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Family on the move

Our eldest son, Tony, has paid us a visit for the first time.Tony & Kate in Skipness castle With a bit of reasonable weather, with all our first time visitors we like to show off a few of the treasures of Kintyre and seem to end up at Skipness Castle, a place with a fascinating story to tell despite barely having experienced combat. Far from being a ruin today, this place was inhabited until the seventeenth century, lived in by the favoured few with their servants no doubt, but the place is now said to be haunted by a Green Lady, although we did not see her on this occasion. Within the castle walls today the light seeps through small window openings casting shadows on the quiet world within. Kate at SkipnessBut the stones used to build this castle glow with colour. A pink sandstone etches the corners of the structure, surrounds the windows and the fireplaces and picks out other details in a way that would not be out of place in a modern dwelling. Built by ‘Sven the Red’ when the Western Isles were part of Norway, he clearly had an eye for colour and wanted to create an impression on anyone approaching its walls. The roof balcony, created for the more liberated to wave from, was however a later addition.

Of all the new sights around him on his visit, Tony seems to be most impressed by the green lushness of the undergrowth that surrounds us, this being such a contrast with what he is used to seeing deep in the south of England. Frequent and persistent rain over recent weeks has promoted accelerated growth of everything with roots to suck it up and leaves to wave about. Bracken has been shooting up out of the ground, uncurling its long fronds, roadside verges have grown hairy, encroaching on the space available for cars, and trees now full of sap are bowing under the weight of their leaves. Everything is rushing, it seems, to get from flowers to seeds in the shortest possible time before the summer is over.

It is this point in the year, when the land and the sea are finally beginning to warm up, that Kate and I might have expected to find ourselves exploring the Highlands and Islands under sail aboard Cirrus Cat. Instead of castles, this blog would have been dotted with pictures of island wildlife, perhaps of tidal shores, of windblown spray and seaweed strewn beaches. Instead, I must report that these plans have yet to come to fruition, and may yet stay on hold until next year the way things are going for us. And the explanation for this starts with a journey south that will end when we have radically changed the lives of two members of our immediate family, and our own too.

Our first port of call is Yeovil in Somerset where we arrive to help our middle son, Mike, move from a place that has been his home for many years. He is coming to stay with us in Carradale. Moving to the Highlands of Scotland can be a life-changing experience, but living back with Mum and Dad can be even more of a culture shock – Mike thought he had left home for good over fifteen years ago – and his presence in our home promises to turn our own lives around as much as his own. In the intervening years we have each changed a lot so we are eagerly looking forward to having this older person around us and getting to know him better.

Closely following him on the journey north, as soon as the sale of her house in Sussex allows, will be my mother, her arrival establishing a three generation family set here in Carradale village. Neither of these moves are part of a long established plan; this is not how our family does things, it seems. For example our own decision to move to Scotland, although based upon solid reasoning, was implemented ruthlessly quickly as soon as we had reached our decision. House hunting via the Internet got under way then, almost before we had told anyone else, we found ourselves moving in. The whole process from deciding where we wanted to set up our home to re-locating lasted no more than three or four months, a remarkably short period of time in which to be turning your life around. Surely other people don’t do things this way. But yes! I had not previously appreciated that this was a family trait, something I should find comforting. But in some strange way I find it rather disconcerting that all of us move around so readily, following the advice of Albert Einstein who once said ‘Life is like a bicycle. In order to keep your balance you must keep moving’.

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One Response to Family on the move

  1. I love it, the post’s, the subject matter and the natural pace shown in the pictures. A huge amount of care has gone in to this and it really comes across as a labour of love.

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