Monday, 30 May 2011

Reflections on Scottish Islands

Well, I am managing to plough through that twitchy phase you get when you come home from a holiday,and reflecting the marvellous experience that was Islay.  And a few things come to mind:

  • All that fretting about what to pack and what to wear?  What a waste of energy that was!  Let me tell you, the only thing anyone wears on a Scottish island is what will keep them a) warm and b) dry.  And with winds averaging 50-70mph, everyone looks like they've been dragged through a hedge backwards.  Don't worry about your hair, or your frocks.  Wear waterproofs and take a woolly hat and gloves.  Believe me, I have come home with a new revelation about just how unimportant fashion really is!
  • Islay feels like the edge of the world.  Jura really is.  I always fancied running away to live somewhere like that.  Now I know I just couldn't do it, even with the internet.  It's just too remote.  On the other hand, having now been to Jura, I really get George Orwell's '1984' now.
  • Wow, Norfolk is amazing.  Coming back to this bucolic, rolling landscape, with its hedges and lush copse, I feel like the luckiest person in the world to live where I do.  I love to look at mountains, but their energy makes me panicky.  Better the slow moving, mellow energy of the lowlands for me.
  • Going back to packing, Pat and I only took one suitcase between us, and it was more than enough.  I was very impressed with myself for packing so light.
  • I love flying.  At least, I love the going up and the coming down.  The bit in the middle is boring.  I quite like airports too.  What I really hate is the standing in queues and the way it makes people so vicious. It was a good moment to practice Loving kindness when we stood in the queue to go through security at Stansted for three quarters of an hour.  Of course, I didn't.  I got just as stroppy as everyone else.
  • Scottish people are just so nice.  Everyone we met had time to talk and laugh.  At Glasgow and Islay airports, the security people actually made the process a pleasure, whereas the atmosphere at Stansted was positively poisonous.  On the plane home from Islay, I met a lovely old chap of 86 who had grown up on Gigha, and told me some wonderful stories about what it was like in the old days to travel amongst the islands.  He was going to Glasgow for a hospital appointment, which put a whole new perspective on driving to the N&N for one!
  • Islay is huge!  So much to see and we only scratched the surface.  I think you'd need at least two trips to see it with any sense of completeness.
I am sure there are plenty of other things I could say, but I will save them for another day (since I have been told that I blog too infrequently and I am going to have to up my posting rate!)  All I can say is, go to Islay - its a real experience!

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