And Sir Walter Scott Lived Here: We Beard The Mechanical Chicken In Its Lair.

So…Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys, Girls…

(and sheep-and-grouse-herding border collies,)

when we last left our intrepid travellers,

Rhineland Gutenberger bred and born-

well, at least they moved there some time ago,

they were:

struggling with boots and southwester far too large, but at least sturdy,

braving a hurricane-force wind,

(the locals told us to walk it- it was a mild day)

armed only with a Gutenbergland-made rucksack.

(Naugas are bred specially in Gutenbergland just for this purpose)

Said rucksack being filled with stale three-day old scones-

Hey, you never know when you might need them against the mechanical chicken,

(the kind with raisins are best for throwing,

due to their frisbee-like aerodynamic features)

(and besides, they satiate the giant bird better than the blueberry kind)

And so, with raised hearts,

and valient songs,

our heroes tramped the rugged terrain,

down the mountain,

across the Tummel,

past the dreaded row of bed and breakfast lodges,

whose guests were known to put on kilt and tam,

and go fishing for the poor wee fishies,

pulling them out to take pictures

well before they got large enough to jump the fish ladder.

And so they continue,

past the many many pre-theatre haggis dinner places,

(not too bad, actually, and almost always with decent and fair prices,

for this is, indeed, a truly church-going land-

honest, true-

and kept in line by the ominous threat of the omniscient mechanical chicken,

to which every Highlander,

before the age of fourteen,

should he not have been correctly dunked in the Tummel his first summer after birth,

or having been taken  to view the Loch Ness Monster center

in Drumnadroicht, only a short ride from Inverness,

to buy a refrigerator magnet,

(said refrigerator magnet made out of five detachable sections,

head, tail, and three humps,

five being a magical number,

to prove their acceptance of the truth of Nessie,

the one true laird of the loch,)

must ceremonially, and with all due respect, pay a visit.

And thus,

to prove he,

or she,

is indeed worthy of the name man,

or woman,

each Pitlochry laddie or lassie, must,

with extreme obeisance,

beard the dreaded mechanical chicken in its lair.

To learn that which makes the true Highlander so strong, courageous, and kind to others.

Standing in the presence of the mechanical chicken,

and staring it down,

as it tries to break their concentration

with its hideous frightening crowing cackle.


We were mere children the first time we braved the mighty feathered beastie.

And now, as adults,

we had made a vow:

we were back.

And would prove our worthiness

to visit this glorious Scottish area

by once again bearding Clucky in his lair.

And thus it was,

that after a good half-hour,

actually a bit more-

hey, we desperately needed a cuppa-

we were there.

At the raging falls,

or actually rises,

since the lair of Clucky

is in the center of a hydroelectric plant,

part of a dam,

with locks-

and a fish ladder-

a sort of  hole at the bottom of each step of the locks,

which allows the salmon,

peacefully swimming along,

intent on reaching their breeding grounds,

to pop like a cork from a bottle,

to the next highest level.

Unless the sun sets first.

And it turns dark in the tunnel.

At which point,

Sal and his buddies turn around and go home,

thinking “tomorrow is also a new day.”

Unless, of course, they decide to have a fish orgy in the bottom of the lock,

and then just go back into the Tummel,

which they know better than to do,



according to the laws of the great mechanical chicken,

they will be fished out.

And end up as sushi.

And, as they are lying on a plate,

soy sauce being poured on them,

they will hear the terrible laughter of the giant chicken.

For Clucky,

in his infinite wisdom,

knows, indeed,

that he will never be approached by the natives,

to become mechanical metal chicken McNuggets.

A fact not lost on the local chamber of commerce,

we fear,


having found the exact spot where the symbol of the region used to stand-

we found neither claw, nor feather,

nor hens’ teeth

of Clucky.

Nor was a single A-440 crow

to be heard in the surrounds.

At which point, we hung our heads,

and clucked in near silence for a moment,

remembering all the joy of our first visit here.

And, hoping against hope,

that the locals had the good sense,

and Scottish love of all things mechanical,

to put the first great tourist attraction of Pitlochry

in a correct, well-lighted home

in a local museum.

Where perhaps we,

and the others who remember him with joy,

can visit on another walking tour.

I will let you know.

And, I will also let you know what we decide

about our next vacation.


just one day after returning,

weary but triumphant,

to Gutenberg land,

we found a tourist brochure in our mailbox:

an advertisement for a boat trip-

on the Thames.

At sunset.

With a showing of the film “Jaws.”

I wonder how they got my number?

copyright 2017

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