When I was a child, I spent hours in a cupboard. No, not Harry Potter style; this was a willing incarceration for in the top flat in Hyndland, Glasgow, my father had the lobby press set out as his darkroom. I would watch in fascination as black and white images formed magically on the paper which had been under the special light (this was how I saw it) and then put into the flat enamel tray full of one smelly chemical and then into another. I remember that one of them was called hypo, which is apparently sodium thiosulfate. When I was ten we moved to the house in which my mother lived till she was 92, and a small spare bedroom became the darkroom in its turn. I learned to do my own printing then, having acquired a cheap camera, and was entrusted to do it alone. (Gosh. When I think of it ...)
The point of this story is, of course, linked to my blipping one of today's photos in monochrome, because I felt the snowy mountains of Arran showed less well against the hazy grey of the sky in the colour version. They loomed there all afternoon as we walked briskly along Loch Striven side - a road which, as I had predicted, was blessedly sheltered from the East wind. We saw a heron looking austere as it stood in the water, motionless, and a pair of buzzards wheeled high above us. A few cars passed, waving (as you might say) as we stepped onto the verge and pulled in our bottoms to let them pass ...
On the way home we pulled off the main road at Toward lighthouse to allow me another view of the mountains; at that point it seemed unbelievably cold, even through a thick duvet jacket and winter bags, and the wind was so strong that I could barely hold the camera still.
A closing thought, suitable for Sunday: It's so easy, on a perishing day like this, to "go to church" without leaving the house. We don't have to rush, because we have 20 minutes extra through not having to get the car up the hill. We've been doing zoom services live every Sunday since the first lockdown began - proper pioneers. And yes, they have their own charm, with the gallery of faces including people from our sister church on Bute as well as others from far away, people we've never actually met but who now feel like friends. And this is all good. But can I just say here that I long to be back in my freezing pew with the draughts making the candles drip, long to be able to have communion in both kinds, long to sing.
Will we be able to forget to be afraid of each other?