Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Day one on Mull

The big city of Tobermory is on the north end of the island of Mull. It's where the Co-op store is, and the bank, and a pier with a great fish and chips van. The buildings along the water are all painted brightly like this, which looks lovely in the sunshine. We know this because we did get those brief moments of sun, when one scrambles for the camera only to have a cloud come back seconds later. I'm sure that they keep it nice for the tourists, but also because a children's TV show called Balamory is filmed there. We have no TV and I don't think Balamory is on in Canada anyways, as I explained to a souvenir-selling woman in town. "Ach," she said, "there's no harm in that."

We found this pile of old chain mesh out on the pier. Doesn't it make you want to knit an elaborate fair-isle masterpiece? Or could one cable all those interlocking circles? Love the rusty-browny-grey mixed with the tweedy rough turquoise! I might get this blown up for the wall.

Right, where were we? We'd got to Mull, gone to Tobermory for groceries. We were staying at a lodge where we had a big room with enough beds and space for all of us to be quite comfortable, a bathroom en suite, and a huge shared kitchen/lounge. The proprietor was very laid-back and helpful. There were a couple of pet sheep in the yard, and tons more out on the hills around. We had a great view of the water/hills/sheep. So, next morning, we decide to go see some standing stones, and set off in our little car. The roads on Mull are mostly single track. This means the roads are about wide enough for 1.5 cars to comfortably pass. It also means it takes 3 times as long to get anywhere as you'd expect. And it frays one's nerves. Don't forget we're driving on the left, too!

This is what we saw when we got where we were going. We parked at an old "castle" or big old house which is now a B&B. At the shore, way down there, is a ruin that we thought of going to, but it seemed a long way to walk once we got there with the kids. Sheep, sheep, everywhere. Also, right on the road where we wanted to go, were a dozen highland cattle. So we walked through the sheep, instead, since the cows are quite large and don't just run away when you approach them. It was a bit mucky and the kids learned to distinguish sheep poo from cow poo and we tramped along till we found a gate leading to more sheep, and finally we came to the stones.

Three big old stones, plunked down one day long ago and still standing there, all lichen-y and wonderful. There was a circle of smaller stones set around, which the kids walked around, and our host had told us we must hug the stones, so we did. There are actually loads of these around. One wonders what the purpose was. Showing off? The remnants of a prehistoric Iron Man competition? Marking the location of an especially good party? Elaine was telling us about how stone circles line up with the moon and the sun and all that, coz she'd read it in a book, but I think these three little guys have no astrological purpose. But, what do I know?

I tell you, I do know wool when I see it. This was just left behind by some sheep. You can see how the whole wool-gathering business began, because even without fences and barbed wire to snag it, there is wool just lying about here and there. Later in the week my son even found me a tuft of black wool! I won't be spinning it up to make socks any time soon, though. It would take a lot of wool-gathering to make anything! We also saw spotty sheep here and there, and their fleeces must make spotty wool! I guess that leads to your heathered or tweedy look. Great stuff though. Intriguing...

And here's more knitting inspiration! Look at the colours and the texture and the whole mossy loveliness of that wall! And here I was knitting pink cotton!

This wall was back by the old castle/B&B, and along the road we spied a fuschia growing. I'd seen them in California, and people have small ones in pots, but I'd never seen fuschia trees until I'd come to Britain. This one is enormous! Another plant note: the island is covered in rhododendrons! Where the heck did they come

from? It must look marvellous when they are all in bloom! And I will leave you with a picture of Elaine outside the distillery in Tobermory. She and I didn't take the tour because they don't take kids under 8 and they don't provide babysitting... but we had fun with Hagrid's bottle!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great time! That photo of the chain is amazing, what interesting shapes and colours.


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