30/05/12 The Salen Solution

Tobermory – what a beautiful place. The first food outlet I encounter is a little cafe on the pier – fish and chips. Whilst all the other customers are outside enjoying the sun – I’m huddled in the shade – saving my crunchy skin just for a little longer.

Pork scratchings…. Did I say that out loud?

Anyway, I ventured out into the heat of the day to find Hubert enjoying the attention of some tourists from Leamington (just up the road from Ella) of all places.

The lady – for I didn’t get her name – told me about the benefits of puffin therapy…

Before I had the chance to think ‘What a load of old ballcocks’ I imagined them sitting in amongst those cheeky faced critters…

Puffin therapy – they might have something there.

In the hospital I worked in in Edinburgh there was such a thing as ‘Therapets’ – these were dogs who came to visit stroke victims – reducing their blood pressure and heartrates purely due to the fact they were cute and cuddly…

The dogs had owners – they didn’t just wander in off the street – in case you were wondering…

We chatted, and I went off on my way to replenish my Irn Bru supply at the local co-op…

‘Chris!’ shouted the woman behind me – she thrust £10 into my hand, ‘for food/ drink or whatever…’ she smiled and I was on my way.

I put my tent up in a nice meadowy field – with daisies no less – a sky lark singing nearby and a cuckoo doing his/ her thing in the background.

This morning at about 10 there came a knock on my tent. The friendly, smiling farmer asked me when I was thinking of moving.

I asked him what would be best for him.
He explained the cows were coming in in a couple of hours – they should be ok with me – but the bull might get a little narked.

I agreed to leave before they arrived.
Ella phoned – all chatty – I explained the situation.

All chatty.

Time passed.

I realised I needed to get packing – so I said, “I need to go, the bull’s coming,”

Ella responds,’THE BULL’S COMING?’

Obviously thinking I sounded very calm…

I meant…

Well, y’know….

Made me laugh

I arrived in a small village – Salen – half way along Mull’s north coast.

The walk had been beautiful, hugging the sound of Mull (not a radio station – the vast expanse of water to the north) the smell of wild garlic and coconut from the gorse mixing deliciously.

I chatted with a couple of guys – telling tales of derring etc.

One of them looks me in the eye and says, ‘Well, I hope I never see you again – what do you think of that?’

‘I…er…hmmm?’ was my rapier like response…

I walked on wondering what had happened there.

And then I arrived here…

Run by the lovely Elaine. Happy chat/ delicious food…’No, it’s on the house…’

And the smile had returned to my lips.
On the edge of Salen there are some roadworks…so you might want add a bit to your journey time…

No, get back on track, Chris…

I was negotiating these when I heard some shouting behind me.

Although I’m acquainted with a bunch of folk in these parts – I don’t know anyone sufficiently well for them to bellow after me.

Finally, curiosity got the better of me and I asked the obvious question (there were no other folk on the road) – ‘Are you shouting at me?’

‘Yes, yes…’ said Amanda Hughes from the walk a mile group and her dad.
Still unclear as to what to do in such circumstances after all this time, I followed her cue and we had a hug.

We chatted, laughed, smiled, took photos…

When it came time to go, Amanda extended her hand to shake – a little more formal after the earlier excitement?

No, I think she got a shock when she discovered what a man smells like after walking in the wilds of Scotland for two weeks and thought better of the follow up hug.

No matter, I grabbed hold of her anyway – then her dad…

That’s the Salen solution.

This is a hoot – why don’t you try to randomly bump into me on the road and then regret it instantly when you enter the rancid hug of death.

I’m quite nice really.

Walk a mile


This entry was posted in inequality, mental health, Uncategorized, walking and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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