The Moss of Unthank

The Moss of Unthank is still to be found in Moray, Scotland. The land used to belong to a most distant forebear of my family. A man of privilege. A sir.

My previous post featured Stephen Fry giving the keynote address at a recent conference organised by young doctors training in psychiatry. Stephen Fry said “art is a disruption . . . it doesn’t comfort the world, it challenges it”.

The Moss of Unthank came into my mind this morning. I was reflecting on my reasons for resigning from the Royal College that I have been a member of for quarter of a century:

If I had land in the north east of Scotland – where I always somehow feel at home – I would call it the Moss of Thanks. I would give the land to those folk who listen and who are willing to take a wee shift of stance.

In researching Unthank I came across this report in the Aberdeenshire Press and Journal of the 15th February 1871. It has no meaningful connection with this post but it did make me smile. It features a ‘Dr Gordon from Strathdon’. The branch of the Gordons that I am descended from were notorious whisky smugglers who started out in Strathdon!

Art can be an act of daring. Here’s a toast to that!

Lord keep our pots distilling weel
Lord send the excise man to the de’il
Lord bless our couthy meal

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