didn’t pick up any messages though on the landline” said Monas.  Nargess turned away and smiled. “Nargess and I have been fine, thanks be to God. Well, recovering, you know…”

“Yes, thanks be to God, yours and mine” said Nargess.

“And how have you been my dear?” the Bishop asked Nargess, with a sympathetic and somewhat disapproving expression, based not on her gender but on the living arrangements the two of them shared. Not overtly hostile to the arrangement, there were questions that were never raised by the church in relation to Monas’ living circumstances, a mutually agreed silence that suited everyone. “Just keep everything private. Don’t for goodness sake go on talking about such things in public, Monas. That is when the trouble starts” was the sentiment expressed those many years back.

“Tired, thank you Bishop, for asking” said Nargess.

“You must call me Gilbert, my angel. Just like Monas. I am not here to criticise you or Father Monas for the circumstances that life has delivered to you both.” There was a slight Irish drawl to his voice that soothed, being from the south. “Yes, So why am I here you ask? To find out how you are both doing of course. But also…Cairo. Three years ago now and what the medja call an “Arab Spring” is seemingly well and truly sprung. Tunisia, Libya and Egypt nestled seemingly in amongst them.”

There was a pause as the Bishop rose and took the coffee Nargess had made, from her hand. He had seen a lack of enthusiasm on the part of those in the living room to discuss work. “Monas. But I mean how how are you? I mean really. I told you way back when, you know… when you had the good grace to come on retreats at the Abbey all those years ago. I told you so. If you get involved in the ways of the world, you will suffer the consequences. So I did. And just look at what has happened? You get yourself involved in all this cloak and dagger brigade stuff and nonsense, and before you know it you’re acting like Dr Who with this…this lovely angel here, rescued from the very gates of Hades over in Tehran. So she was.”

Monas sat down and opened a window. “Smell that Bishop? Air. Good, decent air, filling the lungs. Good, God given air. You know what that smells like, you know the difference between the air of Pluscarden and that of Aberdeen now, don’t you? Aberdeen is polluted, all that oil and gas, that filthy lucre all that…noise. Not like the air you would breathe in at the Abbey is it, eh? The truth of the matter is that I like it here Bishop. We like it here. And I have kept my vows, don’t you or anybody else worry about that.” He glanced at Nargess who looked downwards, accepting, then looking at the Bishop who was seeking confirmation with a curious and inquisitive frown.

“I have no doubt of that” said the Bishop. “No doubt at all. And for what it’s worth, I know it has not been easy. I know that you two are like, well…kindred spirits if I can put it like that.”

“I don’t know how you would have the faintest of an idea, Bishop…with respect” said Nargess. “I’m sorry, I know I have no right to speak to you like that.” She felt that she had overstepped the mark. But underlying her thoughts was a sense of anger at the fact that the visit was more than social.

“You have every right Nargess”, said the Bishop. “But let me let you in on a secret of my own. It may come as a surprise to you, maybe both of you, but I too have loved, and had to lose. Years ago of course, and I made a choice. I would not be human if I did not sometimes wish that I chose mammon. Maybe wish is not the right word, maybe sometimes I just …wonder at the likely consequences if my direction had been different.”  He produced a white glass rosary from his jacket pocket and attached to it was a small locket. Opening it, he held it up to Nargess, so she could make it out in the light from the window. “Can you see it, my dear?”

“A lock of hair?” she said.

“Indeed. A simple lock of hair. I can hold it and smell it and the memories are free.  I remember cutting it as I held him in my arms. I gave him the Viaticum – what you might know as the ‘last rights’, Nargess. HIV it was, or AIDS, back in the 1980’s. He told me he ‘didn’t think much of this life anyway’. His last words to me, pretty much. My dear Andrew.”

“So, can I ask, he was your lover?” said Nargess, placing herself seated on the floor on the rug next to the Bishop’s knees.

Bishop Harris said “no. We never consummated our relationship, as it were. He did however, I am afraid to say, do so several times with far too many others in what you might term ‘casual’ circumstances. He was such a bright thing, you see. Colourful….you know? What we shared to the end of his life was the fact that neither he nor I actually think much of this life, if the truth be known. That may shock you, but if it does I ask you to reflect on all the work you do for the Government or the Room or whatever you call it? You make the best of it, but it, like us, is flawed and we constantly seek that happiness that actually, only God can provide. At least that is why I am what I am. That God, is that which you and I share, Nargess. I solemnly believe that. At some stage in this life, we reach that point of knowing, through experience I suppose, that this life isn’t what living is all about. You could do what I did and turn to the Church, run away from the world in some other way, or you can do what so many poor souls do and run away from the world by turning to a different sort of spirit.”

