Jonathan: This evening, Tilly and I took our usual walk on the beach and then along the road: not by the glow of the late-setting sun – as we have become used to over the sumer months, but by the light of the moon. And a full moon tonight, closer to Earth and appearing larger than usual (the moon’s orbit being influenced by the Sun and other heavenly bodies) and in turn giving rise – and fall – to exceptional spring tides. This coming Saturday the ferry from Oban will be nearly two hours later due to lack of water over rocks at the head of Loch Boisdale. At the beach here by An Garradh Mor, tonight’s tide rolled so far back as to leave sandy reefs of rare sea-grass glistening in the moonlight. Standing amidst the gentle ripples at the edge of the sea, a young adult swan was looking forlornly out to sea. He’s old enough now to be a burden on the limited resources of the nearby fresh-water loch where he was raised, and has been driven away by his parents. He’s been pacing the shore for a few days now, perhaps struggling with all the same conflicting feelings as we did when setting out into the world. But whilst I’m quietly in awe of the moment, Tilly is playing noisily with another dog – a black Labrador of her own size and as careless of the quiet night as she is herself. They race along the beach together, their paws drumming the sand apace, veering and leaping in unison, yelping with untramelled delight. The young swan spreads his wings and hurls himself forward, feet and wings beating out an impromptu runway in the direciton of Barra; but once airborne he veers away to the left, around the rocky headland of Cnoc a Deas. Tilly and I start the second part of our evening walk, along the road towards Ludaig. At the last passing-place before Paul and Amanda’s house, we stop to take in the view across the sea towards Eriskay – and there is the swan again, standing in the shallows. Before long, the drive to make a life of his own elsewhere, to find a mate, will finally overcome the hold of the familiar – the only place he’s ever known. Tilly, too, is at a turning point, one where the thought of a biscuit for being a ‘good girl!’, and her comfy bed has at last get the better of the urge to run and sniff! As we turn for home, a heavy veil of cloud is drawn across the face of the moon, and Tilly’s friend – her own shadow – melts away into the dark of night.