Home From Home – Day 14

The three-hour ferry ride from Ullapool to Stornaway is uneventful. We have a look around Stornaway while waiting for the bus to Eoropie. Eventually, the bus leaves the “big” metropolis and weaves its way to the northern tip of the island. As we go, I look out of the window hoping to see B&B signs. I see none. And only one hotel, which isn’t very near to the place where we want to start our walk tomorrow. D doesn’t seem at all worried. I don’t know why not.

On arrival, we visit an ancient church built some time between the late 12th century and the early 16th century. To get to the church we walk along a path, past a man and his dog cutting a hedge. Actually, I think the man was doing most of the work. On our way back, we see the man loading his cutting machine and dog into a van. I go up to him and ask if there’s anywhere to stay in the area. Was that brave of me? I’m better with strangers. The man recommends a place nearby. We chat to the man about the walk we’re planning for tomorrow, the weather and so on. Then we walk to the lighthouse and on past the cemetery, back to the road and on to the B&B.

True enough, there’s a house with a B&B sign, exactly as the man described. How wonderful! Or not. We approach the house full of hope. D says, “Do you really do bed and breakfast?”

“Oh no,” says the lady. We don’t do that any more. We wonder why the sign is still there. She phones the only other B&B in the area, two miles away. “Can you walk that?” she asks. “Oh yes,” we say happily in unison, but that place turns out to be full. I have visions of sleeping outside in a field. (Remember this is northern Scotland and it’s none too warm.) Then the nice lady, for such she has become, says she and her husband are willing to put us up anyway. Now this really is wonderful. We wait while they prepare the room, and then go in to find a luxurious and spotlessly clean room with an en suite bathroom. We slide in between the sheets covering a soft mattress, lay our heads on soft, welcoming pillows and sleep soundly. Our dreams possibly touch on the long and isolated walk we plan to do tomorrow, but certainly don’t reflect the calamity that is about to befall us.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life. Social anxiety warrior. Cultivating a Fuji, edition 3, a poignant, humorous and uplifting tale, published with Ocelot Press, January 2023.

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