Friday, January 13, 2012

Scootland

As you all know who read this blog regularly, I have great friends. The ones who I want to introduce you to in this post are my buddies Tat & Is. Tat is a writer who Ricardo & I met while she was studying creative writing at the UEA and Is is her partner. They are one hell of a special pair.When Richard was ill, Tat would send the most wonderful letters with pictures and poems and sparkling stars that fell out as soon as you opened the heart covered envelopes. There was one in particular that I put up next to the bed so Richard could see it as soon as he woke in the mornings. It was a huge full colour picture of Desmond Tutu beaming out of the page in his vibrant purple cassock with his hands opening toward you in a heartfelt blessing. It made you feel good to just look at it.
They offered to have me come & stay with them in Scotland over Christmas and New year. I was thrilled. I felt exhausted with the lead up to Christmas and looked forward to taking some time out from worrying about everything as well as pushing the giant boulder of grief uphill. I would maybe knit a bit and read some books and sleep too.
I got much more than I bargained for.... Tat plays the fiddle and Isra plays the guitar, their friend Will brought her ukelele too. They had all gone to enormous trouble and gave me a stocking full of heartfelt gifts that spoke of me and of Scotland, with a special porridge stirrer called a spurtle, the Tin tin book 'The black island', that's set in Scotland, a book about the Broons family, some Tablet! a pencil & eraser with musical notes for choir, a book about Charles Rennie Makintosh, and the most gorgeous soap from Purdies of Argyll. Not for one minute did I feel far away from family or sad at missing my best buddy. Is had rented a holiday cottage which was small but perfectly formed on the banks of Loch Awe at a place called Dalavich and we had an absolute ball, playing cards, knitting, walking, eating, sleeping, laughing fit to burst, playing more cards and singing, even though it rained non stop the whole time we were there and we barely saw daylight.
One of the books I'd taken with me to read was Witchlight by Susan Fletcher and is one of the best books I've ever read. Part of the story is set in Glencoe. Here's what the Guardian said about it ..........‘Corrag's descriptions combine the oblique originality of a child with the precision and control of a poet…the novel is crowded with images stunning in their freshness and simplicity…there are moments when the sheer beauty of the prose takes one's breath away…it is a novel of extraordinary beauty and quiet power that is impossible, having read it, not to look at the world anew'.
I wished with all my heart that the girls would pick up on my longing to go to Glencoe and to read the book...and....they did. They decided we would make the pilgrimage and Is read the book all the way as we passed through a more and more amazing landscape.
Richard had been bowled over by Glencoe when he went there in the 1980's and reckoned you could here the sounds of sword & sheild clashing in that mighty Glen.
Will said it was like a car wash for the soul. I've never seen such an amazing landscape nor so much rain. Every tiny dip in the mountains was racing with white water.

Here is a poem Tat sent me that captures it completely.
Title:
Glencoe
Author: G. K. Chesterton

The star-crowned cliffs seem hinged upon the sky,
The clouds are floating rags across them curled,
They open to us like the gates of God
Cloven in the last great wall of all the world.

I looked, and saw the valley of my soul
Where naked crests fight to achieve the skies,
Where no grain grows nor wine, no fruitful thing,
Only big words and starry blasphemies.

But you have clothed with mercy like a moss
The barren violence of its primal wars,
Sterile although they be and void of rule,
You know my shapeless crags have Wed the stars.

How shall I thank you, O courageous heart.
That of this wasteful world you had no fear;
But bade it blossom in clear faith and sent
Your fair flower-feeding rivers: even as here

The peat burns brimming from their cups of stone
Glow brown and blood-red down the vast decline
As if Christ stood on yonder clouded peak
And turned its thousand waters into wine.

So let's raise a glass and toast these incredible friends and their hearts so full of passion, music and the mysteryof life.

4 comments:

Seshat said...

We miss you! Come north soon.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I loved reading this and the photos are fab. xxx

Anonymous said...

wwwwooooooowwwwwww you should be a writer in your next phase of life..... thank you ..I love you XXXXX.......suez

JoeyJoJo said...

Thomsey I love you too.
Come to think of it there are three people here who I just love the hell out of. One day...one day you'll get to meet each other. xxx