Monday, July 10, 2006

Nice to hear from you.

Greetings from the land beneath the waves. Well, all I can do is apologise for not being around the last couple of days. It was a bit of a hectic weekend work-wise and I just couldn’t get organised enough to sit down at my note book and write.

In fact I had thought of updating the blog last night but the World Cup Final on TV intervened. I just love the World Cup and already I’m starting to sense withdrawal symptoms setting in. Oddly enough I have never been able to play football. I’m just useless: I have no foot-to-ball coordination. One or two people I spoke to yesterday (Sunday) had expected I would be taking part in the 5-a-sides on The Reef. No way. I have more efficient and less time consuming ways of making a fool of myself.

I gather the Tiree Land Fair went well. I made it to only one of the talks, all about organic farming and making better use of local produce at the school, etc., and that seems like a cool idea. While I was at the talk – well-enough attended but no one had to worry about not getting a seat, if you know what I mean – I sensed that the local audience thought many of the ideas being put forward were impractical or not grounded in the realities of modern crofting.

What I know about crofting could be written on the back of a postage stamp but the programme looked interesting and if I’d had more time I would have gone to some more of the talks.

Once again I missed out on John Bowler’s bird walk and talk. John, the local RSPB man is a really nice guy and he knows his topic inside-out. I’ve missed every one of these he’s organised because of work commitments. Maybe next time.

Ok, on to your emails.

Regarding my last piece about wheelchair access at the Agricultural Show, I received the following suggestion from Barry Beesley, Kamloops, BC, Canada:

“If a group purchased 3 sheets of plywood or particle board or similar material and ran the wheelchairs on the boards and moved the one from behind into the front they would have an easier time. It would take two men to handle each piece of board to move them, but you would save a lot of energy and frustration. I don't know what you have out on Tiree, but even hides would work. Hope this suggestion is useful.”

Thanks for that Barry. That’s a very practical solution and would certainly work. As I said last time I am one of the people who has to do this pushing and pulling and sweating buckets in the process. The problem with your suggestion is that every time we wanted to move anywhere we would have say ‘right, we’re heading in such-and-such a direction’, rather than being able to make our way about as the fancy takes us, like everyone else. The other problem is that the Agricultural Show is usually a packed event with crowds of people and the thought of trying to make our way through the throngs of people with large boards probably wouldn’t work. That apart, this idea would undoubtedly work. Thanks again.

My good friend Kim O’Keefe recently moved back to Australia with her kids, Tor and Keir. Kim wrote me a brief note recently:

“I’m keeping up with the ‘goss' on your website Just making sure I’m not missing anything and to keep the boys updated. (Especially good to hear we're not missing an amazing summer - PHEW!) It’s Winter here and it is hotter than Tiree's best summer- water still 22 degrees Celsius!”

Hey, Kim, Tor and Keir: it was lovely to hear from you and I’m so glad everything seems to be working out for you. When we get that kind of heat here on Tiree in the middle of the Summer I feel like climbing Ben Hough, erecting an impromptu altar and giving thanks to the Almighty. Send a picture of you all sometime and I’ll post it to the Blogspot.

Peter West wrote to me after the Tiree 10k:

“Liked your bit on your blog spot about the 10k, liked your comments about Will, liked the 10k itself, and liked being back on Tiree, albeit briefly last weekend. Depending on timing, I think there will be quite a sizeable contingent from Lothian Running Club there next year. We had a great time. Is there any site where some of the many photographs I saw being taken are going to be posted?”

Peter, thanks for your email. Will Wright is definitely one of my heroes. He’s so motivated and committed. I wish I could have met someone like Will when I was his age. Someone like Will would have provided me with a great role model, someone whose example I could have lived up to. As it is, I’ve come to serious fitness training about 30 years too late. Having said that, it’s never too late.

I’ve been in contact with Will following your email and we both agree that a website where the 10k photographs could be recorded for posterity is what we need to organise. Failing that I can make a page and link it to this Blog. Neither of these options are difficult to put together. At the moment, however, I still don’t have any of the ‘official’ photographs.

Hey Will! Are you reading this? Any chance of burning the pics on to a disk?

Regular readers will be aware that in my spare time I am a 50 year old rock-vocalist/runner/cyclist. As John Campbell said to me after playing at the New Year celebrations in An Talla, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you must be one of the most eccentric people on Tiree!” Far from being offended I was delighted.

But then Bob Grant emailed and suddenly I had the sneaking suspicion that he and I may have been separated at birth:

“I play in two rock bands (lead guitar and some lead vocals in one and bass guitar in the other). I'm also 50 by the way.”

Bob goes on to ask me about road cycling on Tiree (one of my favourite pursuits) and that he hurt his knee some years ago (as I did during my 2004 ‘epic’ ride up through the Western Isles) and that he’s overweight at the moment (as I am slightly) but that he likes to get out on the bike whenever he can (as I do). Bob hasn’t been to Tiree yet but I feel a visit can’t be too far away. Look he up Bob – I have a couple of bikes and we could go out for a ride. I’m not much when it comes to cross country but if you fancy a pedal around for an hour or so give me a shout.

Today's Tiree photographs come courtesy of Bev Richmond.

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