Posted by: christinelaennec | August 29, 2015

Holiday on Harris, part 2

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments.  This past week has been very full.  The Dafter has continued to have ups and downs, but the ups include being able to study for, and pass, two tests.  This is something that she hasn’t been able to do since she fell ill (with ME/CFS) four years ago, so that is a wonderful thing.  I pray her progress continues.  We know very well by now that recovery is a complex process, and never a straight line upwards on a graph.

So here is the rest of our lovely week on Harris.  If you are interested in the islands, you will see more posts from other trips if you click on the Outer Hebrides tag, or Isle of Harris tag.

One evening there was a gorgeous rainbow:

A rainbow on the other side of the sunset. Isle of Harris, 5 August 2015, about 9:30 pm.

A rainbow on the other side of the sunset. Isle of Harris, 5 August 2015, about 9:30 pm.

And to the other side, the sun was setting:

Across from the rainbow, the sunset. Isle of Harris, 5 August 2015.

Across from the rainbow, the sunset. Isle of Harris, 5 August 2015.

It became a very beautiful sunset:

Rainbow colours in the sunset, 5 August 2015.

Rainbow colours in the sunset, 5 August 2015.

I took Gay to see the Stones of Callanish on the Isle of Lewis.  She loved the experience:

Gay at the Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis, 6 August 2015.

Gay at the Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis, 6 August 2015.

On our last morning, as per the Dafter’s request, we went “someplace old” – St. Clement’s Church at Rodel.  Although she has been there many times before throughout her childhood, she was able to appreciate it in a new way:

The Dafter in front of Alexander MacLeod's tomb at St. Clement's Church in Rodel. Isle of Harris, 7 August 2015.

The Dafter in front of Alexander MacLeod’s tomb at St. Clement’s Church in Rodel. Isle of Harris, 7 August 2015.

The medieval carvings are really something.  Strange to find such a thing on the Outer Hebrides.  I almost feel as if I ought to be in France…

Carving of an angel waving an incense censer on Alexander MacLeod's tomb, St. Clement's church, Rodel. Isle of Harris, 7 Harris 2015.

Carving of an angel waving an incense censer on Alexander MacLeod’s tomb, St. Clement’s church, Rodel. Isle of Harris, 7 Harris 2015.

The Dafter had had a very happy week.  She’d managed to walk from the car to the beach three times (three different beaches), had only had one day of resting at home, when she did a painting, and had seen her dear friend from Aberdeen, who was also on holiday there with her family.

The Dafter in St. Clement's Church, Rodel. Isle of Harris, 7 August 2015.

The Dafter in St. Clement’s Church, Rodel. Isle of Harris, 7 August 2015.

We were sorry to have to leave!

View from the tower of St. Clement's Church, Rodel. Isle of Harris, 7 August 2015.

View from the tower of St. Clement’s Church, Rodel. Isle of Harris, 7 August 2015.

The Dafter took some “group selfies” in the churchyard:

family selfie, Rodel.

family selfie, Rodel.

Then we went to a place that is new since our last visit four years ago, the Temple Café in Northton:

The Temple Cafe, Northton, Isle of Harris, 7 August 2015.

The Temple Cafe, Northton, Isle of Harris, 7 August 2015.

The building used to be the MacGillivray Centre.  The café is so hipster, Gay thought she must be back in Seattle!  Excellent coffee.

The Temple Cafe, Northton, Isle of Harris.

The Temple Cafe, Northton, Isle of Harris.

Gay was fascinated to hear about William MacGillivray, who used to walk from Northton on the Isle of Harris, to Aberdeen to go to university.  He became an ornithologist and a friend of James Audubon.

Gay, relaxed and happy after a week on the islands.

Gay, relaxed and happy after a week on the islands.

It is amazing to think that he walked across Scotland like that on a regular basis.  He also walked to London, I believe.  We meanwhile, pampered 21st century travellers, set off for home in our car.

Near Bridge of Orchy, in the Highlands. 8 August 2015.

Near Bridge of Orchy, in the Highlands. 8 August 2015.

Once again we did the journey in two days, which was much better than 7 hours of driving time, plus 2 1/2 hours on the ferry, crammed into one very long day.  The very last part of our journey was marred by road closures due to a fatal accident on the A82 – we weren’t too surprised to learn afterwards that was a motorcycle accident, having seen many of them roaring past us.  Just awful for the people involved, and obviously the family of the person who died, who may just have been very unlucky, I don’t know the specifics.  It took us two hours to drive 7 miles along a very twisty two-lane road.  I’ve never driven so far in first gear, though we were stopped with the engine off quite a lot of the time.  The poor Dafter and Gay were really suffering, but we managed to get through, and get home.  I was just relieved it hadn’t happened on one of the other driving days, when we were under time pressure to get to the ferry, or to a hotel, by a certain time.

Tilly was very happy to see us, and we were happy to see her, and the garden:

The garden, with Gay enjoying the summerhouse. 9 August 2015.

The garden, with Gay enjoying the summerhouse. 9 August 2015.

I have been missing Gay’s presence very much, Michael has gone back to work, and I found out that my very sore arm and neck are probably the start of frozen shoulder.  I have a good osteopath who says it is treatable, so I will be seeing her every week for a while (and taking anti-inflammatories, much as I dislike doing so).  If left untreated I could be unable to drive, which would be a disaster for our family as the Dafter relies heavily on me to take her most places in the car (so that she can use what little strength she has for whatever the activity is).  On the plus side, choir practice has begun for the three choirs that I am in, and that is a joy.

