house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Isle of Lewis, October 2002

Cold, cold wind on the ferry, as we cross from the mainland. We spend the entire time on deck, for a dare. Or because the prospect of weak, tasteless coffee inside is rather sad. Or perhaps because there is nothing like the smell of the sea and the worn whssssh of the waves and the cackle of seagulls on a calm autumn day.

We want to stay here for a little while. It smells of peat and oranges. The roof is alive. And the ghosts very curious about the guests. We oblige: fight over the potatoes (to peel or not to peel?), laugh over a game of backgammon, sigh over spilt coffee on the tablecloth. Then there's a grazed knee, kissed.

And there's surf. You and Cheeta in the waves, I and Kira on a warm rock, a new coastal species with orange and green fur, soaking in the last of the autumn sun, feeding its young berries and nettle tea, making stick shelters and apparently giving distress calls every time a large wave breaks overhead. (One of the sticks makes a perfect sling. Older cub is intrigued...)

Then the male of the species takes over.

He plays with the cubs, protects them (!),teaches them to hunt:

Cheeta: 'This sling really works! Look, look, check it out!' (small rock shot out of the car window) 'Whoooeeee!'
You: 'Great, wow, bet you can't hit that tree...'
Cheeta: 'Yes I can!'
You: 'No you can't!'
(this goes on for a while)
Cheeta: 'Need a bigger rock!'
(car is stopped, bigger rocks collected)

You: 'Better rock or not, you still can't do it!'
Cheeta: 'Yes I can!' etc.

Suitable rock weighed up, polished, loaded. Sling pointed at tree. Car window half-open. CRACK. Car window pulverised.


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