Denise: Mum’s in respite care for 4wks, and Jonathan’s taken over many of my duties: I’m recuperating from an operation. However, I’m now fit to drive again, and I feel in need of a wee excursion, albeit one with a purpose. Today I’m going with J on his routine trip to Harris, and I’ll leave him on site and nip up to Tarbert for a bit of shopping. Now Tarbert is not exactly a major shopping destination, but there’s the Harris Tweed shop, and I need to stock up on fabric for making cushions and other stuff for the #HebrideanWoolshed. I’ve not been to Haris for a few years, and Tarbert for even more, so over breakfast this morning J drew a street map on a piece of kitchen towel: who needs a SatNav!
Denise: We’re both self-employed based at home and nothing remotely fixed about our working hours, so dread of returning to work after a holiday is not something we’ve been much troubled by for many a year. But the last leg of Jonathan’s last construction project before he retires (from construction) is more than a bit daunting. It drains the time and energy He has for the other things we do – the things we actually came to the islands to do, and which are becoming ever more pressing.
Jonathan: New Year’s Day, 2015. Hope re-born. Fragile and tenous as gossamer, but hope nonetheless. Promises made ; old commitments burnished. The first day of the rest of our lives – each of us, all of us. Stepping up or stepping out : from now and here to there and thereafter ; never a day sufficient unto itself but rather of a piece with its yesterday and tomorrow. And if now is the First of January and here is the Outer Hebrides, then there’s certainly one hope that’ll be fulfilled over six months or so – the weather! Today? Cloud so low, so dense, so heavy that dawn just rolled over and went back to sleep.
On the croft in Eriskay, Sunny Boy is in hibernation. A tap on the screen and all he can manage is a few blinks, a mumbled complaint (sorry not a complaint – he just states the facts) about 3MWh since the end of March, before nodding off again. But let’s not take that for a no, just a not now – or at least not right now. So, hens feed exchanged for eggs, sheep counted … and back home there’s mid-morning coffee and toast in the kitchen.
It’s noon, and all the lights are on. Online, upstairs in the office, checking the weather forecast, counting down the hours to a night wavering between sleep and coming storm – a raging westerly tearing at the roof just feet above our heads. But now, right now, here amidst endless variations on on the dark side of grey – there appears a hint – a mere tinge – of blue. Blue as in slate – but blue nonetheless.
Back in the gloom of the croft store, we see – we’d see were we there – a small green light start to blink … then take hold. A display lights up, and we listen – were we there at all, we might – listen quietly … closely … our breaths held a moment .. or two. A hum? Oh yes – it’s Sunny Boy singing the blues!