All part of the story

By Treshnish

Back east

An early start this morning. First ferry. Oban by 8am. Breakfast at Real Food Cafe. Dropped LD at railway station in Perth.

Watching the clock to make sure I wasn’t late. I just had time to go to Oathlaw and lay flowers from our garden on my parents graves. Pursued round the graveyard by a barking Jack Russell.

Battledykes. Bogindollo. Tannadice. Justinhaugh. Oathlaw. Bogardo. Finavon. Aberlemno. Turin. Pitkennedy. Balgavies. Rescobie. A whirring spool of film running in my mind as I drive, snippets from the past, recognising those familiar landmarks. A the quilted landscape of fields, farms, hedgerow trees - golden, green and earth brown.

Lunch with G and S. After the cremation a service of thanksgiving at the church I went to every Sunday as a child. The forgotten until that moment familiarity of a building I haven’t entered for nearly 4 decades brought back a raft of untapped memory. Remembering the long stairs down to the crypt where we had Sunday School during the interminably (to me) long sermon and communion; the corner where the Crèche was set up at Christmas; the pew where the frightening man sat (he was tall and stooped, and very old, and would turn round to glare if we made any noise at all); the patterns on the high ceilings I would stare at so hard willing them to rearrange themselves in a kaleidoscope of brick and stone. The polite ritual of greeting like a slow dance of bodies as pews filled and the service began. Faces I recognised and names I couldn’t remember. Hymns I didn’t know and moved to tears by some I did. Readings chosen from a selection recorded in N’s own hand. A loving celebration of a life.

Afterwards a sit down tea upstairs in the seemingly unchanged 70s interior of the Royal Hotel function room. A jolt as I’m called by my mothers name. Sandwiches and cakes and milky tea.

It’s been a long and sometimes emotional day but it ended well with a relaxed noisy supper and some exhibition planning. We have dates, a venue and a title. Now we need to design the invitation, poster and compile an address list.

Fell asleep before I’d finished writing. Woke up to find a few random words where I’d typed as I dozed!

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