Friday, July 12, 2013
Of minnows, flounders and me
I've decided I'm a simple soul, really. The picture above - and that's my footprint on the right - represents a perfect end to a perfect week and we've hardly spent a penny on all this perfection. I climbed a hill (Beinn Donich) on Monday, walked the Crinan Canal on Wednesday, and finished off with what must be the seal-setter on the proper Scottish holiday experience: I swam in the sea and it was warm. There were shoals of minnows, tiny flounders, and the odd crab. Oh, and some of these wee clear jellyfish with the purple bits that we used to throw at each other. It's an odd sensation to hit one when you're swimming. I wished my grandchildren could have been there, because they would have loved it, but I had fun doing my own thing.
When I say we didn't spend much, I'm glossing over two sizeable drives, one to Lochgilphead and one to the beach which is the gem of Argyll's Hidden Shore (yes, it's a tourist description) - but we began and ended each day in our own house and bought no tickets and only modest food. But this afternoon I was ecstatic, to get a swim at the time of year when the childhood holidays demanded and with Arran, my favourite place in the world, on the horizon. Better still, we had to walk a mile to reach the beach - just as I did in my car-less childhood.
Is it what you do in childhood that in the end demands you return to these experiences? When I was a small child we spent 8 weeks in Arran every summer, in the same cottage, doing the same things. On days such as today, we went to the beach and went into the sea. Other days we climbed hills or walked the glens. We came home in the evening to boiled eggs, floury muffins with strawberry jam - this last memory is so powerful that today I found myself thinking of a boiled egg despite having had one for lunch. We would never eat what I've just cooked and eaten (baked salmon of some splendour, strawberries ditto, a nice crisp white wine), though I suspect I'd miss the step up in culinary standards these days.
But I rabbit on, and I'm tired and sun-sated. I've showered away the salt (it doesn't half prickle under your shirt, especially on a bit of sunburn) and shaken the sand out of my sandals. I feel as if I might still be ten years old. I believe the weather is going to be different tomorrow, and I shall be off to Rothesay for work, not pleasure. But I don't care.
Tonight is good, and I know it. Hurrah.