Nargess caught a glance between Monas and the Bishop, which identified new territory to her, a new piece in his jigsaw puzzle.

“Or become a monk, I suppose. So…why are you here Bishop?” asked Monas. “Unless this is just a social visit?”

“Let’s have some more coffee. What is this, Nargess?” asked the Bishop.

Nargess had warmed to him. With a smile and a touch on his shoulder, she said “It’s Lavazza, Monas’ favourite.”

“I’ll get it” said Monas.

The Bishop breathed in the aroma of the beans that had engulfed the room. “Ah, the Italians make so many fine things. Quite a bit different from the mud you told me about in Cairo then Monas?”

Monas said “Cairo was about much more than coffee Bishop. Tahrir Square keeps me awake for other reasons”. His tone had changed and Nargess removed the smile from her face as she looked at Monas from the reflection in a mirror on one wall.

The Bishop moved forward on his chair and in a ludicrously hushed manner said “I have been asked to speak to you about Cairo, both of you. There have been…developments, so I’m told.”

“Who is talking to us now Bishop, you or someone else?” asked Monas. “We obviously have heard about some things in the media and on the television, but to be honest we keep ourselves away from the news as much as possible.”

“We put up a veil around us” said Nargess.

The Bishop stood up and peered through the window, wiping the condensation from the glass. “It is nice here isn’t it? You know this was all real Jacobite territory back in the day. Over there, just up the coast was a Pictish fort, but you probably know all that? Just think, two thousand years ago, this place would have been full of scavenging Picts.”

“And now we have a scavenging Bishop. Look, I am sorry, but what is it actually that you want, Bishop…Gilbert?” asked Monas. He took several large gulps from his coffee and whispered to Nargess as he started to raise his voice and walk in small circles… Monas had muttered “more screaming Pope’s on the way…I’m telling you.”

The Bishop waved his arms upwards to the floor as if to calm things down. “It’s not for me, you appreciate. Her Majesty has promised some support, shall we say…if I gain your help for her.”

“Her Majesty? You answer to Rome, surely? What support and what help?” asked Monas.

“Money, Monas. It would appear that you are…both of you that is…you are both very valuable, financially speaking… and as an asset…”

“You want to trade us in?” asked Nargess.

Gilbert said “I would not put it quite like that. Apparently, in light of these, shall I say, certain developments… the view of the Church, Monas is that God is calling you back to the land of the Pharaohs. You too Nargess., of course”

“I believe that you have a term for all of this, Monas?” said Nargess. “Bollocks, isn’t that it?”

“Let me explain a little bit more to you both” said the Bishop. What you experienced in Cairo back in 2011, and all the horrors that Nargess experienced back there then – and all the problems in getting you back home safe, my child? All in prison as well. So there were, many, many problems. Now the church feels that you would be carrying out a huge ecumenical service to the glory of God, should you wish to accept this calling?”

“And what exactly is this calling?” asked Monas.

“I am informed that our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church are in trouble and for that matter our Christian family and our Muslim brothers and sisters Nargess,  and I mean also those in the Muslim Brotherhood,  they too, are in trouble. They tell me that additionally Africa is under threat of being flooded. Or something like that anyhow. A big flood. Like Noah. A fragile democracy is ailing in that land, Monas and the Egyptian military have requested further help from our friends across the pond, as you can expect, and they have in turn requested help from you, the British government and the US. By all accounts it is a very serious matter, very serious indeed.”

Monas said  “I…we, are not interested. Been there and done that. Move me to a parish up in the Islands if you want, but I am not interested. We are not interested anymore. Do you realise what Nargess had to go through… like for the second time in her life? First Iran and then in Cairo? Do you understand what that life is like out there, what this world can do to you, Gilbert, do you for fuck’s sake? It’s not good. It’s very bad indeed. There’s no ivory out there where we go, Bishop.”

“Let me expand Monas. I have something to offer you, in fact to offer you both if you just show a glimmer of interest?”

“Which is?” said Nargess.

