When first considering writing about our lives through the medium of a blog it is fair to say that I had other things in mind than the state of our health, or lack of health, at any particular time. However to remain true to my philosophy of describing ‘the most interesting things happening to us’ I find myself faced with either having to write about these things or else not write at all.
More will be revealed below but first of all I make a sideways swerve as ‘The Rut’ is always worth a mention, especially as it is currently engaging some creatures’ full attention up here.
I confess, of course, that this is not deer stags bellowing across the forest (which happens later in the year) but a rather quieter event carried out by craneflies like these two copulating on our canvas sail cover. Remembering from my own childhood, great plagues of craneflies used to occur in the summer when the air was filled with their clumsy flight and those impossibly-long, dangling legs.
On this occasion I chose not to cool the ardour of these two with a cold spray, and by now, it is to be hoped, the next generation will be planted safely until next spring brings them to life. I still wonder where did all those craneflies go.
Knapdale Forest, at the northern root of Kintyre, is the location, just minutes walk from where we were staying, of Scotland’s experimental re-introduction of beavers into the wild.
It also supports some of the UK’s top predators. Buzzards and golden eagles are a common sight and are heard even more frequently. On a smaller scale, but no less worthy a predator, this golden banded dragonfly stood its ground on the path at my feet, utterly fearless and confident in its ability to take to me on if I didn’t back off. Its eyes seem grossly over-developed for a day-flying creature but they must give it a terrific edge and make it a terrifying thing to meet if you are on its menu.
A few weeks ago I came into contact with an even smaller ‘creature’, now common throughout the UK, whilst I returned on public transport, train then bus, from a visit to family in the south of England. For this introduction I have to thank one or more of my fellow passengers, upon whom I would wish nothing more than… a worse experience than mine. The ‘creature’ I speak of is the swine flu virus.
The symptoms raged their way through my body for four days, during which time each of those described on the DirectGov website came and went in rapid succession. I lost the ability to regulate body temperature, to such an extent I had no idea whether I was too hot or too cold, and sleep ceased to have any purpose or meaning as I struggled to breathe through lungs ravaged by violent coughing. The experience was worse than unpleasant, it was horrible, although if I were truthful at no stage did I ever feel that recovery would never occur. Such was the speed with which this disease rampaged through every organ that it was surprising in the end to find that my body was fighting back, finally, with something rapidly concocted in the antibody department.
Thankfully Kate was not with me at the onset and she has not succumbed to the disease at all, although to make up for this she is now nursing a slightly sprained ankle caused by an unfortunate slip on surface wetted by some of Scotland’s purest nectar, its rain.
We are sad to depart the natural Knapdale beauty but to be practical I must be closer to Oban where, in few week’s time, my hernia will be operated on. Our three-week sojourn on the Crinan Canal is at an end and new horizons and sunsets await.