‘Things Are Seldom What They Seem’ – The Da Vinci Cod

This may well be my last post on this or any other site.  Up until last Friday,  I was a  typical,  fairly dour Scot who shared our  deep national scepticism about anybody or anything.  All that changed  a few short hours ago when I uncovered  a deep secret  which certain international  dark forces do not want us to know. It may be that I will go the way of many others and that I and my knowledge will be as ruthlessly and efficiently suppressed as they were. Nonetheless, I will do my utmost to spread that knowledge in the short time that I may have left to me.

Friday was a fairly normal sort of day. I had taken the day off work and was travelling with one of my friends as he completed the research for his book which will be published next year. The research involves visiting various places in Scotland using only an over-60’s bus pass, a bicycle or his feet. I was with him when he started from Berwick just over a year ago and I was joining him again for the last lap, despite a flare up of the old rugby injury.

I had drawn up the itinerary and it involved seven changes of bus with sufficient time at each of the four ports of call for him to walk around and do  his research while I  found somewhere to sit in quiet contemplation and rest my wounded knee.

Well, it was too early at the first stop for any suitable places of quiet contemplation to be open, so I just sat in the bus shelter beside the A68 taking a few meditative swigs from my hip flask and waiting for the 51 bus back to Dalkeith.  I am. or was, a sceptic in most ways as I said before, but I have also always known that I suffer from literalism ever since I first  heard the  not yet  late, great Denis Norden (78) describe the condition on ‘My Word’.  The warning notice in the bus shelter brought on said condition when I read the first sentence:-

‘This bus shelter is of an enclosed type according to the regulations and is therefore non-smoking.’

Now, I realise that a non-sufferer would work out that the notice was saying that it was the occupant and not the place that should not smoke but your true literalist just does not get  that meaning at first reading. I spent a few pleasant minutes literalising and sipping away and then my companion and the bus arrived within thirty seconds of each other.

They were also both late so we missed  the 141 connection to the stop for the X95. Luckily there was a Wotherspoon’s place of quiet contemplation across the road from the bus stop which had opened at 7 am and we now had an unscheduled half  hour to spare. I had already had my tea, and my porridge,  so I contented myself with a small liquid refreshment. The pint of Ruddles was excellent but I thought that the Marston’s Pedigree one was a bit off.

On the road again, and south on the X59 from Embra to Carlisle. The writer got off to walk a mile or to to a particularly imposing baronial castle. Having done my own research, I knew that there was no POQC in the village so I carried on to the next town and a bowling club where I have played and where I reckoned that I might get the chance of a wee sensation.

No need and deep joy. I got off the bus and right across the road was a POQC which was clearly open for business. Totally unexpected as my research had assured me that the bowling club was the only watering hole in town.  I went in to discover that the rather attractive owner, Louise, had  been granted her licence that month and had re-opened the POQC that week. For some reason, I was in a curiously expansive and open mood and I flirted gently with her over a couple of pints of San Miguel before I reluctantly left to catch the bus north.

Back to the Eskbank roundabout to take the 141 to Rosslyn Chapel,  built by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness and featured in Dan Brown’s masterpiece ‘The Da Vinci Code’.  My writer friend left to walk to Roslin Castle and Hawthornden. The deal was that we would meet up again in two  hours  to have a very late lunch in the Roslin Inn which was one of his research sites. I wandered into the chapel for a quick look. Feeling strangely drowsy, I sat in a pew and half-listened to the guides leading the constant stream of tourists around and describing the many unfathomable riddles and mysteries of  the building.

So, I learned of  the Rose line  which is, allegedly, an energy alignment running through the chapel, Avalon and Santiago de Compostella.  The visitors were shown carvings of various plants which were, also allegedly, depictions of New World species which could not have been known to the masons when the chapel was built years before Columbus sailed westwards on the ocean blue. The existence of a deep and impenetrably sealed man-made cavern under the chapel was acknowledged. It was stated that Tony Robinson and the Time Team have been refused permission to open it up and I heard two tourists whispering that this was clear evidence that there had to be something down there that ‘They’ did not want us to know about .

Good for the trade and the Rosslyn Trust is raking the cash in as a result of this endless speculation.  All absolute tosh, of course, and explained away by any proper and rational examination of the facts. Take the depictions of  American cactus and maize, for example. Either they are just badly-carved lilies or strawberries or they were done when some of the more worn carvings were replaced about 200 years after Columbus or, most likely, in my opinion, they are clear evidence of the fact that   William Sinclair’s grandfather, Henry Sinclair, sailed west with the Venetian Zeno brothers, discovering America 100 years before the boy Cristobal Colon and a wee bit after Leif Ericson.

To be fair to the guide, she was a fine example of a sceptic Scot. She gave them all the theories and claims, dutifully pointed out all the masonic imagery and carving,  then finished along the lines of:-

‘There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Beneath your feet is a cavern which is variously  believed to contain the Holy Grail, several Dead Sea scrolls, the mummified head of Jesus, the Ark of the Covenant, a piece of the True Cross, Lord Lucan, Shergar and Elvis.’

