Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The photos below are views from Tigh na Mara Guest House.

Island Ghosts

I've been back six weeks and am still processing all that happened to me. Many ghosts were laid to rest. Most powerfully, the Ghosts of Negativity that have haunted me since my last trip there in 2000 with my mother and Tom my second and now ex-husband. I didn't want to be there with the two of them. Mother who was being a pill (putting it mildly) and Tom who I knew I wanted out of my life. Tom is a very sweet Englishman whom I worked with in the Isle of Mull Hotel. He was the barman. We had a bit of a fling my second summer there. Later that year he came over to the states for a visit and stayed. We were married on New Year's Eve 1996. I married him for a lot of reasons, none of them healthy ones. The bottom line was that his drinking was a deal breaker. Lesson learned. No more alcoholics. Done.

My trip this time, nine years later, was so positive that all of my original wonderful feelings about Scotland re-surfaced. I spent the first two days in Oban, my old stomping grounds. Thoroughly enjoying exploring what was still there and what was new. All my stress was receding and Scotland was working its magic. On my third morning in Oban I caught the 8:00 a.m. ferry for the three hour journey to the Isle of Coll. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't good, so it wasn't a scenic trip. However, I was able to see the Lismore Lighthouse and Duart Castle. We sailed north and west past Tobermory and out into the open ocean. When the ferry landed at Coll, it was pouring down rain. Fortunately, an island taxi van was picking people up from the ferry. I hitched a ride and was told they were going on an island tour. Perfect. I went along and had a terrific tour of Coll. My B&B, the Tigh na Mara, was excellent. Located close to the village of Arinagour I was able to walk to the Isle of Coll Hotel for excellent evening meals. While there I had one whole glorious day all to myself in the lounge of the B&B and spent the whole day writing and looking out at the amazing sea view and watching the spring lambs frolic. The hostess of Tigh na Mara was a lovely lady originally from Lancashire. She is very welcoming and warm. James, her assistant and handyman, and Englishman from Middlesborough was very entertaining. So after three luxurious days on Coll, it was time to return to Oban and get another ferry to the Isle of Mull. I had a little time in Oban where it was raining like it can only rain in Scotland. I was able to run the errands I needed to run and have a nice lunch before getting on the ferry. That trip to Craignure on the Isle of Mull is like going home. It's a fifty minute trip. Still raining. I caught the bus for Fionnphort and it was full. It's still pouring down rain and it was like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. It's a one lane road with lay bys, which means you have places to pull over for oncoming traffic or sheep. The driver would speed up to the lay by and them slam the breaks on. We were bouncing all over the place. At last, we arrived in Fionnphort and I may my wet way to the Seaview B & B. Just a very short walk. I would spend the night there and then catch the ferry to Iona which I could see in the murky distance through the rain. The Seaview' propietor, John, gave me a very warm welcome and showed me to my cozy room. I had an early night and slept with gale force winds singing in the background. Tomorrow if the ferry was able to run, I would take the 10 minute sail to Iona and begin the adventure of the writing retreat.