Friday, November 14, 2014

Truth is stranger etc,...


I've been driving up and down the country recently on the glorious A9. That's the road that goes from low down in the country and makes its way up the map.

It has recently been  in the news  for the installation of  average speed cameras  - which is a bit of a joke when you are stuck behind a huge artic grinding its way down through the gears whilst trying to wend its way up through the glens.  Doing three miles an hour on the way up. Then 140 down the other side.)


I believe there is a geographical term for this, Scotland is very uppy downy.


The road is very dangerous, scenes like this are not uncommon.  The gentleman survived.

So it's hoped the ASC will keep speeds low and tempers  from fraying.

I was  on the road to go to the wee Crimes Fest in Grantown. The invite  said 'writers should be in fancy dress. Gothic Style.'
    Well that's how I read it.
I was aiming for this kind of look - Fennela Fielding in Carry On Screaming.


So I dressed in a long black dress, white make up, a black cloak, black elbow length gloves, black lipstick, a red wig, a spiders web drawn onto my face  and I had a crow perched on my arm. The crow was great, its eyes glowed red when I pressed a switch that was placed around its...err..posterior....
Then I glided into the room.


And was the only person in fancy dress.

We will gloss over that...

Back on the A9, ... at some point on the road we passed a tent on the grass verge. We had passed it last year as well, and thought it was some kind of protest against something that nobody really cared about.
There was only one tent and it was very small. About the size of a small kennel.
Beside the tent was an old Mercedes. To the back  is a single washing line which usually has a pair of pants (Scottish pants not American pants) hanging from it. And a pair of socks.

As the trucks rumble by just a few feet away doing sixty.

But this time I Googled it as soon as we got a half decent phone signal.
The story is as follows;
The man who lives in the tent is Charles Ingram and he must be in his late sixties. He is a former garage owner and has taken a great hump at losing his business in a deal that went wrong.
He has lived in the tent for nearly 2 years now.

 A local newspaper highlighted his plight recently- the pump has gone in the car and he can't afford to replace it so as he sleeps  in the car, with the engine on for heat, he faces freezing to death this winter.

Both individuals and businesses have donated clothes, food and supplies. He has a big grey beard and  looks delightfully bonkers.  He waves to  passers by  and I'm sure he has a network of drivers and commuters that supply him with food and hot tea from flasks. Cars toot as they go past.
It is reported that he is a lovely man to talk to, always smiling and offering others a heat  (before the car engine went!) or something to eat.

I also read that the thing that really pushed him over the edge, and out of society, was the death of his mother.

Makes you wonder what else is missing from his life, what makes him think that living on the grass verge of a major trunk road can possibly be a good idea. Esp at minus 14 in the winter.

Chris Dolan, a man who is a proper writer and can spell rhododendron without checking made the point at Grantown that as crime writers, we always write about somebody who is, in some way, on the outside of society.

But when you look at Charles, it makes you wonder. If I wrote that, nobody would believe it. It would suffer the wrath of the editor's red pen.

Caro Ramsay  14/11/2014


  1. Yes, fiction must follow certain rules of reason and logic, whereas life signed up for no such requirements. Expectations are the death of way too much fun.

  2. Apparently editors have no imagination. That's why there are writers.
    There was a homeless man I used to wave to in the mornings on the way to work many years ago. I hadn't seen him for a few days until I saw his picture in the paper having died of exposure sleeping under a bridge in a cold Minneapolis winter. He looked like a thinner, older version of your Mr. Ingram.

  3. Stopped and spoke to the auld guy. Seems genuine enough to me.
    Was in his tent and gave him some food. Bran new so he was.

    Fuck the polis