Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Woman on the Stairs

How wonderful it has been to spend nearly three months on my favourite, very small, island.

Coming back to the mainland has been an interesting transition.  City life is sirens and traffic and bar code bleeps.

It's noisy and crowded and jarring.

My hotel, although comfortable, is without soul.  There are quietly carpeted corridors going on for miles.

I passed a woman on the stairs.  She was wearing jewellery - I noticed her sparkling.

I hoped she didn't notice the dried cowpat on my walking boots.

I tipped some white sand out of my rucksack into the bin in my en suite bathroom.  It looked better on the beach.

Little grains of pure Iona sand, out of place in this anonymous place.

I listen to cars and buses in the street below my window, and remember hearing the waves of the ocean on stormy nights from my little shared bedroom.

The television is bright and busy and peculiar.  I turn it off, it doesn't seem to make sense any more.

I smell the pollution in the air, and remember the delicious, salty breeze of the sea.

As I walk around the city, I find I'm humming the chorus to Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'.  I imagine the friends I made singing the harmonies.  It doesn't sound so good as a solo.

I have experienced something enchanting.

I have been sparkling on the inside.

I don't need the jewels.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Puddingy Problems

It has come to my notice that in this world of complimentary therapies of every sort and shade you can think of, there is a gap.

A big gap.

A yawning gap.

What has happened to dessert therapy?

'Dessert therapy?' I hear you ask,

'Who needs therapy for something so wonderful?'.

My only answer to that is, 'everyone'!

Take, for example, the torturous decision between being offered both banoffee pie and cheesecake to follow the main course of a meal.

Incredibly, this is a real life situation that happened to me only a couple of days ago.  My eyes cast around for a clue as to which dessert I should settle for.  Could I find fault in the banoffee pie?  A meanness in the cream topping, a lack of banana submerged in the toffee filling?

Perhaps the cheesecake would be too thick around the base?

But no, both desserts looked perfect.  My torture was to continue.

'Therapy' I shouted, 'I need therapy'.  Luckily a kind hearted soul at the table offered to have a go at dessert therapy.  As she quickly and expertly uncovered a lifelong yearning for banoffee pie, I was relieved to realise I could select this with ease.

However, more trauma was to follow.

The base was TOO CRUNCHY.

'Help' I shouted, 'the base is too crunchy!'

I was struggling to get my spoon to crack through the compacted crumb.

My amateur therapist again came to my aid, uttering soothing phrases and suggesting that next meal time I start on soft puddings, and build up my confidence before attempting a biscuit base again.

It was good advice.  I have just successfully eaten some chocolate ice cream, alone and without the need for counselling.  

Saturday, 19 October 2013

More photos

Bored of Dolphins, Bored of Life

Life here is so amazing, that it has actually got to the point where, when someone points out some dolphins frolicking in the Sound, you feel a bit bored and annoyed you have to turn your head to look!

The weather (up to today) has been so wonderful we have all been swimming most days.  Last week, the sunlight made the sand shimmer with a mauve tint, which I could admire all the better as my feet sank into it, up to my ankles.

The sun now rises at around the time I go to work, so a standard day starts with watching the sun rise from outside the abbey, and might include a walk, a party, home made scones and bread, games, chat and oh, a bit of work here and there.

Last week a few of us were treated to a trip up the abbey tower, and were able to walk around the top, taking photos.  It was fun to see the bell I ring for services, where the doves are kept, and all the ancient stones from the original abbey which are stored in the lofts.

Also last week I saw a poster advertising a 'Grand Piano Recital' in the abbey.  I was just thinking that I must go, as that is the sort of thing I like, when I realised, with some horror, that I was playing in it.  I had foolishly agreed when asked by the abbey musician.  Luckily the piece I played is one I am very familiar with, so when the time came, even though my fingers were shaking badly, I was still able to hit the right notes.  My main worry had been that I would embarrass everyone by dithering over mistakes, but all went well and I even had a few compliments.  It has given me a new lease of life with my playing, and I happily spent an hour going through my 'back catalogue' of music recently.

Time is passing faster than I ever remember it doing before in my life, which is rather worrying.  There is so much going on.  I am looking forward to taking some time soon to think it all through and what I can take from the experience.

 Sunrise through the Sacristy window
 My favourite place on the planet
View from the tower