“You will be left alone, in that remote parish to do as you wish. Let me reiterate, to do as you both wish.”

Monas said “Listen, my vows are to God and I am answerable to God. I am not needing to renounce those vows I made.”

The Bishop sighed “early retirement then? At 55 Monas, that must be a good thing. The rest of your days left alone, you will be provided for financially and you will have helped the ecumenical project to proceed admirably. How does that suit?”

“Still no go, I’m afraid. Now if you don’t mind, I want to continue to carry out combing that beech. At the moment all I can see are screaming Popes” said Monas.

“Interesting that you mention His Holiness. Please just take a look at this, Monas.” The Bishop passed a piece of paper to Monas which was grabbed, and having taken a look, Monas passed it to Nargess.

Nargess handed it back to the Bishop and said “The Pope himself? God’s representative on Earth has asked you to do this Monas? Maybe we should talk about it, Monas, depending on what we actually have to do.”

“It’s me they want, not us or we” said Monas.

“Seemingly not” said the Bishop. “It has to be both of you. Nargess has her own special gifts, as we know. The two of you are, according to Her Majesty’s Government, a formidable duo.”

“Exactly who is it in or behind this request from Her Majesty’s government, or do I really need to take a guess?” asked Monas.

“My informant is the Room, so I guess you are quite right in making that assumption” replied the Bishop.

“Can you leave us to think on it?” asked Monas.

“That is not within my gift I’m afraid. There’s someone following me down the hill, he should be with us soon after we had arranged for the three of us to have this chat. I insisted that he gave us this time together, alone.”

“John is outside” said Nargess, peering outside the window. “He looks like what you would call a ‘snowman’.”

“I’m only listening, John ”Monas said, as soon as John had wiped himself down of boot laden snow and removed his duffle coat. John was well known to Monas and Nargess, from their previous experiences with the Room. Time had not changed him since their last encounter; boyish and lethal in his precise thinking, with all the hallmarks of someone not quite orthodox enough to be a straight member of the MI6 club. He was more of a foot soldier that had kicked his way up and passed many as they were booted down by his successes. Monas always referred to him as being ‘untipped’ amongst a box of cocktail cigarettes. “I’m not signing up to anything as yet John, even if the Pope has given me my orders.”

John sat in the vacant Orkney chair alongside Bishop Gilbert, and produced a large A4 envelope from a Gladstone bag. “Sorry to have to say this, but Bishop, you are one hell of a bastard for kicking me out. I feel as though I’ve arrived at base camp and I am not impressed, if this is how the Church operates.”

The Bishop winked at Nargess, “oh, we can be a lot worse than that you know. We were responsible for the Inquisition, remember?” he replied. “I’m going to leave you all to this. I’m not sure that what this chap has to tell you, I really want to know? And neither does His Holiness, by the way. I’ll let myself out… and Monas, you’ll have to drop him off somewhere. Bloody agnostics, they really get on my tits, sorry Nargess. Take care you two, and God bless.”   He withdrew from the house the same way he entered, swiftly and without fuss. Nargess could be seen giving him a hug as he climbed into his car and slowly eased the car away along the road out of the village. There was a sound of his car horn as he left and the revving of the engine as it manoeuvred back up the hill.

Monas made a deep sigh before speaking.  “What’s going on, John? You better start making some sense of all this. I do not like being told what I should do, no matter who it’s from.” John started to speak as he removed his coat and placed it on a stand in the short hallway. As he did so, he could not help to notice the clerical collar and the hijab lying next to each other on a nearby shelf.






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For the good of’ souls, Our Lord gave the Venerable Padre Pio of’ Pietrelcina many gifts, amongst these the gift of bilocation, which a to…


October 02, 2015 / hotscotadmin

What does “bilocation” mean in Remote Viewing? One of the most helpful sites I have encountered is from which the following text is is a any…


October 02, 2015 / hotscotadmin

Jordan is one of the world’s most water-stressed countries. Even before the Syrian refugee crisis, demand for water surpassed supply. and…


October 02, 2015 / hotscotadmin…


October 02, 2015 / hotscotadmin

Whether in camps or or the move, people need water to live and carry on. As people migrate, here is a useful and thought provoking list as a…

ISIS's 'Water War'

October 02, 2015 / hotscotadmin

Dear Brothers and Sisters

I thought you might be interested in this extract (copyright and credit as below)
While the Dhi Qar marshlands…