After enjoying my final night of spectacle, cabaret and partying at the Famous Spiegeltent on the closing night of what is a mecca for any
self-respecting festival goer, the Edinburgh Festival, I was about to pack up my bags to head back to Barcelona when a buyer turned up for what has been my home in Scotland for the last seven years.
So I rescheduled my return flight and began the Sisyphean task of organising the move in just three weeks: burning stuff, binning stuff, selling stuff, taking stuff to charity shops and recycling points, giving stuff away, preparing stuff to put into storage (including furniture I’d brought over from Spain two decades earlier), cancelling insurances and utilities… the list was daunting but I rose to the challenge and I completed it, with varying degrees of stress and effort, to schedule.
A fond farewell
I went through the process of discarding my past with mixed emotions. On the one hand I felt lighter as I said goodbye to so many
accumulated possessions and responsibilities, but, on the other, I felt a sadness at leaving what has been my lovely physical home and garden – enjoyed to the max in one of those rare glorious Scottish summers that we were graced with this year – but what has also been my spiritual home for the best part of a quarter-century, the ancient land of Caledonia.
Sadness not just at parting with the gems I had on the doorstep of my house in Dollar, in the “Wee County,” such as the glen, the Ochil Hills, the Devon where I had taken the occasional skinny-dip on a hot day, but, just as much, my lovely neighbours Robin and Julie, the friends I’ve laughed and loved and hugged with, those with whom I’ve shared Hogmanays and celebrated the old Celtic pagan festivals of Beltane and Samhuinn (the origin of Hallowe’en) – which I’ll be missing this year for the first time in many – and the lovely group of souls I’ve danced 5 rhythms with or journeyed with through sound baths, inipis, pipe ceremonies and meditations.
I could go on for ever: the changing seasons, snow, ice, sun, gleaming lochs, the riot of colour from blossoming vegetation and the blazing sunsets seen from the Forth Road Bridge or with the looming Edinburgh Castle silhouetted against them, trips to Skye and the islands, Findhorn, the picturesque coastal fishing villages of Culross, or Pittenweem with its August Art Festival where dozens of homes open their doors to the public … Loch Lomond and Loch Tay, the Aurora Borealis and endless summer days, the Cairngorms and the Borders…
So now back in Catalonia, as I blog from a very different coastal fishing village, Calella de Palafrugell in the Empordà, overlooking the Mediterranean and resting from my recent mental and emotional ordeal, I know that my relationship with Scotland will persist and I’ll heed the invitation seen as you leave many places in Scotland: “Haste ye back!”
But in the meantime, whenever I feel a bit nostalgic, I’ll check in on this video, a nostalgic homage to Caledonia sung by Dougie McLean, with stunning pictures taken by a fabulous photographer and lovely friend, Ross Hutton.
¡Hasta Pronto, Caledonia!