This time two weeks ago I was on a train near Carlisle. Not an inspiring place to be, but on the way to a far better place… Glasgow , after that Oban (for a night) and eventually later the next day to Iona.
Getting up at stupid o’clock to catch the early train to Crewe was not my idea of fun, neither was lugging 150 willow whips on a trolley 2 miles through Cardiff at 3.30am but these things had to be endured for the sake of the students who would be on Iona.
Many amusing conversations later, (mainly around the willow trolley!) I arrived in Oban, met up with old friends and settled into the quiet life. You may not think of Oban as quiet, a busy harbour and port to the Hebridean islands, but the quiet life it most certainly is. Time runs at a different pace there, the further out to sea you go the slower it gets and the slow pace of island life infects the port.
Two American tourists found out to their amazement once when boarding a bus on Mull that there really is no need to hurry and certainly no need to fret! They had put their rather sumptuous cases at the back of the bus where the driver was loading them into the belly of the elderly coach and were standing watching them earnestly as the driver loaded other boxes and bags. ‘Yer in Scotlan noo, nay need tae bother bout tha, you think folk ar gonnnae wan yer bags?’ came the brusque island voice admonishing the tourists. I still wonder if they ever got the point!