We arrived back from Scotland on Monday after two days of driving, and I am still in the process of mentally ‘coming in to land’. It was such a wonderful, liberating holiday in so many ways, challenging in others, and there is so much to process, emotionally and creatively. I’ve come back with a notebook full of ideas and a To Do list the length of my arm. Amazing how one place can change so much about the way you see the world. Islay is like that, though. Clean air, empty beaches, sumptuous seafood, rolling mountains, and kind, friendly people.
I made a conscious choice before I went away to see this holiday as a kind of ‘cleansing’. I only packed two books, which is unheard-of for me, and made sure both of them could not on any level be seen as ‘work’ – Ben Aaronovitch’s latest novel, ‘Broken Homes‘, which was funny and clever and shocking, and a real comfort book, Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf, which I find emormously inspiring. Frankly, though, I had very little time to read because there was too much to do, and in between, so much wonderful time sitting staring into space and absorbing the fantastic scenery. We watched no TV at all, barely caught the news (concentrating on weather forecasts instead), and only checked email occasionally by phone. I took my laptop but hardly opened it (although I did gobble up this wonderful ‘Lewis’ fanfic.)
Husband and I also took the chance on the journey home to spend an evening sitting in a pub, kicking around ideas for new stories and non-fiction books we might tackle. I love talking about ideas with him, hammering out plot twists and measuring the mileage in a story. Sometimes there is nothng better than brainstorming with a fellow writer.
I’ve a million photos to sort through now I’m home too. This holiday has really got me back in touch with my camera, and made me want to save my pennies for a decent DSLR instead of the temperamental compact digital camera I have now. Its lovely to just ‘point and press’ sometimes, but other times, only a decent lens can capture and communicate the sheep epic landscape that surrounds you. I promise to share more pictures with you as soon as I have organised them all.