Thursday, 26 August 2010

SteamTtrains and Pipers

Wed 25th

Last night I had a depression settle in and I was feeling lost and alone. I’m not surprised after lovely company for the best part of a week. I miss my special folks and wanted to just turn south and go home. I have been away for over five weeks and without Fin I suppose I may have hit this point earlier. Rain, no phone connection and no internet take their toll when alone, particularly when you have a head like mine. I speak to Cara everyday so that someone knows where I am and am safe, that is if I have a connection. I have loved the phone calls I have received as, although they have been infrequent they make a huge difference. I give thanks to those that have phoned me and get my head down hoping my mood will change tomorrow.

I am restless and fidgety in the night, sleepy badly, cold one minute and hot the next. I get my book out at one point and see if that might help. It doesn’t. When I wake I think ‘sod it, I’ll just leave’, but have a word with myself and the sun comes out. Well that’s more like it, so I go to the platform and board the train, dressed for winter with a fluffy fleece hoody and down body warmer. I have gone back in jeans and socks in the last couple of days, Autumn is definitely on it’s way, but hold on…isn’t it August? The train goes backwards to Aviemore and back through Boat in Garten where I have just left and on up to Broomhill. The whole return journey takes me an hour and forty five minutes and is pure nostalgia. By the time I get back I am grinning and my nostrils full of steam filled with coal dust. Fabuloso.

After that I make a delicious sandwich of king prawns with salad and taramasalata and sit and work out where I am going. I wanted to see Blair castle but realise I may not have enough time in this day to do it justice, so make my way there armed with a wild camping spot from the website and find myself stopping at a mega tourist outlet for tat just outside Blair Athol. ‘What the hell are you doing Carlson?’ my head screams at me. I have time to kill so ignore it and go in. It is just like a big garden centre without the plants. Every kind of gift you can buy anywhere in the UK for any occasion, plus a Scottish deli. Well that killed a half hour and I then drive to Pitlochry and check out the car parks as the website said something about overnight parking there. I wonder if human company might help. After I walk the high street for 20 minutes I get back in the Hobby and drive away. The parking was free between 6pm and 8am, but I guess I weighed it and it was too heavy.

The journey there was a treat. There is something about this scenery that reminds me of somewhere else and I finally realise it is the bit of the M6, when you get to Cumbria. It is the only bit of the M6 I like. This looks like that, only in purple. If you got a shallow saucer, filled it with water and dropped into it the grey of the stones, with dark and light green for the grasses and trees, along with brown of the empty heather and a soft slubby damson of the flowering heather and gently mixing them once with your fingertips, when the water stopped moving, that is what the scene looks like to me. It is beautiful, but a different kind of beautiful than the Highlands. It is rolling and gentle, where the Highlands are craggy and thrusting. It does feel a little like I am in the Lakes, but with heather.

I stop down the road on the south side of Loch Tummel and opposite the Queen’s View. It is a perfect view point of this part of the loch and also of a very grand, large estate house with a pathway down the sloping land to the loch itself, where a thirty foot craft with a covered passenger area a bit like a posh ferry is moored. On the lawn outside the property is a gazebo housing dining tables and chairs with a number of elderly folk taking afternoon tea.

I get out of the Hobby after parking up and walk Fin along the road. As if by magic a piper appears and plays for me. Of course it’s for me, I have asked for it! I check the bino’s and see an old feller in a kilt (of course) wheezing away on his pipes. He missed a few notes but I don’t care, his reels were lovely. The day is nearly done and my mood is much improved, not a teary thought in sight.

I open a gift I bought myself from Findhorn that in my gloom I had forgotten about. I wanted a small oil burner and could not find one anywhere. In the pottery there was a small candle holder which with a small dish on top made a perfect burner. I opened it up and lit it up. It now sits next to the vase I bought at the pottery displays I went to with Deb. They both work a treat, only the wild flowers I put in the vase this morning stink and need to go. The oil overrides the smell for a bit.

I decide to make myself a chick pea and courgette curry and have a cook up. I bet the hob-nobs over the water wish their venison was so good, hey?

All is well in the world and tomorrow a castle to see. Grand. I can see another early night coming on as I finished the cracking Dan Brown novel at lunch and am now to read the autobiography of the Dhali Lama, so let’s see what my head makes of that.

Oh my gosh…( I really did say that to myself, I must be coming a laydee!!!) I had closed the computer down for the day and gone to put up the blinds on the front windows, when I noticed two things. The first things was the wee beasties are back and converging outside the Hobby, The second was that the loch had gone into a mirror like state and was reflecting perfectly all that was on the other side of it perfectly. To top it though and I had to get the bino’s out for it, swifts are darting hither and thither catching bugs at dusk and are swooping the surface of the loch, breaking its surface in an attempt to feed. It is spectacular and just when I though the day was done I discover it has not finished with me yet. I am sitting at the window over looking the loch now about to watch the sunset. God I am lucky, it was worth staying just for this. All I need to make it perfectly perfect is someone sat beside me to share it with.

I climb into bed at 9pm and read.

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