Sunday, 28 June 2009

Soaking it up

There hasn't been a lot of blogging recently despite the computer having been coaxed back into being. I think it's because there's just been awful lot of living going on instead. Winter nights here are so very long and dark that the boys are happy to snuggle up into bed, and we don't move more than a few feet away from the fire, so it's easy to sit pottering with the computer. But summer...well! The nights stretch on almost endlessly, light pours into my studio in the evening, the garden calls out to be tended and no-one wants to sleep. It almost feels immoral to spend time in front of a screen.

And these long days cry out for journeys, to use every moment of light and sun, somehow to store up energy and experiences to draw upon in the blackness of winter. So recently we headed up to the very north coast of Scotland, across the wide empty spaces of Sutherland. Even in summer, these are impressively desolate places, you travel for miles without seeing anything manmade other than the winding single-track road.

Then suddenly, twenty or more deer alongside the track, the stag eyeing us up warily, watching us as we watch them...then miles more of moorland and heather-covered hills, following the path of a river. Sometimes, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, a small loch would have a tiny rowing boat moored - a sign that someone visits from time to time, after all.

Not a lot of houses, - the legacy of the Highland Clearances, but when there are, some of them are perfect - almost defiantly jolly in an often bleak landscape. I like that. One small gathering of half a dozen houses had every door, window frame, gate and every other paintable surface rendered in a striking shade of emerald green. Was it on special offer? Was it the only colour available? Or was it a collective decision to cheer things up a bit?

We met with a group of friends to camp. It was a brave decision as only the day before it had been pouring with rain and even snowing slightly up north - yes, in June! Midsummer madness? I don't know, but we went anyway, and were rewarded with glorious sun, empty beaches and beauty all around. But...the night was VERY cold. I had a 3 season sleeping bag, thermals, flannel jammies, 2 fleeces and my hotwater bottle. I was still frozen! But amazingly the children didn't seem to notice it at all and woke up fresh as daisies, as their parents grumped around in search of a hot cuppa.

Having finally thawed out and woken up we headed off in search of unknown places and were amply rewarded by a tiny but beautiful bay, complete with rock pools, sand, a peaty coloured burn, harbour, ancient wrecks and new fishing boats enclosed in a diminutive harbour. What more could we want? Hours slipped away as we munched and dug and made dams and piles of stones. We checked the wrecks for pirates and loaded up buckets with 'treasures' (sparkly rocks - I'm no geologist, as you can tell, but they are very pretty).

This isn't the place to go on a shopping trip really. You might get a paper and some loo roll and tea bags in the few little shops we saw. But how about this for a craft shop/garden centre? Complete with it's own honesty box as well.

So, if I'm not blogging, I'm out living. In all these summer days I know I have to stash it up for the time ahead. But I'll be back soon, I have some fabby summer recipes to post and some crafty projects to share. Hope you are having a good time living too!

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1 comment:

  1. your pics are beautiful and it sounds like you are really enjoying your summer.