|Rum in the rain - still beautiful|
Our visitors came, which was lovely - besides the pleasure of their company, we got to read a paper that wasn't the Press and Journal or the Scottish Daily Express (thanks, contractors), for the first time in months! (Though the puzzles page of the P&J is WAY better than the one in the Guardian, plus I'm now convinced that Ottolenghi is actually part of the puzzle page. Can see no other reason for his totally incomprehensible recipes, which make less sense to me than Sudoku). And we got to exchange all sorts of news and views about London (where?), Rum and Elsewhere (is there one?). For our visitors, they got to see Rum at probably its most extreme spring-like state. The weather wasn't bright and sunny most of the time, and I wished it hadn't rained so much (sorry!), but the green of the island gets more incredible every day. Christening our naughty deer "Hamish and Angus", our visitors spent much time watching them graze untroubled on the lush paddock in front of our castle.
|Angus and Hamish|
But they hoped to see even wilder wildlife. And luckily, they weren't disappointed. The very first evening, as we stared out at the still, blue waters, we saw a strange splashing, like a giant fish twisting out of the water. "Hang on...you can't see fish jumping from here, it's too far." I grabbed the telescope and yelled "Dolphin!" But it wasn't even a dolphin...Launching itself up from the sea was a minke whale, lunging up to catch whatever it had spotted above. I could hardly believe it, but it seems minkes do occasionally - if rarely - breach entirely clear of the water, although it seems when you watch them their bodies would be too heavy to leap so far. Even with the naked eye you could see the shape, its black body sinuous in the water, then the whole narrow, pointed black and white length of it twisting clear and falling back down with a tremendous splash into the sea. It was an amazing sight and I was happy for our guests that they'd seen this spectacle, although it did rather make it difficult to manage wildlife expectations for the rest of the trip...we don't normally see minkes from our living room window.
|What lies beneath! A minke whale (ours wasn't THIS close - this pic is courtesy of http://www.whaledolphintrust.co.uk/)|
I was happy generally that our guests were here. They marvelled at the castle, and had some great thoughts about the island, helping us to disentangle what we think ourselves. And then they helped me to remember my grandma's death a year ago. We toasted her memory with whisky on the turret, looking out to the sea she loved (a sea more northern than hers, but still the sea) and hearing the sounds of the island evening, the cuckoos, songthrushes and chiff-chaffs below us and looking at the intense green of the hills and forest all around the castle, feeling we were on top of the world. I hope she finds it a fitting tribute. Thoughts about her death don't detract from the aliveness of things - her life was amazing, and I am in awe both of the aliveness of the world here, and how lucky I am that my life coincided with hers, for a whole 41 years. Hope I can make the most of my own life, too.
|Rum from the turret|