Tuesday 28th December 2010
We say we’ll be on the road by 10.00. It is noon before we set off. I am wedged in the backseat between some bags, two tires and Sarge. By 3.00, I have lost feeling in my ass. I find it again when twisting to take photos through the windows.
My father has never been good at time-keeping. The fact that he has his own time zone is part of his charm. We always get where we’re going though, and rolled onto our first ferry of the day with ten minutes to spare. We were actually early for the second ferry, one of the two cars on board.
It takes us about an hour to find the cottage in the dark, perched on the egde of Sarge’s GPS.
Anne getting out of the car and guiding my father’s driving with the light from her mobile phone added to the adventure.
So did needing to pee.
Sarge is out looking for wildlife and I am watching Dad attempt to make pancakes without a Teflon pan. We have cereal and make a list of things to get at the one shop on the island, which also serves as the post office.
Dad and Anne venture out, list in hand, leaving me and Sarge to pretend we live here. We curl up on the couch, and start to read books found on the well-stocked bookshelves. I promptly fall asleep.
I wake up and the light through the windows has made shadows on the walls.
‘How long have I been asleep?’
‘About five pages.’
I love how my boyfriend measures time.
I am watching Sarge make porridge. Dad and Anne have gone to Portree to find relief for Dad’s untimely toothache. As Sarge explores the cupboards, I am pretending that we live here again.
Last night was whisky and music and laughs and a poker game, played for chips. And bacon rolls and Clementine oranges. I spent quite a few of my growing up years in house on a farm with a kitchen not unlike this one. If I close my eyes at just the right moment, in just the right breath, these walls and this air feels just like home.
I went to bed last night and dreamt of inviting our friends up here for New Year.
And so, today. We are left to drink coffee and read books and eat pate.
I started the fourth Harry Potter this morning, and Sarge is on The Odyssey. After 200 pages for me, and 30 for Sarge, I look up and remark that the pate looks like petrified meat. Funny, considering that’s exactly what it is.
Dad and Anne returned from the sea with penicillin and popcorn and more booze for the night’s festivities. Which will begin in two hours when they wake up from a snooze. Ferry journeys are a tiring business.
We are left with a fire to stoke and dinner on the stove. My first text to arrive in days beeped through at 6.30. It was Anne, saying they’d be home by 5. Now we know. Time slows and stops on islands such as this.
At the midnight bells, I think of my past and my future and how the two might mingle and meet. I listen to Auld Lang Syne and Sarge’s heart, twirling my grandmother’s sapphire ring, on my finger since I was 13. And I am happier than I have ever been.
Saturday 1st January 2011
Another reading day today. Also watching birds investigate birdseed on the fence. So are they. The house-phone rings and we first wonder where it is, and then who would be phoning us.
It was the couple in the next cottage inviting us over for mulled wine. Bundling up, we took the long trek next door. We were welcomed with the promised mulled wine and actual roasted chestnuts. There was also wonderful conversation swirling around like the embers of the outdoor fire we crowded around.
My camera hasn’t been one foot away from me this entire trip. I regretted leaving it at our cottage when people began lighting paper lanterns and starting a race in the sky. I made a wish on one, as it floated higher and higher. The last to disappear.
And I am writing this as Sarge makes dinner for the four of us. I’m still in my coat and scarf. Fire and hope is still all around me, even in my nose. And I’m scribbling this evening’s moments so I don’t forget them. Somehow I don’t think I ever will.
Sunday 2nd January
Sarge went for a walk to the lighthouse today. Brought me back a bluepurplewhite shell. And I don’t want to go home.
We all pile in the car and drive up Calum’s Road. Looking out the window, I start to cry. And I have a moment like the one I experienced while lighting a candle in the Duomo in Florence. But as much as I love stained glass windows, God isn’t one old bearded man haunting old buildings. God is the air and the mountains and the sunset. God is all my good memories and my Grandparents. God is everyone’s good memories and everyone’s grandparents. God is sitting in the car listening to epic movie soundtracks and crying because life is beautiful. God is on holiday.
Monday 3rd January
PJ day today. I finish the fourth Harry Potter while Sarge got further through The Odyssey and Dad and Anne snoozed in the living room. We had pancakes for dinner and I asked Dad to retell some family stories. One last poker game during this Island trip gives me a new nickname, Four Aces.
Tuesday 4th January
After last night’s epic card game, I am almost too tired to be sad. But I am sad. Sad to be leaving, but happy it happened. I’ve already dreamt of our next trip.
(Taken from my journal of a family holiday trip to Raasay and Skye. No holiday recap would be complete without a slideshow. Just a few of my photos!)