That was the week, that was

As weeks go, last week was a pretty decent one.

The world breathed a collective sigh of relief that at least some sanity prevails across the pond, although it’s still a bit early to herald the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, which has seemingly been promised for as long as I can remember. I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant as a child in the 70’s, but I realised it was something beneficial, which signified hope. Yet the more we came to realise how desperately it was needed, the more elusive it became and now I wonder if I’ll live to see what must be the longest drawn-out dawn in history, but at least for a few days last week it felt as if we were edging closer to it.

While climate change is obviously not a desirable thing, it is always an unexpected pleasure to have mild, settled weather in November, here in the far North. It can also play havoc with one’s work schedule; as we hurtle towards deep winter we must grab every opportunity to be outside, never knowing which ray of sunlight will be our last. Painting commissions, writing, courses, housework and any other indoor activity must be cast aside without hesitation if the day breaks cloudless. A spur of the moment drive around the peninsular led to fresh coffee made on top of a sea-arch, watching a pod of dolphins in the silvery bay. Another afternoon we grabbed the kayaks for possibly their last outing of the year and paddled mirror-calm water on Loch Assynt to a Scots pine-studded islet, topped by two eyries (presumed golden eagle; nobody at home) where we made strong tea on the tiny shingle beach amongst tree roots and watched the start of the sunset.

Born on 11/11 – ‘Poppy Day’ – this was my birthday week. How to celebrate in this new world with limited social contact? While birthdays are not necessarily met with delight once one reaches a certain age they tend to be preferable to the alternative, and are definitely a good excuse for some self-pampering. A hot bath in my Japanese deep-soaking tub, complete with vanilla candles and a homemade pina colada was enough of a treat, until completely by chance I discovered that the ‘Real Mary King’s Close’ was hosting an interactive, online paranormal investigation on Friday 13th, two days later.
Having been brought up with the idea that I am the real Mary King, I am aware of the other lady. Sceptical but open-minded and always fascinated by the paranormal, I decided it was very fitting, and signed up. A few years ago, friends took me to the Close for another birthday while visiting them in Edinburgh and I must say it’s quite a spooky place, even without the theatricals of the guides. Apparently there are a number of spirits inhabiting the now underground streets and I was excited to observe the investigation and watch the apparatus flashing in acknowlegement of supernatural activity. While the evening’s ‘performance’, interesting though it was, did little to either increase nor lessen my belief in the existence of other-worldly beings, it did remind me of an experience I had many years ago in Cornwall. I will tell the tale in the next post.

Meanwhile, there are still autumn leaves to kick and birthday wine to be drunk: Live life while you can!