“WHEN Septimius Severus entered the lands of the Maeatae he did so with the following command to his soldiers: invade the rebel’s country, kill everyone you meet, let no one escape destruction, not even the babe in the womb of its mother.”

Well, that’s charming. Some people make terrible visitors, don’t they?

Radio 3’s Essay slot has been given over to the subject of the tribes of ancient Britain these last couple of weeks and on Tuesday night’s edition of Unearthing Britannia’s Tribes, the playwright David Greig revisited the historical marks left by the Maeatae whilst doing a midnight run along the Ochils.

Climbing Dumyat at four in the morning, the only light coming from his head-torch and the fires from Grangemouth oil refinery across the Forth, Greig ruminated on the people who used to live here and how we only know them through the writings of the ancient Romans.

Back then the Forth valley was a flood plain bounded by marshland with the Maeatae either living up on the hills or down in the marshiness.

“There’s only a few paragraphs about Scotland in Roman writing,” Greig noted, “but almost all of it concerns marshes; their frustrating impassibility, their mist-covered gloominess and the apparently preternatural ability of the locals to move through them.”

What the Maeatae thought of themselves we can’t know. They left no writing behind, only the odd artefact and hill fort remnant. Which does, at least, allow us to imagine them popping down from the Ochils for a night in Stirling at the Iron Age equivalent of the Fubar. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

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Whatever the truth of it, they remained mere ghosts whispering through Greig’s atmospheric essay. But sometimes we love a haunting. This was one of those times.

More ghosts on Radio 2 on Sunday night. The station devoted two hours airtime to the late Janice Long (Janice Long: A Life in Music). Presented by Zoe Ball, it was an extensive and deserved tribute to the DJ who died on Christmas Day. Broadcasters and musicians lined up to pay tribute to her.

It was rather lovely to learn that Brian Nash, once of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, is now a professional celebrant and conducted Long’s funeral and wake.

That said, the moments that sparkled most were those when we heard Long herself. In a short clip she was heard interviewing Morrissey. Their joint laughter was a reminder that even a pompous, self-regarding windbag (there is no harder judgement than that of the apostate, is there?) like Mozz is human now and then.

One more haunting. On Sunday, for want of anything else to do, I went a drive. Over the Clackmannan Bridge, Ochils in front of me, 6 Music on the radio, turn left at Rumbling Bridge. 

On Guy Garvey's Finest Hour (my favourite comfort listening), Garvey was playing Blue Monday. As I drove through Glen Devon, the signal dropped out, reappeared and dropped out a couple of times.

For some reason Radio Luxembourg came into my head and those long-ago teenage nights when I’d try to track it down through the sonic fog and static. Listening out for the voices of ghosts in the ether. Even in these days of instantaneous digital access isn’t that still the promise of radio?

Listen Out For: Alexei Sayle’s Strangers on a Train, Radio 4, Thursday, 11pm. In which the comedian takes a train from Birmingham to Edinburgh and talks to his fellow passengers along the way. Is that even allowed?