The sun is wholehearted today – truly hot – though the wind keeps us cool, but stomping up the heights to get a signal to see if a friend will be visiting on his RIB (alas, he won’t) I work up a sweat, and eyeing the crystal clear turquoise and azure bay beneath me I run all the way back down again and into the sea for my first Lewisian swim. Cold but amazing, of course. It’s 10am and I have the bay to myself again, after some noisy Danes and some shyly skinny-dipping Dutch folk left early. I do some stretches, dry off sunbathing and forage for some more gutweed. Murphy gets some in his breakfast and eats it all up. I make gutweed patties with butter, onion, sweet potato and thyme (yes, real wild mountain thyme, from the slopes here where more beautiful species appear with every look), and though they taste amazing in the cooking process and are soft and light and crisp with a toasted sesame seed coating, they end up tasting pretty much like every other patty I’ve ever made. Which is ok, but not earthshattering, unlike the rest of the day.
I finish off a run of green woves, tidy their tassels and darn them, and need hook-up for the final ‘crabbing’ process (steaming with a hot, static iron), so will have to dock in civilisation soon for that.
I go to Callanish and the stones appear dramatically on a tump, friendly but black and jagged against the apricot evening skyline. On other tumps, some surrounded by sea loch, there are roofless ruins in sympathetic alignment. There is music in the visitor centre but it is disappointing, so I leave again, pulled back to my incredible bay. I am missing it like mad but pass straight on by to explore another headland just to the south. It’s not the same, but for practical reasons I stay, pulled up alongside a burgundy and white (unlike my burgundy yellowing cream) Mercedes Chieftain so much like mine that its owner and I inspected each other’s and generally geeked about them for an hour till it seemed too late to head back to ‘my’ bay. Here I can’t see the sea or hear the waves, though it is only over a very small rise, and the evening is beautiful nonetheless, so it’s ok.
I thought I might go to the local gala, where apparently the whole island is gathered, join in with local people instead of meeting only motorhomers (who are a wonderfully gracious breed, I notice), but it has come in stormy and I get distracted by unexpected internet access and a hundred other useful and tasty things – island shops rock! Nearly forgetting to pay for my fuel, and nearly forgetting to withdraw cash for the camping honesty box, when the latter was my main reason for leaving ‘my’ bay in its utmost glory yesterday, I return to my Greenland-facing spot late in the day and breathe a sigh of contentment. I am in a constant dreamlike state, and frequently doing silly things, but a most of me is very level, very focussed and very receptive. I finished some damnprettylittle coasters (for the National Trust shop, but which P possibly won’t even like, since she is a woman of taste and these were meant to evoke campions but possibly just evoke pink) and congratulated myself on a surprise day’s work (it’s normally the converse, isn’t it?). If blogging and coaster-making count as work – which they must. Saturday work, anyhoo. Oh and I did meet a local, or two and learn how to say Happy Birthday in Gaelic, though promptly forgot again, but here’s the written version: ‘La breiath sona dhut’
Above my parking spot there is an abandoned old school. It’s sad. I feel a sudden wish to fill the cleave with children and revive the school, Small School-style.
A dear friend sent me an incredible article on a certain Mati Ventrillon, a beautiful young woman who left London to join the 54 other inhabitants on Fair Isle (the outermost inhabited island of the UK) and help revive their knitting tradition. She keeps 20 sheep with her two children and collie. Look her up, I’m going to. Fair Isle blankets perhaps? Definitely a stop on my tour one year.
Today’s recipe: happiness and calm
Give up everything.
Go and live in a bus on an island.
Watch the tides.
Drink valerian tea.
(If 1-3 aren’t available, 5-9 can be served separately, with noticeable benefits to health.)