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16 October 2014

Hope Later

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The first time, ever I saw...

Nothing’s ever easy.

I’m still not there yet. Paperwork going mysteriously missing, folk who are meant to be handling the paperwork heading off on hols for 2 weeks and not telling me!! And I lost my lucky wee Skye marble necklace… ack.

I had never visited Skye prior to getting the chance to move there. And my first visit – just a few weeks ago - wasn’t a long one. But it was all I needed. I just knew. In the midst of it – when the rain stopped – I went into a wee gift shop that was just getting the stoor blown off the shelves after reopening following being shut over the winter. And I saw a wee thing that caught my eye and which said “I’m the thing you’re going to take away with you from your first trip.” It was a wee smooth white marble stone from the Cuillins, strung onto a plain black cord. Smooth and offwhite, almost round, and with faint streaks of heathery purple and moss green through it. Not dear. And I blethered to the shopkeeper, and bought the necklace, and wore it all the time, until I lost it, two weeks ago. A brief meeting. Sick as a dog. Offered a reward, put up notices in the place I know I lost it… nothing. My wee stone; all those millennia waiting to come to my attention, then wheeched off the island, there around my neck when I made the decision and when I shook the man’s hand, when I wrote my first blog and dreamed my first Portree dream…to be promptly lost in a laundry in the city by a careless eejit, i.e. me.

Somebody tried to cheer me up. “Aye well, it’s worked its wee bit of luck on you. So now it’s off away into the big wide world, waiting to spread more luck to the next person who finds it. See - you did A Good Thing – you set the Wee Skye Stone on its way!”

But I’m too superstitious to be cheered by this. I saw that wee stone, and it spoke to me. It was my very thing from Skye. And I lost it. And somebody has got it, and I know they must have seen the ads asking for it back. But…not a sausage. More reason to be scunnered with the city.

Meanwhile; I have been getting very little sleep. Looking at the full moon from my window as the pubs close, listening to the noisy and not very happy drunks passing by and wondering if I’ll be seeing the next moon from the harbour at Portree. Worrying if I’ll be able to hack it, on my own up there (well; not really on my own, but…. acht. Too complicated).

For all the fact that I’m sick to death of the city and that I am absolutely cock a hoop at what is about to happen, the fact is, I’ve been in the city for over 20 years. What if I find myself in a year up there thinking “helpmaboab what the heck have I done?? I’m stuck in a wee fishing town on a soaking wet boggy isle where it never stops raining and I cannae see the Cuillins and the midges will strip ye to the bone in 2 minutes and there is not a thing to do most of the time and What About Cocktails?? and I’m too fat for hillwalking and I’m drinkin too much lager and I’m seriously thinking of taking up knitting???....”

…and then I smile. And I remember standing alone at the top of the wee tower on The Lump at 6am that first Sunday morning, with a brilliant sunrise in front of me coming up over Raasay, delighted; and then feeling…. Something…coming up behind me…eerie sensation. I turned around, and there was the filthiest mankiest smear of black coming racing over the sky, headlong towards the sunrise, and closing over everything, and the light disappearing like a coffin lid being screwed down. And a howling blore of a gale, and a stinging blast of pelting rain. The Old Man disappeared in a trice. I stood agape. I tried to put up my gamp – stupid! – which of course was immediately snatched away out of my hands and whizzed gaily away into the murk, to be fished out of the bushes later, a mangled mess.

And then just as quickly the drama was over; the blackness roared over my head and over the tower and boiled away, and the sun continued quietly rising, swallowing the blackness.

It was wonderful. I grinned like a loon. Elements. Space. Air. To see them and feel them; the basics, moving and interacting around me. That’s what I have been needing to be around, for a long long time. I don’t want anything from the city any more. I don’t need anything in the city. I need this. When was the last time I could actually even see the weather coming at me, never mind feel it coming at my back?

I love rain. I was born in exactly the right spot on the globe. As long as my feet are dry and the wind isn’t completely Baltic, I can take any sort of weather this grand wee country wants to throw at me. And I especially love watching rain. But you don’t get to watch much rain in the city. You’re always busy trying to get somewhere, or finding yourself in conversations about how awful the weather is.

