I freed Nelson Mandela with my pony.
Nelson was freed from Abercairny in August 1989, weeks before the Berlin Wall came down. Decoy. He had spent periods in different jails, with our Perthshire gothic stable torture block being intermittently one of them. He liked to do yoga. Mandela was comparatively spared of execution, unlike the Steve Bikos who died with their thumbs twisted.
A plan was made to distract the worst guard by throwing him a birthday party five miles away from Abercairny. The guests put soap in his pudding for making him froth at the mouth and he ate his first.
Meanwhile at the stables, Gaza and Torvil were caught and sacks tied onto their feet. Mandela descended from the belfry upstairs to where the horses were groomed. It was an empty hay loft in dereliction but for pigeons and an untamed black cat who was later called Jenny.
My accompanying grooms from the intervening years weren’t anywhere to be seen that day. Over the years, people undercover worked as if to muck out. Dictator staff are always resilient, excellent and famously stupid. Across the courtyard there was a draughty flat for them opposite the hay loft where the windows wouldn’t shut. One once died falling down the spiral staircase over not having changed the light bulb.
We rode the high walk along the arboretum, among an invisible monkey magic procession and through thorough ambition discussions. The plan was to move the ponies from one field to another as normal, as if the summer were winding down. Mandela had loved to talk about the Edinburgh Tattoo, so the logic was made for taking him. We rode past the gardens. After half a mile there is a farm by Inchbrakie, and I left Mandela in the barn. Then I took the horses back to the gardens where I had left the Suzuki without a driving license.
We drove to Edinburgh
The impediment of the day was having the physical shakes to a Parkinsons degree.
We were met by Mel at Edinburgh Castle, having nearly run out of petrol at the forth bridge. However by then there were fleets of escorts flashing blue lights all around.
This recollection has developed fear and cowardice in me for I could not speak and factualise the extreme of it. It would have sooner protected me and many significant others. Mandela wasn’t the sound that the world made of him, for he didn’t really explain the pain back.