In times of stress

It’s tough going at the moment. There’s a lot of stress for me. My other half is stressed too. I just found out that my mum has a back injury. It’s not good at the moment.

I’ve lived in this house for 5 years (nearly) and in the South for 17 years, yet in times of stress I want my home. My Glen. The Glen. (You’ll only get that reference if you’re from the area).

I want to go for a walk after dinner to the waterfall and drink malt whisky from my hip flask – while sitting on a rock in the middle of the river.

I want to listen to the noise of the Glen. The River. The sheep. The cows. The burn. The fox cries. The silence and then, the banter. There’s always banter in the Glen.

OK, so I’m homesick. I’ve been having a glass or two of wine and I’ve been watching Monarch. They’ve been to the cemetery on the hill. We’ve got one of those. I remember my first hike up there (Kindrogan Hill) to the cemetery. I must have been 13 years old. It was a wild walk. Deepest, dark pine forest – the light struggling through the needles to reach you. The smell of the pine. The worn dirt track, rough underfoot.¬†Warm from the hike, I relished the cool air of the sheltered path to the cemetery where the local ‘laird(s)’ and his family are buried.

Last year, I took my step sons to the very same cemetery (with my Mum along for the walk). It was a trek for them, but they quite liked the history lesson, thanks to Mum. We saw deer, listened to the wildlife and watched a Buzzard do its stuff. But, for me, the sight I found was heartbreaking. The walls of the cemetery overgrown, and the graves not easily distinguishable from the weeds. There are no trees any more. There’s no path. There are no fresh flowers. The forest reached its ‘peak’ and so became a deforestation project for the ‘Forestry Commission’. The resulting landscape is just sad. Bare. The cemetery has lost its mystery. It’s neglected. It’s unloved. It’s forgotten.

I do, of course, have happy memories of the trip with J & B. We picked wild raspberries all the way home. The boys don’t like rasps when I buy them at home in Surrey. But, Scottish rasps? Any time, any place, anywhere… That’s how it should be, right??

We need happy times and happy memories to keep us going in times of stress. The Glen is one of mine.

Haste ye back…


Traffic jam?

every day I drive for two hours, commuting to work and back. some days it ends up being between three and five hours, if the traffic is bad. this week leaving home at 07.25 on Wednesday should have given me an office arrival time of 08.30, but I got a traffic alert and it was more like 09.30. at the time I hit the traffic (between two junctions) I was on hands-free to my Mum. sitting at home in the Glen she waS excited to detail the traffic jam in front of her house.

Now, let’s set the scene here…this is a remote Scottish glen, with a road that is three meters wide. the house is about half a mile away from the road, up on a hill, so the views are perfect.

On this particular morning there was chaos on the road due to a traffic jam. I was stuck in a nine mile tailback – there were five cars in the glen, stuck because there was a tractor on the roll, pulling a wide low-loader that no-one could pass.

For my mother the hold up was a piece of news, a rare occurance. for me, it was, I should say is, a way of life.

Sometimes I forget just how vast the differences between my glen and here are. sometimes they make me laugh, like today with the five car jam.

Other times, I worry that we focus too much on the negative things that matter too much in our day to day lives.