(39) Full Circle
Updated: Jan 31
I had decided that this was to be my last blog post and so it has taken a long while to start. When I began the DearTimMinchins I was thinking maybe of trying to explain my side of the story, make sense of it. How I went from married to separated (but still married); from Ian to Is; from Teaching Head Teacher of a remote school to part time teacher / sometimes gardener / giver of piano lessons (both paid and as swaps for other things). From Applecross to Linlithgow, to Applecross again. I think writing them has helped. Some have got me into trouble - I remember reading your blog, knowing that some of the staff at the school would either be livid or laugh at you for airing your own opinions (so different to theirs!).
Your tune was my first tune (since the age of 16) and the longest in finishing. How do you write a piece for someone you don't really know but feel a connection with and who was missing at sea and therefore keeping you awake? The main tune came when we were still trying to imagine you cooried up in a wee cave on Raasay, three years ago. You were not, and I didn’t manage to finish it until this year, during lockdown.
I have used your beautiful photographs, which I pinched from your blog again, and I like to think you would have approved. Maybe you would have shed a tear also. Two vivid connections with you both involved tears. Once on the morning after the Scottish referendum, we passed on bikes, after a brief stop when words would not come out. Hope had run high and the disappointment was difficult. The second time was after everything had gone wrong for me and I had publicly declared that I had left Ian and the school and now was with Isabelle. I was sitting on a wooden pallet pile at the Skye Live Festival, looking down at my festival wellies, people wandering and milling about, between bands. I looked up and saw you – no surprise at a music event – and you showed, with no words, that you recognised that here sat a person who was truly lost.
I am remembering when we interviewed you as a school, on your boat. You took us to Saint Island where you had already planted a catch. The children were so excited and you were so pleased to tell them about your love for the sea. Your blog was filled with it. I am remembering when the children shooed Dougal the dog out of the school classroom again, out of the playground and back into your garden, 'What Dougal Did Next' the title of their next piece of writing. I think that might have been in your blog as well.
At the end of a year full of songs about Tesco delivery slots, errant politicians and dodgy footwear, I have to say that in between the sweary, the sad and the strange, I frequently feel that I must be one of the luckiest people on the planet. A large part of that is due to being able to live in Applecross again. You would have understood that.
I miss your blog, its wonderful waterscapes and stunning sunsets. I miss looking at it after a school event wondering whether we would get a mention! I laughed at your description of the school pantomime each year, in particular the last one that I was involved in, where one of the younger children played ‘Bloggy’, one of the seven barely disguised local dwarfs.
I started these blog posts with a positive salute to Mr Minchin, an affirmation of all good things in my life, a declaration of my lasting love for Ian. I continued with an attack on my attackers, a defence to the finger-pointers - I can talk about them now without tears or anger. I haven't really managed to tell my story and actually, I don’t think that is necessary. That said, I can't bring myself to stop the blog. So I am going to continue and we'll see what comes next.
I AM the luckiest person on the planet. I live with Isabelle, who I love. We have a cat, Minette. And everything that I lost I have found again. Ian, who comes to dinner most weekends, my relationship with my daughter, Garden Cottage, Applecross, even my teaching job - I have started teaching again at the Primary School, just a few hours each week. Initially it brought back anxieties, fear. But I love it now. I have come entirely full circle. Fisherman, I think you would like that. Here is my piece for you. You should listen to it with big headphones, on an electric bike.