I am sitting at the dining room table now, awaiting a package that will allow me to get started on six commissions I have for custom sterling silver jewellery. It is a grey and misty day. I can’t see the opposite shore across the Forth. It is as if we are the edge of the world. I love it.
It is chilly today, too. I am wrapped up in my favourite Scottish wool shawl – black, decorated with coffee-coloured designs of celtic knotwork. It keeps me warm and cosy. I have my iTunes playing Capercaillie. For those of you not familiar, I highly recommend you give them a listen. Capercaillie is a group of Scottish musicians with vocals by the incomparable Karen Matheson. One reviewer said, “One of the most beautiful voices in traditional Scottish song, if not the best, surely belongs to Karen Matheson. Whether singing in Gaelic or English her velvet tones lend an ethereal quality and atmosphere to Scottish love ballads and haunting Highland tunes.” I am listening to their CD “Beautiful Wasteland.” I never tire of hearing it. I just wish I could understand the lyrics of those songs sung in Scottish Gaelic. On my list of things to accomplish – learn Scottish Gaelic.
I have another goal – a musical one. Anyone who knows me would be more than welcome to groan at that statement. I am not known for my musicality – other than my passion for listening to beautiful music. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. I am thankful that when Caroline was tiny either her lack of knowledge or unconditional love for me kept her from putting her hands over her ears when I attempted a bedtime lullaby. No, my goal has nothing to do with singing. Instead, it is something I think I could do quite well. I always tap out rhythms when music is playing and I love the sound of the bodhran - the handheld celtic drum played with a wooden tipper. So, at some point, when I can afford it, I am going to buy a bodhran. As our goal is to move north at some point, I would love to be able to go to a ceilidh and play along. I have visions of Chris and me spending our golden years in the familiar and friendly setting of an inn or pub somewhere in the Highlands, me and my bodhran playing along and ending our evening with a dram of single malt whisky to send us home and off to bed.
I have been very lucky – in my lifetime I have somehow been blessed in realising my goals. Not that I haven’t had sadness and tragedy. I have had those as well. But I hope my dreams of life in the northwest is one we can realise. My heart aches to be up north – where the mountains rise from the water and the land is dotted with sheep and ancient stones. To that end, I’ve made some enquiries about housing up north. A recent diagnosis of severe arthritis in my knees means I will be eligible for an allowance. If I can get that, and make a small success of my jewellery business, we can do it. We don’t need much – just a little, cosy place. All we require is a little home with two bedrooms so that our children and grandchildren can visit and that can serve as a place of creativity when we are alone. We can make it happen...we will make it happen.
The mist is beginning to lift and I see the high pointed hill that crowns the opposite shore. Because I am the optimist I am, I shall believe that the mist rising as I wrote of realising my goals is a sign. I will believe that soon the view shall be of a northern sea loch and not the Forth. I shall believe and realise that dream and we will live out our lives in the unequalled beauty of Scotland’s northwest.
Now, I wonder when my package will arrive...