12 November 2011

A whole month has passed and I have been quite out of the norm and right into a loch. Turns out my Great Uncle Michael counts bats. And sometimes newts. So going off to count birds was pretty much inevitable. Genetically speaking. We arrived in the very middle of the night, in fact just after, with loud suitcases and torches that probably woke the whole farm with light in windows and made birds make screaming haunting sounds. We fished the key from a moss-covered fairy tree-stump outside the front door. I thought there could be someone in the other bedroom because there was a toothbrush already in the bathroom. So I whispered while we opened wine and toasted the beginning of Operation Scottish Adventure. I was less stupid in daylight. Toothbrush mystery remains unsolved however.

A lot happened in the quickest month of my life, and I don't want to be a borelord, so I did some journal trawling and picked out little passages. I've added authentic and genuine photo evidence so it's clear I'm not making the whole thing up. SO...

Where we were
Bogbean, bruised knees, blue lips, hot hot baths.
Reading Anais Nin erotica all the time, and Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach in one evening on the sofa.
ELUSIVE BITTERN (that we failed to see - I don't think it was elusive, rather a phantom)
Home from home - the flat has Pride and Prejudice on VHS. White shirted Darcy all wet from the lake. And Emma. And Persuasion. And A Little Princess (!!). PERIOD DRAMA.
Faffing with the cairn as the ducks laugh.
In a canoe on the loch, pulling up reeds by the root. Boat of vegetation. Cold wet hands in workman's gloves. Wading in water, getting stuck in mud, weird to walk on land again. Splashing water over dry-suits and hang them on the line in the dark ducket, heavy feet swaying. So creepy.

Cold Comfort Farm characters, but with Scottish accents.
I have bruises where my kneecaps used to be. Purple, stormy and tender.
Bogbean sounds like something out of Roald Dahl. No beans but sometimes flowers and always tentacles.
Lapwings sound like tuning a radio, like interference.
Peeing in a stream then eating sandwiches sitting on a wall by a bridge in Kirkton of Kingoldrum. The best sandwiches - brown bread sliced thick, cheese, lettuce and so much mustard.
Neeps and tatties and vegetarian haggis with mini bottles of red wine at The Three Bellies Bray on a Friday night.
Haggis, neeps and tatties
Scrambled batter with damson jam for breakfast.
Mink Raft Day is the wettest. Clay and droppings and so much rain. One thigh prickled from nettle stings, the other from a barbed-wire scratch. Fingers crossed for no tetanus. My bones wet and shaking. Then both thighs prickle from heat: heater right up close blowing hot air. Cider With Rosie, smell of very old paperback, eating malt loaf, a ginger nut and a clementine in bed. I feel like Chistmas. It is still raining.
Grilled cheese and mustard and beans on toast, tumblers of whisky. My cardigan has yellow wool flecks in amongst the green that look like mustard splodges. This has been a week of yellow mustard that bites at my nose.
STELLA FOR £2.20!! A WHOLE PINT. A Stella and a Snickers is the most amazing thing.

Hobgoblin and Stella
Wearing dry-suits is like being a Power Ranger.
Clearing away mermaid hair. Silver fishes in the tangles. Uncombed mermaid hair clogging the loch plug. Takes too many throws of the grapple, so we wade through plaited mass, undo the braids.
Torso deep in swamp and weeds/lying in a hot bubble bath, getting all clean and listening to The Velvet Underground's Femme Fatale.
He made gratin in ramekins - ramekin gratin ramekin gratin.

Exploring is the Best Thing. Wake to wind and rain in the dark then it's dry-suits in bogs and swamps, finding dead cygnets and wood all bitten by beavers. Up to our ribcages in swamp and rain and mud and mist.
Hanging binoculars hammer my bladder.
Dry-suit slung over a rake handle and held between us like the fruits of a day's hunt, like stag or boar, or a person if we were cannibals. We hid it under an upturned wheelbarrow under a bridge, the feet sticking out like a dumped dead body.
A dark walk home after getting drunk and the English aristocrat who thought we were roe deer. 'I saw legs'. He didn't invite us to his manor to drink brandy.

'The terrible truth is I think we're coming down with colds' and the pheasants shrieked.
Corduroy hands. We are forever making corduroy hands. Skin printed from being pressed in legs.
BRAVEHEART. A Mel Gibson production with bad hair and blood. They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom. Watching William Wallace hung, drawn and quartered while eating chocolate raisins. Hollywood Scotland. I wanted something epic with our lentil soup.
Rigor mortis rabbit with jaws clamped around a root, and an ice cream sundae as big as my head on Halloween.
Peach Melba
The kettle is boiling a lot quicker here than in Scotland which is kind of blowing my mind along with making my tea more promptly.  


1 comment:

Chris said...

Its a bit like hearing the Theatre of Brent doing all of Shakespeare's plays in 1 hour. Glad it went well, love the photos. Bird watching is the new rock and roll apparently.....