|25/02/2011||Filled under family, house refurbishment, Kintyre, Scotland|
What are we doing wrong? Surely we should be climbing the walls with stress at this juncture. We are only a few weeks away from a house move from one end of the country to another (some might say from one country to another), into a house that is so far away and difficult to get to that we will not see the place now until we arrive at the door with our furniture and, we hope, our own front door key. But with no toilet or sink yet installed in our Yeovil bathroom, are we really ready to leave? Well no, but we have Andrew, one of the builders who worked on opening up our living room, on stand by to fit the toilet as soon as the floor is laid and now that the bath is fully tiled up, the vinyl floor tiles will go down in only a few hours. So there is a plan, it seems.
Packing began in earnest today after Kate arrived home with armfuls of flat-packed boxes and a big roll of bubble-wrap. Already now I personally have assembled, labelled and sealed some of the boxes, a very satisfying experience because it also involves sorting through the contents and throwing out things we no longer have any use for. Of course this is a two-edged sword for it is inevitable, sooner or later, that we turn up the old photo albums and we both just know that as soon as these are opened the day is lost, neither of us can pull ourselves away and we end up drowning in the memories as they flood past our eyes.
Here are some examples, although I appreciate that these may be of limited interest to anyone who does not know these people. Pictured here are my brother, parents and grand-parents seated on a settee that I recognise and in a house that I remember well. I can even recall taking the picture and even the camera I used. Flash photography in the 1960s meant plugging a small blue bulb into the centre of a fan-like reflector. Triggered by current from a battery the bulb exploded, sometimes dangerously, in a single flare, after which the molten blob it had become was thrown away.
Just to put things in perspective, this second picture comes from Kate’s side of the family, her grandparents with their children. Kate’s mum is on the left with the bow in her hair and her age puts this shot around 1920. The difference in style is quite marked and as much as anything else this illustrates the development of the camera which brought about a change of role, from a professional’s tool to a piece of domestic equipment anyone could own. Each of us knows or remembers different things about our maternal grandfathers, just small fractions of the men that they were, and although they would never have known each other they did share a name, Arthur, which is sort of nice to think about.
Of course what is really dominating our thoughts from moment to moment is a Scottish landscape, soon to be on our doorstep. The Internet enables us to discover what hot issues are affecting the lives of our soon-to-be-neighbours living on the Kintyre peninsula. and top of the list seems to be the plan to use the sea close to Machrihanish for a set of generating towers, a wind farm. Its location lies on a track used by yachts sailing around the Mull and it is also not far away from the RAF base and airport, to say nothing of the golf course. (I didn’t realise this but apparently the game of golf is badly affected if the view is not just right.) All this is causing excitement and controversy locally. Bizarrely, until last year, the wind farm towers used to be manufactured locally, just outside Campbeltown and when Cirrus was berthed there in July we watched these vast tubes being loaded and shipped away. The factory has been a recent casualty of the recession, sad to say, but another hot news item. Will the plant be sold or broken up? Watch this space.