Months ago now I started a roll of film. It was sitting around in my camera with a just handful of exposures left for ages, until I'd totally forgotten what was on it. This week I used it up and got it developed.
As it turns out, the first outing it had was in Dunnottar Woods on one cool morning in July (the kind my mum always calls 'misty moisty'). On this particular day the woods were very quiet, very damp, very empty. Storybook woods if ever I've seen them, and as we were walking I thought of this Angela Carter story called The Erl-King, which I couldn't even remember properly; all I had was this impression of magic and greenery. But that's what this morning in Dunnottar Woods was: magic and green, and hazy like a mostly-forgotten story.
Just like in a kind of fairytale, we stumbled upon these guys who had set up a makeshift carpentry workshop in an old shipping container. There were three of them, just pottering around, not even speaking to each other really, just making things out in the woods.
One by one, the ferns have curled up their hundred eyes and curled back into the earth. The trees threaded a cat’s cradle of half-stripped branches over me so that I felt I was in a house of nets and though the cold wind that always heralds your presence, had I but known it then, blew gentle around me, I thought that nobody was in the wood but me.
Erl-King will do you grievous harm.
~ Angela Carter The Erl-King