Spring is here
|18/04/2011||Filled under Carradale, Kintyre, Scotland|
One of the consequences of moving house is that it forces us to pack up our belongings into boxes, packaging everything we own for removal. What perhaps we don’t realise when we are doing this is that very often those things will stay packaged up, maybe forever. This happens because we are poorly equipped as a species when it comes to discarding that which we no longer have a use for. Over time, therefore, a house will inevitably become cluttered with its own past. We have to containerise everything for transportation and on arrival at the destination there is an alarming but very human temptation to see convenient packages that can be tucked away permanently in an attic or basement. What is the point, we think, of unpacking that which we will never use. We avoid, therefore, the need to make decisions on what to discard, to throw away, by hiding it from sight, for good.
This behaviour might have been of no consequence to us at this juncture but for the tendency when packing to leave part-filled boxes lying about the place, open and waiting for that last item so that the lid can be closed on a full box, which is then sealed with tape. One of the natural laws of packing states that in this situation someone will always come along innocently clutching a much needed piece of kitchen equipment, an egg cup or the cheese grater, and pop it inside the part-filled box before it is sealed up, little realising that this box is one of those destined for hiding away in a darkened room once it has reached its destination. These two apparently unconnected quirks of human behaviour must give rise to more wasted hours, cause more anguish and frustration, raise more blood pressure than any other part of the moving house experience. To say nothing of the cost of the new cheese grater reluctantly bought in the end when we all know that the act of buying a new one will precisely trigger the finding of the one that has been lost.
For us it was not the cheese grater (thank goodness) but the bread knife. Many days after our arrival in Carradale we were still struggling to make toast using rough-edged slabs of bread that barely fit in the toaster slots and it was really only our location on Kintyre, so inconveniently placed for shopping, that saved us from duplicating that which we already had, but had temporarily lost. Who would have thought to look deep down amongst that old curtain material stored away years ago, for something to slice bread. And when the offending item did finally emerge into the light of day it was difficult to avoid the enquiry, nay inquest, into how and who and why our old curtains came to be a hiding place for such a vital item of kitchen hardware. We might just as well not have bothered, of course, since if we had been able to recall what might have led to the knife being hidden there in the first place, it would never have been lost at all.
Ignoring such hardships, we are trying hard to pace ourselves with the ‘jobs that need doing’ in the house, not wanting to be thought of as dull stay-at-homes who have nothing else to do with their lives but decorating, making our mark on the house. But having spent the last six months focused entirely on refurbishment of another house it is not easy, when presented with an unpainted ceiling or, for example, a stair handrail painted pink, to ignore this and spend the day out enjoying the countryside. At least it wouldn’t be anywhere else. Fortunately we have plenty to tempt us out – forest walks, shoreline strolls, exhausting blasts up the hillside – and as soon as the sun pops out our walking shoes go on and we are away. The net effect is that our cheeks are losing some of their winter pallor at last.
We found one excuse to get out by offering to help our friends Jim and Celia on board their fine yacht down in Campbeltown. They live in a beautiful house perched above the shore over Torrisdale, just a brief stroll south of us, and being members of Campbeltown Sailing Club this gives us the opportunity to join up, another essential part of us getting into the community. Cirrus Cat still rests way down in Cornwall but we have plans to sail her north later in the year and keep her berthed somewhere close to hand. Roll on Summer. By April in each of the previous two years we were sailing and living on board so we find ourselves missing being on the water, especially as suddenly the sun is out, the clouds have evaporated and the temperature is soaring as high pressure moves the Spring in.
Alien things are sprouting in the hedgerows, emerging from their winter cover. Once this strange looking thing has unrolled itself it will become bracken, green and luxurious and ready to unload a dripping wet shower onto legs that pass by. The swallows have also returned, a sign that their food, insects, are also more plentiful. While going the other way, to the north, are flocks of geese, their honking echoing off the hills. Trees now are speckled with green, leaves replacing the swollen buds, although these are still like scrunched paper, the veins still pumping to ensure everything reaches its pre-ordained shape. Colour is everywhere, in everything, even the most unexpected places. This moss needs the crack for its roots while the lichen is happy to use the bare rock as an anchor. Both, though, are exposed to salt spray as they live close to the shore where we follow an ancient raised shoreline to get out to Carradale Point.
Close though it is, it takes us nearly an hour of hard walking to get to this place. We step carefully from one rough boulder to the next, by-passing pools, some deep and salty with marine life, others fresh and filled with pond life. Then avoiding a marshy area where the water oozes black over our boots we clamber over massive rounded boulders, sea-eroded in another age when the tide was some eight metres higher than it is today, to arrive at our destination. To sit. To admire the quiet and watch the swirling.