I wandered outside to try to take a few pictures. No photography allowed inside. This is stated to be on Health and Safety grounds but it is obviously so that they can sell a few more postcards in the gift shop. Or so I thought then!

The chapel precincts were busy with people pacing up and down, consulting charts and scanning the outside of the building, presumably for clues to solving whatever particular mystery they were obsessed with. Once of them had a divining twig in his hands and was working his way up and down the side of the church.  After a while, they stopped for a group photo.

The diviner is the boy in the Rangers-blue jersey and you can just see that he has his rod in his hand if you look closely.

Now, I know that they look like a normal bunch of Saga tourists and were probably only doing it as a private joke but I decided not to approach them in case they were deadly serious and terminally tedious about some pet theory. Added to which, I was feeling a bit thirsty, so I wandered up to the Roslin Inn in search of an author.

I sat outside for a while waiting and suffered  two more minor bouts of literalism.   The Inn was offering ‘ 4 Poster ensuite  Bedrooms’ and I mused a while as to whether they were saying that their  4 poster beds were all inside their bedrooms and not in the corridor outside or if they were telling me that they only had four bedrooms and all of them had posters on their walls. I then noticed the sign describing  their Sunday lunch on the hotel across the road.

Can’t get a clear enough close up but I guarantee you that the third item down on the left hand board is ‘Assured Scotch Beef’.

Had it but  been a Sunday, I would have been across the road in a limping flash to find out if   it tasted any different from diffident or unconfident Scotch beef.

At this point, the wandering scribe phoned to say that he could not find his way back across the river Esk and that I should start without him.  I accordingly poured myself into the POQC to discover that we were too late for lunch but that they were still serving drink. Unfortunately, they had no cask conditioned so I had to fall back on to lagers or cider.  The errant scribbler arrived forty minutes late, by which time I had utterly failed to decide if I liked Stella Artois, Tennents Extra Cold or Magners’ draught cider least. To be fair, the accompanying pack of peanuts was excellent.

My companion gulped down a quick restorative pint while I had a rather pleasant Glenfarclas 12 year old to take away the taste of my experimentations. Then we walked across the road to get the 15 bus back to Embra. For some reason, which I can only attribute to my injury, I was a bit unsure on my feet and had to hold onto the bus sign to support myself . I had just established from the number of cigarette ends on the ground that the bus shelter was a chain smoker when I noticed a particular stone in the wall.

I was shaken by the face that I could see but only had time to take a picture of it before the bus arrived and I fell on board. Back in Embra, we adjourned to the ‘Guildford Arms’ to compare notes. I’m a bit hazy about some of the details but was on my third pint of an eminently drinkable Northumbrian guest beer which started with ‘M’ when I had my personal epiphany. Everything suddenly fell into place as I realised what I would be destined to research for the remainder of my life.

It was obvious that the nose and chin of the face in the wall were pointing to something really important  and that all the Rossyln Chapel nonsense was just a snare and a delusion. I awoke relatively early next morning, nursing a severe headache which must have been something to do with my brain attempting to cope with the revelations of the day before. Stopping only to buy an Ordnance survey map of the area, I dashed back to Roslin and established the grid references of the chapel and the wall.  I then applied Euclidean principles to the straight line thereby created and extended it northwards.

Frenzied research established that the resultant line passes straight through the very spot in Holyrood Palace where  Mary Queen of Scot’s secretary, David Rizzio, was murdered by her husband, Darnley, close personal friend of the Sinclair. They put out the story that Rizzio had been killed because he was having an affair with the Queen, but I now realise that it was because the secret,whatever it is, had been  moved from Rosslyn to Holyrood for safety and  he had stumbled upon it.

I carried on researching the line and found only one other place of significance on it. It passes directly through the centre spot of the pitch of a football stadium. Not as you would expect,   Tynecastle Park, home of Embra’s own team, the mighty Heart of Midlothian but the swampy and festering excrescence that is Easter Road, lurking ground of the detestable Hibees.

‘They’ do their work well, no doubt. Who would dream of looking for anything that must be of rare nobility, splendour and/or spiritual significance anywhere near there?  It is clearly, nonetheless,  the present resting place of the great secret. ‘They’ moved it there after Rizzio found it.

I’ve alerted Tony R and his Time Team but I’m now beginning to worry that they might be part of  the ‘They’ conspiracy and act as a lightning rod to alert ‘Them’ to anybody who might be getting too close to the truth. So, if I suddenly vanish from the blogosphere. I urge you all to grab a shovel, pick or handy excavator and descend on Easter Road. Tear down the stadium, dig up the pitch, discover the secret and unravel the mystery, in my memory.

Even if I am wrong and you find nothing, you will, at least, have done a great service to the cause of good football.

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