Thursday, July 9, 2009

Far North

Here is the lovely house where we stayed. Like mine, it is on the edge - but in this case it is hard by the sea rather than forest, these windows look right onto it. It is cloudy in the photo, but we sat underneath the umbrella in bright sunshine, to eat and to read and write.
This is my new best friend - a border collie called Flora who goes every day into the sea, either to swim or just stand and look out to sea, meditating on the horizon or watching trout leap from the water. She is both intelligent and hyper-active and, having no sheep to herd, needs four walks a day and is inclined to chase the chickens if she gets bored. Not the kind of dog that I would be able to keep, more is the pity, but it suits Ms North perfectly for when she is not writing and teaching she is walking with Flora and both are in their element.

Here is the beach that is right by the house. The photo was taken very late at night, it never really gets dark here in summer.

And just to prove that the skies really were (mostly) blue. A view from the side of the houses across the river. The place is a small hamlet, there are no shops to speak of, unless you count the hut that sells bedding plants and motor oil. We ate fresh mackerel caught by someone who goes out in his boat every night to fish.
While we were there, Ms North saw one of her poems published as one of the runners up in the Mslexia poetry competition - and the next day a letter came with the news that her children's story has been shortlisted for the Kelpies prize. She will be reading from it at the Edinburgh Festival, when the results will be announced - and perhaps (nudge, nudge) update her blog with all the news. Auspicious? I should coco.
So I am back to my own particular edge and rather missing the granite beneath my feet, but fired up for something or other, and thinking about new strategies for doing more of what I want to do - the usual damnable restrictions notwithstanding.
More on this anon.


willow said...

Oh, what beautiful photos! i walked straight into the PC screen :-) Congratulations to Ms North! Ms Willow has just completed the illustrations for a children's book which will be published towards the end of the year - she is so thrilled. With poor health and all it took her 15 months to complete. I am so proud of her, but then, I AM the mother ;)

Collies! Ah, we had two rough collies. I managed to train the male before I fell ill . . . they were two wonderful animals...lived 13 and 15 yrs before old age took its toll.

Cusp said...

Glad you had a ovely relaxing and (by the sound of it) productive time

trousers said...

It looks like a place I would get much enjoyment from, and I'm glad that it appears to have done good things for you: a nourishing of the spirit. I would hope/

Lovely photos too.

It made me think - just a little - of Orwell, given that he wrote 1984 on a Scottish isle, if I recall that right.

Good to see you back too.

trousers said...

Hmm I'm not sure what happened to my punctuation:

a nourishing of the spirit, I would hope.


Kahless said...

I can smell the fresh air through your photo's. And as for Flora, I bet she takes some drying off after her frollicks on the beach.

Reading the Signs said...

Ah Willow, I wish there were some Narnian magic by which we could just go somewhere else by walking into a photo - but PC screen can sometimes feel like that.

How lovely that your daughter has done this - and of course you should be proud.

Cusp, it was productive in the sense that I got stuck into writing process with a bit more focus. Relaxing and at the same time invigorating.

Trousers, I was thinking of Orwell myself, as it happens. He went to the island of Jura and found it a good place to work, even though he was very ill with TB.

Yes, I feel it's a place that you would definitely like. It's about an hour's drive from John o'Groats - Mr. S took a ferry to Orkney and spent the day there.

Kahless, Ms North sometimes worries that Flora will become arthritic because of all the time she spends in the sea, whatever the season. After this particular dip she was rubbed down with a towel before going to sleep.

Zhoen said...

Sounds like a perfect vacation to me.