Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All this, and Heaven too ....

There are some things we have to do in life which almost no-one else understands. My have-to is to return ever so often to the island of Arran, and once there, to walk up Glen Sannox - one of the most perfect glaciated valleys I have ever seen. Today, to mark my birthday, I did these things. And it didn't actually matter that every now and again the cliffs of The Saddle were hidden by drifting curtains of rain, nor that I wasn't actually going to climb these cliffs through the secret key - an eroded whin stone dyke through which my younger self has clambered to emerge triumphant on the broad slabs of the col between the glens Sannox and Rosa.

Right now I am enjoying the free Wi-fi in the bar of the fairly luxurious hotel where I'm staying, as the log fire glows and murmers beside me and the wonderful dinner I ate an hour or so ago begins to sink slightly. But as we walked down the glen this aftenoon, the bellowing and belching sounds of rutting stags dying in the purple and brown hillside on the far side of the burn, I reflected on how the natural ending to such a day would have been, perhaps, a boiled egg and a floury muffin with strawberry jam - or, more recently, spag bol and a slug of red from a winebox followed by the sleep of the just as the sun set and the telly muttered unnoticed in a holiday cottage. For I have been visiting this island for the past 63 years, and in all that time this will be the first night I have spent in a hotel, the first time I have not had to find the food at the end of a day in the hills.

And yes, as I mark the passing of another year (with champagne, and foi gras, and partridge, and free wifi, and Arran Aromatics in the shower) I think that I could go back to the days of boiled eggs and muffins - and being seven, and having all life to look forward to. But that would be incredibly sentimental, wouldn't it?

PS: Photos will follow on Flickr, but right now I'm too comatose to find my phone, and I don't have my camera lead with me ...


  1. Well, Happy, Happy Birthday Chris!!!

    And many more to come. It sounds like you have spent the day most wondrously!

    Enjoy your sleep and I shall be so thrilled to see your photos when they are up.

    And, BTW, WHEN did tiny little Alan get so grown up!!!!!!!!!

  2. I'm glad that your foraging days are over, and you are deservedly luxuriating in the delights of hotel accommodation, where yours is but to command. Happy birthday!

    That was the right hand that giveth.

    Now for the left hand....

    You are obviously relaxed (he murmured). Par mon foie (he exclaimed liverishly)! It is truly touching to read how the free wifi is so poetically used by a wee wifie. I only hope it was the sounds, not the stags, that were dying across the burn.

    Sleep tight (he finished punningly).

    PS - The word verification is the genitive case of a Latin gerund!

  3. Happy birthday Chris... I like the way you tell about walking in Scotland and looking around landscapes and flying years.

  4. Thank you all, my lovelies! I had another great day today - and that after indeed sleeping tight, as ABF wickedly suggests. If I survive till after dinner, I shall blog about it!