27th August

Cromwell's Heid

By the time I goat hame I wis done in. I biled the kettle and made masel a cup o tea and then I pit the radio on and lay doon on the sofa. And here wis this programme aboot Oliver Cromwell and how when he died he wis gien a state funeral and buried in Westminster Abbey, but when Charles II wis restored tae the throne they took Cromwell oot o the vault where they’d pit him and executed him for killin Charles I. They dragged his boady through the streets and they hung it at Tyburn for a day and then they cut it doon and chapped his heid aff and stuck the heid on a lang widden pole at Westminster Hall and it steyed there for twenty-five years. Twenty-five years! So folk widnae forget whit he’d done, killed a king, and they’d ken no tae think aboot ever daein it themsels.

And then there wis a storm, and the widden pole broke, and Cromwell’s heid fell doon and it went missin, but later it turned up in a private museum, or onywey the museum had this heid and they said it wis Cromwell’s but how wid ye prove it efter aw that time?

And I wis lyin there on the sofa listenin tae this and I started tae think o aw the people I’d like tae see wi their heids on spikes. I started wi politicians and moved on tae celebrities, and pretty soon I wis intae double figures and nae sign o runnin oot. But funnily enough whenever I thought aboot somebody I kent, I mean really kent, that I hated or thought I hated, like ma ex-wife’s mither or ma boss or some o ma neebors, I couldnae dae it, I couldnae pit their heids on spikes. No for twenty-five years. No even for twenty-five minutes if I’m honest. And then I went through ma list o famous folk and I started tae take their heids back doon because I didnae ken them. Even Maggie Thatcher, the first on the list, I even took her doon. And then I fell asleep and when I woke up ma tea wis cauld.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Guitar: Sorren Maclean
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