Monday, 22 November 2010

End of the 'season'

So, this picture here indicates the end of the 'season' for us here on Iona. It's the light at the end of the tunnel - the beautifully sunny, calm, chilled days of the winter season ahead of us. This was taken from the ferry on my way back from the Keel Row pub in Fionnphort on Mull on Saturday. It was a lovely afternoon off with lovely friends, a nice pint and lovely food. That's what winter is about - enjoying yourself, and your precious time with others that can be lacking during the summer season. The thing is, though, that there is just as much work to do - if not more because you've got lots to catch up on that you didn't manage to do with the guests around - yet you still feel that you have more time.
I've discovered that the time you have free is found in the precious evenings. The evenings that during the summer are taken up with services at 9pm and after service teas sometimes till gone 10pm. Those evenings are now either unplanned or service at 7.30pm and back home by 8.15pm. Having the evenings to yourself, to do whatever you want, is such a wonderful thing. Time to relax, to enjoy a nice glass of wine, to phone and email friends, to write letters, to play music, to watch films, to walk and enjoy the scenery and to spend time with the people here that you love so much. I really appreciate these evenings.
Here's to winter season and catching up on some, what I reckon to be, well deserved recuperation time.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


How many forms on wind are there in the world?
Here on Iona I believe there are many different kinds of wind.
The kind that invigorates you when you step out the door.
The kind that chills you straight through, no matter how many layers you are wearing.
The kind that stops the ferry from running and delays your exciting post.
The kind that makes the waves crash in a satisfying way.
The kind that occurs after too many bananas and baked beans.
These are the wind lessons I have learnt on Iona in the last few weeks. May I add that the last form of wind mentioned was not a personal problem of mine, but of one of my fellow housemates!
I love Iona and all of it's windyness!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

3 things happend to me today... well not me, but my friend Eilidh Ceilidh

Hello, hooray, hoozah!  Hmm, it's funny being asked to blog on somebody else's blog, especially when you have no idea what to write about and you know that you are following several meaningful blog posts which will have touched many people in many ways.  I don't think that this will really be on that similar a vein, but hopefully it won't be anything less than the normal Eilidh Ceilidh splatter of words.  For a start I titled this 3 things that happened to me today... and yet haven't actually worked out what they are.  The last time I wrote for this blog it had something to do with accounting for a rather odd meal with warm pear and stiltonyness.  Since then, nearly a year has passed and although my lunch today was probably as odd a concoction of food stuffs, it so far isn't one of the three things I think I'll go into detail about.  However time will indeed tell... 

Number 1... Oh this was actually quite lovely and hopefully in no way seen as neglect.  I look after a four year old who knows what anxious is and who I would probably pop the word perpertual into conversation with.  We were walking to lunch talking about the lovely smells that we could smell (beef pie and roast potatoes) when I got ahead of her for just a few minutes less than 20 metres from our destination (see how I'm justifying my actions).  We'd been talking as we walked but perhaps our conversation lapsed.  When I popped back from just around the pend to hurry her along, she saw me and came running towards me quite upset.  Thinking she had somehow injured herslf I started looking for the usual falling over scratches or sore hands.  To my surprise she said "I thought that I had lost you..."  "I would never go anywhere further than you could find me," I replied. " I was just around the corner and I came back to get you.  We were just talking about lunch.  You know I would never disappear."  She was sad that I had been away for just a few minutes, if that.  In 3 days I leave this job and head home again for something...  I know that I will feel exactly the same as she did when that time comes.  It's nice to know that people need you in their lives... it just makes it all the harder when suddenly they seem far away.  People always say that my relatationship with this little girl is about her looking after me.  As much as we joke about it, yes, I admit it sometimes it's true and on Tuesday it will seem all the more so. 

Number 2... Oh, Lorna and I went to the Spar this moring to buy a bottle of wine.  We went for something a little over a £5 for so it wasn't too nasty and then based our purchase on the prettyness of the lable.  I think it has a dead fish on it.  When we came to open the bottle (I will remark this moment came after my shift today) we realised that it was a corked bottle.  How well we thought we had done!  On closer inspection of the bottle we realised that it had been "hand chosen by wine experts for Spar."  I can only assume that they used a similar choosing technique to the one we managed to come up with.  Perhaps this could be my next job opportunity.  The wine doesn't taste too bad, was only a little over a fiver, has a dead fish on the lable and ooooh, look, it has a cork in it too.  What's not win win about that?

