Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
When a child thinks of a desert, it is usually some flat sandy landscape, yellow underneath a blue sky
I did what any self-respecting girl with wanderlust and a clingy boyfriend would do, and bought a one-way ticket for myself to Greece. I had replied, in a very old fashioned way, to an advert in a newspaper. I now had a job – to teach English as a foreign language.
Daring to go on my first writers’ retreat was the first time that I had dared to call myself a writer. I had gone in the hope of filling my days with writing, of writing new stories and coming up with new characters. I spent most of the ten days on the Greek coast staring…
despite knowing that we shared the Immortal Bard with the rest of the world, I had always assumed that haggis, our national dish, was ours alone.
Oh, I was so wrong!
I chose to sleep outside on my mattress, using the tent for changing and storage. It was the time for shooting stars, and it was no hardship to be awake for a while during the night to watch for them. Each morning I woke with the dawn, my face cold, sand in my hair, feeling refreshed.
The lighting up of cities has become an art-form and even on the dampest and darkest of nights, walking past colourful buildings and lit-up statues transforms both them and the watcher.
For Loca Luna, this seemed to be a signal to reveal her true character. She began to prance and picked up speed, acting as skittish and flighty as a teenage girl on her first date.
The great thing – and the awful thing at times – is that there are no timetables. You simply climb aboard and wait until all the seats are filled. This might take 5 minutes. This might take a couple of hours, depending on the route, the company you use, the time of day. You need to plan ahead, particularly if you have a long journey or if you need to get somewhere fast. But at least the matatu can never actually be late!
Tiree, in April 2016, when there was an unexpected snow fall – the first in 6 years. Needless to say, I was the only person running around with a camera, taking photographs. The local people were digging out lambs and filling 4x4s with bales of feed for the cattle.
The last time I spoke any German was in a bakery in Swakopmund, a town in Namibia. And that was ten years ago. Swakopmund is a bizarrely German town on the Skeleton Coast of Africa, where the architecture, culture, baking and language are all unashamedly German. That day I asked for a loaf of bread and some cakes in my bestest Deutsch, half convinced that I was on a film set.
I’d never get up at crazy o’clock to travel to a remote Scottish rock in the middle of the Atlantic to see something rare or unusual. That’s what David Attenborough does, and he’s very good at it, and I can see all that he sees from the comfort of my own house.