Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Iona (or Look at My Snaps)

Across Mull to get the Iona ferry. The only place en route to get petrol.

ok, I just want to make it absolutely clear that I am posting these up because certain people (naming no names) are homesick for Scotland and at least one of them has never even been there. Can you be homesick for places you have never been to? Discuss. Then click on the pictures to get the full effect - almost, but not really, like being there.
And posting up pictures of my holiday is cool. As long as that's understood.

Next instalment:
Mull - the director's cut.


Anna MR said...

Oh my good God, beautiful Ms Signsy Kolmio, you have truly given your fans what they've asked for.

(Just really needed to say that, quick - will have a proper look-see-read now.)

Thank you, dear lady.


The Periodic Englishman said...

You are too kind, Signs. I never imagined that a campaign of internet bullying could reap such fine rewards. I'm going to start bullying loads of people - it's brilliant. I'm not really sure anymore why it is that people dislike the habit so much. It works a treat.

Not that I acted alone, I hasten to add.

But these are gorgeous, Signs, thank you and thank you some more. I think there is no need to beat yourself up for posting holiday pictures, by the way - especially given the grievous nature of the the mob-hounding you have been subjected to. Honestly though, I see nothing wrong with it. In fact, it feels a little bit like a public service you are performing right now.

You are correct, incidentally, to urge your readers - your fans - to enlarge the pictures. The scale of the beauty is more readily appreciable in this manner.

And I'm reminded why it is that I no longer grumble (from afar) about the hopelessly unreliable weather in Scotland. Steady and guaranteed sunshine would only result in the steady and guaranteed "development" of these astonishingly untouched places. Bring on the rain, I say.

You know already, I think, that I believe it is perfectly possible to feel "homesick" for an un-visited place. An open invitation to ridicule, maybe - but I'm feeling feisty, damn it, and I'll take my chances.

Unless you disagree, of course, in which case I'll quickly disagree (with myself), too - it's a ridiculous notion, anyway.

Thank you, Signs. It turns out that putting up pictures of your holiday made other people happy - and there is absolutely nothing sad about that, is there?

All Hail Caledonia.


Reading the Signs said...

Well, anna and Mr. P.E. I am somewhat mollified by the reference to "fans." It gives the whole onerous business (the pictures don't stay where you put them!) a touch of glamour. The pics don't work when they are small like this - how can I enlarge them once they're up? Damnation, I have to humiliate myself like this by exposing my lack of technical know-how - and it's all your fault, so give me the low-down. Please.

But I agree about keeping quiet about the good weather. So anyone looking at these, please oblige. Just keep telling everyone it does nothing but rain in Scotland. We don't want a rash of MacDonalds and theme parks.

nmj said...

Oh, Signs, I am most certainly sick for Iona, and I have never been. Lovely pictures.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, you can feel homesick for place you have never been. Just as you can love someone you have never physically met. Oh when the mind and the heart work together . . .

These are lovely images, Signs, just lovely. They are beautiful.

Reading the Signs said...

I hope you go there, nmj, and perhaps you too, goodthomas, though it's a long way from where you are.

It is why, perhaps, we sometimes feel a sense of homecoming on meeting certain places and people.

Anna MR said...

Right. Dammit, Lady of the Kärkikolmio, you have given me so much to say I believe I am going to split myself trying to say it all. You will soon see what is meant by the "arse-offa-cow" reference.

Homesickness, sehnsucht, hiraeth, koti-ikävä. I am firmly of the opinion this can most certainly be experienced for places unvisited. There are places that trigger reactions within us, whether we've been there or not (helps to have such fabulous photos to ogle, verbal description may have smaller reaction-triggering impact, although I see that as possible too). It depends on the individual what places exactly trigger this reaction. It may have something to do with some familiar feature being present in the longed-for unvisited place, as well as mental association (for the ladies who dug Anne of Green Gables as children, Prince Edward Island might trigger a major reaction, for example. A first love having come from somewhere might also serve as an example here. Both are of course purely theoretical and absolutely nothing to do with yours truly) - but some of it is inexplicable. There have been places I have visited which have had such an acute sense of familiarity (against all facts) it would be enough to drive a susceptible person to believing in past lives or other such mumbo-jumbo (sorry all believers, just a turn of phrase, right, no offence meant).