Number 3... Three things isn't that many when you are not that literary skilled and are trying for something between meaningfulness and amusement.  I discussed the word ambition with my four year old friend today. It was in the context of something being over ambitious.  This, I suspect is same.  Nevertheless I shall rattle on and hope to finish before Lorna gets back from service and we can go lay on the cold, windy jetty.  Number 3... Oh yes, I was hug tricked into a tickle attack today.  Damn you Sarah Squarah, you win again.  But hah, I poked your nose and you still haven't got me back... and Becki, good rave mix.  I like it.  Mellow but nothing that you can't do the after service tea dance to.   

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Defying Gravity

I've told many people lately that I'm going to try defying gravity and I have had many 'smart' responses. I'm not literally going to defy gravity by jumping from the top of the Abbey tower and praying for my life, don't worry.

"Something has changed within me
Something is not the same...
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes, and leap...
It's time to try defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!...
Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"

Surely, if I want to and if I'm able to take the chance, I should fly?

So, "look to the western sky" and I'll be there, flying.

I'm going to try to defy gravity.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye

'I love you more than songs can say
But I can't keep running after yesterday
When all we ever do is say goodbye
All we ever do is say goodbye'
- John Mayer

It sometimes feels like that. Like all we ever do its say goodbye. Living in community here on Iona is very much like that. During the season we say goodbyes each Wednesday to volunteers and each Friday to guests. We say goodbye to residents throughout the year, some who have been here for up to three years. We say goodbye to the seasons, and lately to the daylight. We say goodbye to the ferry, our only means of 'escape', at 6.30pm every evening. We say goodbye to the seasonal workers from the pub and hotels at this time of year. We say goodbye on Saturday to one resident. We say goodbye to all of our volunteers on Tuesday. We say goodbye to another resident the week after. We say goodbye to two other residents the week after that. We say goodbye to another resident the week after that. Goodbye... goodbye... goodbye. 'All we ever do is say goodbye'. It feel so much more true at this time of year than it ever has done before. There is a massive staff change over at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.

But, you know what all of those goodbyes mean? Hello. Nice to meet you. Good to see you again. To say goodbye to something or someone, you must have known them first. Surely knowing them can take over the pain of saying goodbye? Knowing them and becoming part of their lives, and them part of your life. To say a goodbye, you must have had a hello.

What's the most important? It's only human to find goodbyes hard, but they are only hard because you care, you love, you share life. Don't stop caring, loving and sharing life just so you don't have to say goodbye anymore. Life would mean an awful lot less. Nobody would be important to you. Say hello, and allow that hello to continue for as long as you need it to.

Say hello and, when you say goodbye, be thankful for the hello.

Care, love and share.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Importance Of Light

This picture was taken on the way up to the Mac for one of my first morning shifts in the kitchen after Fran had left Iona. It was a tough time for me; not only taking over the 'run' of a kitchen that was so unknown to me, but more so 'letting go' of somebody so close to me. Each morning on my way to work, the sun made my walk beautiful and it made me feel like all was ok, even if I was stressing and didn't think I could cope. Fran always said I'd manage, and with the help of the sunrises each day, I did. Thank you Fran, you're great and I love you lots xx
This photo was taken last night after somebody had asked me - how easy is it to connect wit your mum, with someone so far away, with someone you love but can no longer be with? Well, it's easy. This cross is a memorial cross on the road just beyond the Abbey on the way to the North End. I find it a very spiritual place where I can go and 'be still' for a time. I can meet anyone there that I want to meet, that I need to meet xx
There are times when light is needed to guide the way - and this light was lit today especially for Becki as she travels the unknown and enters a new experience in a different country with new faces and unpredictable ways of living for the next few weeks. Let the light guide you on your journey, always xx

I Would Change Your World

"And I know that it’s been rough
But your patience has to pay
And it can’t be soon enough
And if I could have my way
I would change your world
I’d change it right away"

There seem to be quite a few people in my life right now who seem to be in a rough patch, seem to be running out of patience, seem to need their world changed. I would change their worlds if I could, and I would do it right away. But how can I do such a thing? I can't just click my fingers and change someones life. As much as I would like to. So, instead, I'll just stand by them, hold their hand, let them cry on my shoulder, walk with them, listen to them, pray for them and pray with them, care for them, and more than anything; love them.

After all, the people who have helped to change my world have loved me, so the least I can do for them is love them to change their world.

I'm with you.