Sunday, 28 October 2012


Caol     cold     clear

I spent the day up here on a visit to Room 13, ( to tap into their philosophy and feel energised. This is pretty much what I wrote as I went a walk along the beach.

Familiar wanderings, asking that same question, ‘could I live here?’

Sad council houses smelling of coal. Ask a runner beside his spotless, sleek, black BMW, of his life here; an out of work gamekeeper who likes the life. I never realised gamekeepers could be out of work surrounded by mountains and lochs.
Small, untidy shops with locals rushing in; there’s a hairdresser’s almost empty, I almost go in for a shampoo and chat, but don’t in the end. Too artificial?

Old man passes me on the shoreline, ‘nice and chilly…………it’s good right enough’.
My glasses are steaming up it’s so cold. I can hear the rushing hum of traffic over the water at Fort William; clunking of old wine bottles being binned, laughter, curlews. It’s remote yet connected to that mainland ‘pulse’.

Sand/mudflats, tide far out, like my memory of Lochgilphead, but not quite. The drifting scent of seaweed, traffic noises………..I try to re-connect with home. Nostalgia, another word creeping into my vocabulary of place, I’ve begun to use it more and wish I didn’t, it’s disloyal somehow.

Walking towards Ben Nevis now, no camera, interesting that I forgot to bring it…………but remembered my little black notebook? I’ve changed.

I’m trying to re-connect with a ‘past place’, find that feeling again, the one I can’t define but know.

Beached boats rotting.

Walking along the tideline now. Every shoreline has a part like a ‘no man’s land’. I’ve crossed this one, onto grassy hummocks, like low living, crawling creatures making their timeless way towards the sea. Slimy, hard, impacted greens underneath. Lots of leaves on the shore in between the seaweed. Train in the distance. A ferry bell? Walking on the soft hummocks, nice underfoot, shades of yellow/green. It’s the textures – intermixed, jaggy, spongy, spirally – beautiful.

It’s good to just look.

Beneath Ben Nevis now; clear and not that high, not like Arran mountains. Knobbly, rounded, dusted in snow. That can’t be a chair lift? It looks all wrong beneath it; dark.

2 black and white dogs bounding up to greet me, territorial, ears flattened but tails wagging. Yells from swings, incessant traffic – surprising and incongruous. Numb fingers now. Bleak mountain, soft hummocks on the shore, leaves in seaweed, beached boats rotting, familiar smells, wrong sounds………….of people.

Reading this again, it strikes me that I keep looking for home.

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