Travels Part 2: Edinburgh

Sunset in Edinburgh Marchmont

It was time to leave Harris for the second part of our trip: a week in Edinburgh, followed by a few days in Helsinki, and then the long, long journey home.

We’d said our goodbyes, stuffed things back into our bags, and negotiated the notoriously tricky security line at Stornoway Airport. We were sitting on a tiny plane waiting to taxi to the runway.

Ten minutes later… we were still sitting there.

Twenty minutes later… we were still sitting there.

The pilot came on the radio and said he was going to turn the plane off and turn it back on again, in an attempt to fix whatever mechanical issue was causing the delay. Unfortunately, the old on-off-on again trick doesn’t work as well on Embraers as it does on iPhones, and a few minutes later we found ourselves traipsing down the aircraft steps and back into the airport. Continue reading

Travels Part 1: Hobart to Harris

View from Tarbert Isle of Harris

No matter how many times you’ve done it, there’s still something miraculous and disconcerting about strapping yourself into a metal tube and flying across the world.

Airlines go to great lengths to persuade you that it’s a normal and comfortable thing to do. They try their best to make that tube feel like home. Qantas welcome you with a hearty ‘G’day mate!’ and hand out complementary socks with cartoon kangaroos on them. Finnair design their cabin lighting to resemble the aurora borealis, and Loganair provide Harris Tweed headrests and Tunnocks caramel wafers. But when you undertake ten flights in three weeks, from Tasmania to the Outer Hebrides and back again, the resulting sensory overload means there’s no escaping the strangeness of air travel. Continue reading

Packing

francesca-tirico-450426-unsplash

Packing, part 1: Friday afternoon

I pick DorkySon up from school, where he is hugged hard by kind friends who seem reluctant to let him leave. A classmate joins us for some of the walk home, and the two of them skip ahead of me, singing the baby shark song to each other and laughing.

But when she heads her way, and we head ours, it starts. DorkySon tells me that he will be packing as soon as he gets home, but please can he have a muffin and a drink first. He will need the energy boost for such a massive task. Continue reading

September

golden wattle Hobart Tasmania

Oh, September.

A month of warmth and light and soft, still evenings. I’ve had to recalibrate so much of what I know since moving from north to south – the stars and moon are not what they used to be – but dependable September is still my very fave.

It used to mark the turning point from summer to autumn, a spell when Scotland is often at its beautiful best. It was a time of new beginnings – school years and uni semesters – and it was, of course, the month I got married.

It was also September when we moved to Tasmania, so these days it feels like a month of anniversaries. A time to celebrate our bravery and love. Continue reading

Nutella and Pinot Noir

Dark MOFO bonfire Hobart Tasmania

I posted something daft on Twitter a few weeks ago that seemed to resonate with a lot of my fellow Taswegians.

“We’ve reached that bit of the Tasmanian winter where I’ve given up any pretence of healthy eating or exercise. Basically, I’m just standing by the fire mainlining Nutella and Pinot Noir.”

It was true, at the time. One of the things I like most about living here is how connected I feel to the seasons.

In summer, the availability of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables encourages me to eat well. The warm days mean that I drink a lot of water without making a conscious effort, and the lovely light evenings allow me to go out running.

In contrast, winter is the time for connecting with my inner bear – I want to load up with carbs, retreat to a warm cave, and sleep for several months. I don’t reckon there’s any point fighting that feeling – it makes sense to pay attention to the cycles of the year and adjust my behaviour accordingly.

But now it is August. We are more than halfway through the year and moving towards the end of winter. It is unseasonably mild – 17 degrees over the weekend – and there are buds and blossoms appearing everywhere we look. There have even been a few sleepy bees thudding around the garden, probably casting a judgmental eye on how little weeding we have done.

It’s almost time to come out of the cave. Continue reading