Saturday, 17 June 2006

Would we go again?

So, what about the West Coast of Scotland as a holiday venue? At the right time, almost perfect. Beautiful scenery, great historical and archaeological interest, uncrowded – but very twisty – roads. Food for all tastes and budgets. Friendly people and lots of room in which to move about.
Note my qualifying remark about the right time. Between mid-June and late September, the midge rules.
As a haematophagous parasite, the midge has a significant effect on the animals it preys upon, and in the summer, for example, red deer are forced to move up to high ground to avoid being bitten. However, it is on humans that the midge has its greatest effect, and one which is seemingly out of all proportion to its tiny size.
It has been estimated that up to 20% of the summer working days in outdoor jobs such as forestry are lost due to midge attacks. Even a simple task such as tying bootlaces becomes impossible when midges are at their worst. For the summer months of the midge season, this miniscule insect, by dint of its biting habit and sheer numbers, is a dominant factor in life out of doors in the Highlands, causing significant changes to human behaviour. There is a positive side to this though, as the midges have undoubtedly contributed to keeping the north and west of Scotland sparsely populated, and therefore as wild as they still are today.
There is no real deterrent. The bites themselves are not a problem but each one becomes the site of intense irritation. I was thinking of filing my nails to points so as to better rend the living flesh. Anti-histamines help but make the user drowsy; ruling out being a driver.
We knew of these beasties but wanted to be there for the rhododendron and azalea season which is a magnificent display. We had hoped to sneak in and out before the midges arrived but got it wrong. On balance, it was a close run thing as to whether the joy of the blooms bettered the annoyance of the insects. I think our suffering was worth the irritation. Just.

Deep thoughts surface

I am conscious of the saying, “cometh the hour, cometh the man”.

There are numerous occasions when I feel that a song lyric has a special resonance. Whether it follows the adage of the timely man or not, I cannot say. However, my timely lyric popped into my head quite easily over these past few days. Make of that what you will.

I can hear the wind a blowing in my mind
Just the way it used to sound through the Georgia pines
You were there to answer when I called you and me
Lord knows we had it all.

Remember how I used to touch your hair
While reaching for the feeling that was always there
You were the best thing in my life that I recall
You and me we had it all
I know that we can never live those times again
So I let my dreams take me back to where we've been
Then I'll stay with you girl as long as I can
Oh it was so good oh so good hmm when I was your man.

Never stop believing in your smile
Even though you didn't stay it was all worth while
You were the best thing in my life that I recall
You and me we had it all.

Artist/Band: Waylon Jennings
Lyrics for Song: We Had It All

Friday, 16 June 2006

Look out - we're back!

Farm fresh eggs and home-smoked bacon from the farm taste excellent in the open air. Notice two stoves - no waiting here!
This is the sort of weather. This is the sort of scenery. This is the sort of relaxation we enjoyed.