And all the rest of that day, as I made my first promenadings of that wee town, the enchantment grew and grew. I stood among the dear silly sheep I chanced upon, who hardly even looked up at me; I watched the sunbeams shining through the fat raindrops (totally different sort of rain, later that day) over the garden of the nice house with the big conservatory on the shore; I sat by the roaring waterfall; I walked past the fronts of the wee guesthouses, with the fires just getting started and the breakfasts cooking, what an exquisite combination of smells; I went for a half in the pub by the harbour and had the local Portree man’s amazing story pointed out to me in the pages of that day’s Sunday Post; and (though I know it sounds awfy patronising and I really don’t want it to sound that way) but oh my, how soothing those lilting, melodious voices were. Not city voices. I could listen to those voices all day and all of the night.

And in the other gift shop, not the one I got the necklace from, I saw a picture in a frame that I can’t get out of my head and I didn’t have the money to buy it at the time, but I wish I had. It is stuck in my head. A picture of a lone house by a shore under a full moon, with one single window lit up. The picture was mainly lovely blues, moonlight blues, and the two splashes of yellow brightness, the moon and the window. Lonesome image, yet comforting. And dammit I can’t remember the name of the pic or the painter. Or the bloomin shop where I saw it. I’ll know it again when I see it. Perhaps it’ll still be there in the shop when I finally make the move.

As I say, I’d never been that far north before. Beautiful sights, beautiful smells, beautiful sounds, beautiful thoughts. Can’t wait!

I Will Be Fine.

Posted on Hope Later at 22:37


Good luck, HL. And don't attach too much significance to the lost necklace. As the other person said, it did its job, and who knows who else it may inspire? Promise yourself to buy another once you get to Skye permanently.

Jill from EK

Sure you will be fine with your mind set! Lucky you!!

Barney from Swithiod in agreement

You`ll be fine, y`know, trust me. Tho, if it`s rain ye like, ye should`ve tried Orkney....Invite the neebors roond for a cocktail night, ye`d be surprised at what folks can come up wi!

Hermit from Hacking It Too...:-)'ve never been to Skye until a few weeks ago. Living there will be mightily different from visiting - an obvious point but one perhaps which could do with making. Don't get me wrong - I wish you all the luck in the world - especially as I may well be doing the same thing in a few weeks' time. As for your necklace - well, sometimes these things have a way of finding their way back to you. If not, well, maybe it did do its job - who's to say? And there's nothing wrong with knitting. You could do a lot worse! ;-)

Ellie from the demon computer

Great luck to you in your new life. The lost necklace just meant you have to return to your new island as you belong there . :)

Greg from USA

I was lucky enough to visit Skye in 2004, my first trip to Scotland. It was October and the light was amazing. I think you have the right attitude about your monumental life change - there will be days when you wonder if you made the right decision and then something will happen that lets you know it was right! Your writing is beautiful and it made me feel like I was back on the Island. I wish I could visit Scotland more often or was brave enough to think about picking up and moving there - maybe some day. Keep up the writing and watching for the weather - the future will be amazing.

Sue from from USA

I am sorry you lost your necklace. As it was probably me that made it, I would be happy to replace it for you free of charge. It would not be exactly the same obviously but I would try and pick a stone that was as close to the original as possible, You can get in touch with me via my website or pop into our shop in Portree (Kilts & Krafts) next time you are in Skye.

Dorothy from Isle of Skye

i envy you i have visited scotland many times in my lifetime a i dreamt of living there but sadly it was not to be but my daughter is settled there now and i am able to visit her i will be on the isle of skye for a few days very soon

holly from tyneside

I have to agree with the first comment, the necklace served its purpose and has moved on. I hope you have a fantastic time when you get there. I have fortunatley been to Skye every year since 2001, I love the island, it has a magical mystery that grabs hold of you as soon as you get onto the island. Hopefully I will be following in your footsteps real soon Wendy from West Yorkshire

Wendy from Keighley, West Yorkshire

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