Friday, 29 May 2015

Back on the mainland...

Back on the mainland and, already, my abortive Hebridean trip looks like a bad dream. My first night, in Stornoway, was grim, and nothing much happened after that to lift my spirits. Ah, well.

My last Hebridean conversation, in the public bar of the Castlebay Hotel, was with a guy who gave me a few ‘funny looks’ as I walked upto the bar. “Where are you from?”, he demanded to know. I said I was travelling around. “So you’re a nomad”, he said. Exactly. But where was I from originally? Yorkshire, I said. He leaned over on his bar-stool in an exaggerated way (not towards me, thankfully, but away from me) and spat on the floor (the public bar of the Castlebay Hotel is the kind of place where spitting on the floor represents the height of good manners). “I spent four years in Hull”, he said, by way of explanation.

I empathised, agreeing that Hull is a despicable place that even other Yorkshiremen look down on. I said that when I took my first girlfriend to a pub there, they wouldn’t serve us. It was men only. I agreed with the guy that letting women into pubs had been a retrograde step (no point starting an argument during my last few hours on Barra). Bye bye, Barra; bye bye, Outer Hebrides; bye bye, rather scary man at the bar with the pint of heavy and the double whisky chaser…

I have some pictures to take in Scotland, and a couple of people to see. Then I’ll be back ‘down south’… in Yorkshire, with pix to shoot of the Dales. The wild flower meadows in Swaledale will be blooming by then.

The sun’s come out. Hooray…

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoying the commentary. I was laughing while reading this as a Geordie living in Glasgow, that fragile moment where the door can swing either way.