In my own case, I have visited Scotland once, albeit a long time ago. I didn't make it to the islands but I absolutely loved it. There are some discernible reasons for my caring so much for it - brilliant and beautiful country would be an obvious one, but some reasons were more personal, had to do with a smattering of familiarity in the unfamiliar. It was June, and Scotland being considerably further north than London (where I had lived for several years at the time of my Scottish expedition), the nights were whitish, which instantly spoke to me - I had been deprived of the white nights for years. There were proper pine trees and (it spoke to me SO) granite. My country is made of granite, so is Scotland. Fantastic.

So developing a homesickness-like yearning for Mull, in my case, isn't as quirky-dorky as it may sound. I have positive memories about Scotland. I also spent my childhood summers on the islands in the Gulf of Finland - further familiarity. And recent online discussions with very likable people (who have been to Mull) add further and hefty positive associations. Add a touch of that mystical "been there in past lives" element and there you have it.

I don't know whether I dare publish this. It is looooong already, and I haven't said anything in particular about your photos yet. Bugger. But you did incite it by saying "discuss". You fool, don't you know vampires can only enter a house invited?

I'll say the rest somewhere else, and maybe people won't notice I am over-talkative.


Reading the Signs said...

Ms Finlandia, a lady of quality such as yourself has open invitation to come and vamp at any time. What? Is the Salon of Signs just open for small talk? Pshaw!

I grew up with C.S. Lewis's Narnia books, the terrain them so strongly living in me that even now certain landscapes trigger a response as though I have come home to something very familiar. Oh yes, Narnia. And certainly it does feel like a kind of homecoming.

I wonder whether some landscapes represent a quality of archetype - (as Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights does for some people). There is something about certain parts of Scotland, the wildness of it, I don't find anywhere else, and when I first met it I "recognised" it and knew this was something I had been missing (I hope TPE isn't listening in, he's going to be so terribly pleased and think this is all about him) - and I discovered that many others felt this way too.

Must go, estate agent awaiting return call. Damn, and I haven't even touched on past lives. Anon.

Anna MR said...

Ok, Madam Signs - stop spooking me. I was writing War and Peace on the comment page of your top-floor post whilst you snuck up on me here. At the same time, Signs. Stop doing this synchronicity thing. Or not. Take your pick.

I only really came straight back here to say two things, namely to voice my whole-hearted agreement for the wonderful fact brought forward by goodthomas (hello, very pleased to meet you sir, I am the partially-resident madwoman of the day, here at Chéz Signs): Just as you can love someone you have never physically met. Yes sir. Very good you said it, sir, so I don't have to (because, yes Signs, TPE would most certainly think I was talking about him if I'd said it, just as he is sure to think Scotland's untameable wildness reminds you of him, Signs, yes, you're quite right there) (I know exactly what you mean about that wildness, by the way).

The other thing was to urge you again to open a Flickr House of Signs, if for nothing else than to post these wonderphotos there, so we can slideshow our way through them without any frustrating clicking in between.

I look forward to hearing about your past lives.


The Periodic Englishman said...

Okay, I can see I got here a little late. RTS, you seem to have posted yet more pictures (seriously - bullying totally rules) and I'm now struggling to keep up. I'm not helped in this by the fact that Anna MR seems to have written seventy-eight thousand words in my brief absence from these pages. Not just here, in this post, but everywhere. I have a lot of catching up to do.

It's already far too late (my opportunities for early evening internetty fun are hampered by having my mum staying and she gets a bit cross if I just sit with my laptop and ignore her - parents are so messed up and selfish) so I'm just really here to say hello.

Very, very briefly (until I have more time).......

Sehnsucht is a fantastically appropriate word. This was the first time I had heard it, I must admit, and it struck an immediate chord. I see that Miranda seems to have liked it, too. Where is she, by the way?