The light is very definitely shifting now as the days draw in.  I heard the weatherman point out that between August 21st and September 21st the sunset shifts from 8:30 pm to 6:30 pm in Scotland.  I am still working, very slowly, on putting together my steeked jacket, and I need to make time for this during the day while the light is still fairly strong.

I wish you a great weekend!

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Responses

  1. It sounds as if you’ll have many light-filled memories to look back on as we go into autumn and winter. I hope the benefits of your holiday continue to be felt for you all.
    So pleased to hear about further steps in the Dafter’s progress. And you are essential to everything, so you must look after yourself. I don’t like taking any sort of medication either, but it will help so obey your doctor!

  2. That’s an interesting reminder about William McGillivray. My sister used to live within walking distance of the John James Audubon Centre in Mill Grove, Pennsylvania, and I had totally forgotten about the Western Isles connection. I believe one was a naturalist and one was an artist, and they shared their skills in order to catalogue bird species – the illustrations they produced are beautiful and just a little bit stylised. (This is off the top of my head – please feel free to correct this info!)

  3. So lovely to hear some more about the beautiful Isle of Harris and of course The Dafters continued progress. Look after yourself.

  4. It sounds as though you have many happy memories of this summer, your photographs of the islands are beautiful, one day I will visit them! I’m sorry to hear about your sore shoulder, not what you need, but happy to hear Dafter was able to take her tests. I’ll be in touch soon. x

  5. I love that photograph of The Dafter in St. Clement’s Church. You have really captured something there that I haven’t seen before. Of course, I don’t know how well it captures reality, but IMHO it’s a very good picture in its own right.

    The café also caught my eye, but in a different way – who couldn’t be captured by a peach & almond cake? I’m not sure, however, what an Americano coffee is in this context?

    Your shoulder condition sounds like something to take very seriously. I’m glad to see that’s what you seem to be doing and I hope it responds positively and quickly to your osteopath’s ministrations.

  6. Guess what! It is raining here this weekend and many are praying that the rain will fall on the forrest fires in the Pacific Northwest as well. [I never thought I would be praying for rain in the Portland area 🙂 ]

    I am so pleased to see more photos of your happy trip and your gorgeous garden! I especially liked Dafter’s group selfie 🙂

    Now, as for your shoulder, Christine, you are my second friend in the last few months who has been battling having a frozen shoulder. I want the Lord to heal both of you!!

    As always I am cheering you and yours on to good health and happiness. I just read Zephaniah 3:17 this morning and like to think that as you enjoy singing in your three choirs, “He will rejoice over you with singing.”

  7. Harris is such a beautiful place. So nice that the Dafter got to meet up with a friend too. I think I could walk across Scotland daily too. It’s such a beautiful country. The Highlands have a beauty and strength all their own.
    Praying for healing in your shoulder.
    Enjoy your week! ♥

  8. Great pictures of you all, looking happy and healthy! your sunset photo took my breath away and made me wish again for a trip to Harris some day. Your back garden is just fabulous … I enjoy seeing pictures of it.

  9. What beautiful photos as ever, making me feel very wistful about visiting Scotland sometime soon. I’m glad to hear that the dafter is making so much progress – a few years ago she was much less mobile so as you say, progress is being made in the long run. I’ve enjoyed reading the posts about Harris! All the best, Judy.

  10. William Macgillivray walked from Harris to Aberdeen – he walked on water? Wow!

  11. Lovely portrait pics and I like the look of that cafe, which I think I’d have been very surprised to find on Harris. I do hope your shoulder improves, it sounds as if you’re doing exactly the right thing getting therapy and taking anti-inflammatories. Your garden’s looking wonderful.

  12. Thank you, everyone, for your comments! Yes, we have some beautiful summer memories to keep with us as winter comes. Thanks for your good wishes for the Dafter, and for my shoulder. Much appreciated!

    Linda – it is the case that my good health is critical to the functioning of the family, which is a scary thought, so I am following instructions!

    Fiona – At one time I read up on Audubon and MacGillivray, but I can’t remember now exactly which of them did what. They definitely worked together on cataloguing species (there are some catalogued by MacGillivray in the Natural History Museum at the University of Aberdeen). And Audubon is famous for his enormous watercolours of birds. The main library in Portland owns one of his folios, and when I was growing up, you always came past whatever page was on display on your way in. It is amazing that two men geographically so far apart were close friends and colleagues, but I suppose that was part of the Enlightenment, it was a kind of international movement that brought people (of a certain academic elite) together.

    oldblack, I’m glad you like the photo. Interestingly, the Dafter very much likes it too. I do think it captures her very well. An Americano on Harris is the same as an Americano on the mainland: espresso with hot water added. I didn’t sample any of their cake, but they had an amazing range of gluten-free things. I will definitely go back there, next time I’m on Harris.

    Gracie, thanks for your good wishes. I was delighted that rain came to the Northwest! None too soon. My osteopath tells me that frozen shoulder almost always affects women (though can happen to men after they’ve had surgery), and that in Japan it’s called something like “50-year-old-woman-illness”! Hormonal changes make the muscles stick together and knot. I liked the group selfie too!

    Anne I agree about the beauty of walking in Scotland. Very healing.

    Eileen, I wonder what the 18th-century equivalent of Cal Mac was? They probably didn’t serve fish and chips at any rate.


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