Readers familiar with Twisby Island, a Study in Failure, may be pleased to hear that a mere six months or so after the series of unfortunate events described therein, we have finally received a reply from the Secretary of the North-East Section of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland:
‘Thank you for your Report to the Society, and my apologies for the tardiness of my reply.
As you say, Twisby Island is well-known to members of this Society as the place of origin of Twisbeius twisbeius, In the early years of the Society, prior to its current focus on antiquities, it appears there were numerous Papers presented to the Society discussing the island’s fauna and flora. There may also have been donations to the Museum, though the records are poor. I suspect however, that an elaborately carved egg in the Marischal Museum collection may be the only surviving remains of Pesophaps misozoon subsp giganteus, as the stuffed specimen can no longer be located in the Zoology Museum. It may be that the latter’s Fenton collection of cuckoo eggs includes an egg adapted to P. misozoon. This might contribute to an understanding of the reasons of the extinction of this species: it certainly seems likely given the bird’s behaviour.
Unfortunately, I do not appear to have received your letter protesting at the re-use of the scrived rock. Had I done so, I would certainly have urged the North-East Section to protest most vehemently at this destructive act. A study of the artistic endeavours of the inhabitants of Twisby Island should certainly be highlighted as an important collection-based research theme within the University’s College of Arts and Social Sciences. If you wish, I would happily discuss this with Professor P–t–r D–ff, particularly given recent research into the Christian significance of the contemporary Pictish crescent-and-V-rod … I have also noted the presence of part of the rod-and-fungus motif on the reverse of many Pictish stones. I wonder how many other examples have succumbed to over-enthusiastic conservation treatments.
I can only apologise that I was unable to act before the ecological and archaeological destruction of so much of Twisby Island. I suggest that you consider sending your report to the Royal Commision on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland as a record of what was once a unique survival of a distinctive part of North-East life.
N––l G.W. C–rt–s,