"Deja homesick" made me laugh. Utterly horrible, as Miranda rightly said, but it was funny all the same.

Just as you can love someone you have never physically met.... Very true, Goodthomas, and lovely to see you again, incidentally.

We sometimes feel a sense of homecoming on meeting certain places and people...... Very true, Ms Sensuality, and lovely to see you talk some sense at last. It's been a long time coming, that's for sure. (Of COURSE I've been eavesdropping on your conversations here, cheeky blogger - and I'm mighty despondent that you don't seem to have been secretly referring to me whilst praising enticingly wild Scotland. You really just meant Scotland, it seems, not me. Hate Scotland now).

Et tu, Anna? You think I am so big headed that I will imagine all things to refer back to me? I really, really don't. I would never believe such a thing. I merely hope that it is the case. Big difference. Okay, slight difference.

For one scintillating moment I was actually starting to believe, Anna, that RTS found me wildly attractive and had always missed me until the moment we finally met, and that you yourself simply loved me. Both of you have hurt me badly here, with these mocking rebukes to my egocentric vanity-fest of an existence.

I'll bounce back.

Open a Flickr House of Signs, Signs - Anna has it right.

Past lives? Hmm. Too many people seem to have once been Napoleon as far as I can make out. Sort of casts a bit of doubt on the credibility of the whole idea - or maybe just on the people who make such claims? Would that be fairer? A lot of Steinerites were in to this and I used to enjoy reading about it when I was younger. I would take an awful lot of convincing.

I have a thing about stones. Always try to collect them from places I go to.

I love butterflies.

Okay, I really need to go to bed. I'm sorry Signs, I'll be back to talk about the other stuff soon. This letter is only so disjointed because I was trying to be brief. And I'm not even sure any longer if I'm posting it in the right place.

Brief? A joke, surely.

Hello to everyone on the page.

Bye then.


Reading the Signs said...

Synchronicity abounding, I too am seeing my mother today, and sister, our first meeting together for a very long time. And what with ablutions, devotions and incantatory preparations, I am again prevented from discoursing upon past lives, which in my case I do not remember but don't see why that should stop me talking about them, and I somehow know that you will understand this, anna and TPE.

Can I also say, that I love the idea of having a partially-resident madwoman of the day here, or even madman if it comes to that - not saying you are, TPE, but if you are, well, chez Signs is a cool place to hang out. And goodthomas, who is not mad but always a lovely presence nonetheless, will appreciate this, I have no doubt. Mad, disjointed, fragmentary, all good - forsooth, are we not poets? (can just leave that as an open-ended question).
Auf Wiedersehen,

the resident madwoman said...

Hey, dear Madame Signs, hope your voice isn't all gone, we're missing it. Please forgive me, but do allow me to have a quick word with the Englishman, I need to iron out a misunderstanding...

TPE, hei, shh. Of course I love you, you great loon. But don't be shouting about it, ok, you know how private and shy and timid I am about expressing my emotions. My comment above was just an attempt at a cover-up, alright?

Reading the Signs said...

dear R M-W, how reassuring to hear your voice - mine is still almost gone and I'm recovering from overdoing and a strange virus that doesn't know if it wants to stay or go.

The Periodic Englishman said...

Signs, you should maybe think about telling the virus to go. It seems like it might be rather an indecisive virus, if what you say is true, and so it might be an idea to chivvy it along - give it some guidance, you know? Unless you want it to stay, of course.

Resident Mad Woman - never fear, I knew this all along, and you have merely confirmed it for me now, with this comment of yours. You are well known for your shyness and reticence. I'm sorry about being so irresistible - it probably makes you feel like reciting poetry or something equally dramatic, such is the level of your loving fever. Keep going, you're doing fine.

Signs - hope you feel better soon. I'm still enduring (lovingly, you understand) a visit from my mum, and so only have time for terribly brief comments. Back to "normal" soon, though, and back to here - your house - hot on the heels of this eagerly anticipated return to normality.

I'll try to head upstairs next time, and quit loitering in the shadows. Maybe.

Kind regards to both,