A few days away over on the Western Isles. Mostly Harris but a wee bit of Lewis. Mostly pleasure but a bit of business too. It felt like a different world, and I found it intoxicating. I often bemoan the lack of ‘proper’ hills here on Islay and miss the experience of travelling through the landscape, rather than just over it (what am I talking about here: There are next to no glens on Islay; everything is overland and not through hills). Harris sorted that out. For hills which aren’t, in the grand scheme, aren’t all that high they command awe and ‘oohs’ at every turn.
I’ve lots of personal connections to the island, but hadn’t visited since I was a wee tot so don’t suppose that counts, really. It was a pleasure to visit family, with family, and see where family now departed once lived and worked. I already can’t wait to get back and explore further; hopefully this time without the distraction of work.
One last thing; while I’ve not got any photos as proof take my word for it that standing at the Calanais stones as thunder rumbles, lightning strikes and rain pours down around you is indeed as dramatic experience as you could hope. Thanks, Lewis, chi mi a-rithisd thu.
Two things today.
Firstly: Living alone in what is still a new place, surrounded by beautiful scenery but few very close friends, it is easy to feel isolated. During times of heightened stress and tension this is exacerbated further. When a loved one has been visiting and departs the same day various stresses hit crisis-point then, well, that’s not a good combination at all. It has not been an easy short while. Just as well then that I am so fortunate as to have people in my life, albeit at a great distance, who through small gestures help ease the worries, whether they realise it or not.
Coming home to this book in the post, a gift promoted by an earlier blog post, was an unexpected treat and just at the right time. And now I’ve no excuse not to up my tree-knowledge.
Secondly: reading through the transcript of Fiona Hyslop’s keynote speech, “Past, Present & Future: Culture & Heritage in an Independent Scotland” at the Talbot Rich gallery in Edinburgh was incredibly heartening. I am neither party-political nor decided upon how I’ll vote in the independence referendum next year. Hyslop’s speech, however, I found to be an honest, positive and, ultimately exciting account of the role culture and heritage plays in Scotland just now. The prospects for the future is anyone’s guess but being employed in the cultural-heritage field I found myself nodding in agreement with many of the statements made. Not often I agree so wholeheartedly with a politician!
…the culture and heritage sectors make an invaluable contribution to our economic life, but despite these challenging times, we do not measure the worth of culture and heritage solely in pounds and pence – we value culture and heritage precisely because they are so much more, because they are our heart, our soul, our essence.