Imaginary Lines daydreaming for beginners

Harris

My day began, and will end, with a conundrum: the first was to puzzle at the universally ineffectual toaster employed by hotels. They ought rather to be named 'bread warmers'; the evening will challenge perceptions of dementia

Now I sit in Lews Castle Museum looking out at the rain and hearing the wind: 43mph from the south. The ferry has just left port.

If I look on the OS map I find there are 10 church's and one mosque in about a square mile of the town. One can choose between the five points of Calvinism or five Pillars of Wisdom a few yards apart.

Last night I attempted to find a Google inspired Bangladeshi restaurant but it was out of business. Instead I found the arts and performance centre and had a nice meal overlooking a sunlit harbour. Cod is not on offer on these Isles - haddock is the thing. It was while there I found out about the free play tonight. Parsimony guaranteed me a seat.

This morning early I left for Tarbert 50 or so miles south. Stornaway habitation ends abruptly in peat bog and the A859 stretches quite straight across the moor. No trees can get a hold here, moss and bogwort rule.

Approaching Harris the peat meets the peaks and is forced to snake between bluff and lochan. The 'Lewisian Complex' gneiss here begins its slow growth from peat coating to cloud-base (high this morning).

The change in scenery is dramatic. But, now soothed by coppice and tree-line: mixed deciduous and conifer. I don't think it's the lack of rain on the windscreen, the housing stock looks generally more happy with its lot -- not so overall grey.

The mountains rise all around the passes; An Cilsean rising to 799m on my right and. cascade to Loch Siophort to my left.

And so to Tarbert. The Tarbet distillery is currently producing gin, whiskey is being matured (having never yet been distilled on the island). Excellent coffee in the canteen.

Liz gave me some help in my Gael pronunciation but I've already forgotten what was said. My big purchase is a gamekeeper's pullover. Big and warm.

Girls come of age at 14. Then their mother makes their first apron. It is a precious rite of passage. My pullover is not a rite (well maybe a rite of sorts)..

Two conversations overheard:
In the Distillery - Two older gentlemen - one to the other as a conversation starter "Have you ever blown anything up in your profession?" (No.)
The other, in the Harris Tweed shop, "This is what I want you to buy for me, Maurice".

So back to Stornaway (or Steornabhagh as the road signs have it) and soup in the museum cafe - which is where we came in.

Oh, I did buy a Lewis chessman after seeing the real ones; I had to didn't I?. Not a king or queen but a Berserker, named because they worked up their anger by bitting their shields (go figure).

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