raven: black and white street sign: "Hobbs Lane" (quatermass - hobbs end)
[personal profile] raven
I have been away from home for two weeks. As I had only lived in this house for two weeks and four days before that, I'm feeling a bit discombobulated. Hello, internet.

I spent my first week of holiday at Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye, on a short course in beginners' Gaelic. It was - I don't know. Perfect. Beautiful, transformative, all the other inadequate words. Interstitial, perhaps. I have no idea. It was - I went there, and I learned a lot, and the clear space inside my mind is quieter and larger for it. I am supposed to be writing about it under my real name elsewhere, but - haven't. Not yet. Perhaps soon.

I was on Skye for a week, Sunday to Friday, and on a clear, still, beautiful day midway through I went with a new friend to get her ticket for the ferry to the mainland. We'll sell it to you for now, Cal Mac said, but 'ware warning - there probably won't be a Friday sailing. On Thursday night I was at a ceilidh - there was an Orcadian strip-the-willow; they made me sing - and stumbled to bed in a ruffly dress and pink-wine-haze while the weather hit with an oceanic violence. I left the island entirely due to the kindness of strangers and ended up in Glasgow feeling like it was me who had been washed out to sea and returned with smoother edges. I had a booked train south on the Saturday on the west coast line, and it was one of those mornings where everything seems crisp and perfect. I had a table seat and wrote a few hundred words over a cup of coffee while the landscape flashed past.

At Oxenholme I failed to prevent a disaster ("Shall I just step on the train on a moment?" said someone, as I was clambering off. "Just to see you settled in!") and then [personal profile] happydork had texted to say there had been a slight navigation failure, so I sat on the platform for a while drinking more coffee and smiling at strangers, and then the next week after that was just the same kind of contented. I was in the Lake District because last summer I had a bright idea (how about I ask eleven of my closest friends to share a cottage with me in the Lake District for a week?) and wiser minds than mine had brought it to fruition. When I originally looked into it, I found a farmhouse we could rent that seemed big enough, and nice, and in a reasonably pretty part of the Lakes, and suggested it to my friends; it wasn't me who figured out that it was, in fact, the house in Swallows and Amazons, and is still in the ownership of the Altounyan family. I'm still not quite sure how that happened. And then when I actually saw it, it turned out to be an eighteenth-century farmhouse with ancient beams and slate floors, a claw-foot bathtub and a kitchen you could cartwheel in, and a view over the river tumbling through the valley. Over the week I helped cook, did some fetching and carrying, went on shortish walks around the surrounding lakes and fells, and wrote a fair bit at that giant kitchen table, accompanied by people with whom one can be quiet, and the smell of baking bread. I went on a steam train and played Poohsticks on a bridge over the River Leven, and met an owl. Writing is hard, currently; I had a couple of writing-related disappointments, but it's all right, I think. I am still trying.

Back in London, I keep thinking that somehow I am not supposed to be here. That there's some rent I'm not paying; that I'm not entitled to this space. I hate this form of anxiety, the savage kind that persists despite the knowledge I'm allowed to take holidays, and use my own time to write, and learn whatever language I please, and shout at my next-door neighbour for playing music loudly enough to wake me up at 1am. Today I have stayed in bed all morning, read half a novel, sent out a story, found a plumber and put up three pictures. It will have to do.

on 2016-04-09 09:00 pm (UTC)
soupytwist: Miranda Otto dancing (dancing crazy)
Posted by [personal profile] soupytwist
I hadn't really thought of how weird going back to a new house must be, but of course it is. I hope the holdiaying can be rewrought in your synapses to be a breath before a new phase - the change made, a breath to recuperate, and now a new time.

People with whom you can be quiet are the BEST.

Anxiety is not the best and I wish to punch it in its stupid face.

on 2016-04-11 09:20 pm (UTC)
soupytwist: Miranda Otto dancing (dancing crazy)
Posted by [personal profile] soupytwist
ME TOO. (Surprisingly, she says, given my last email. Haha.) And you know what's great? That can happen again! In June! :D :D!

on 2016-04-10 02:44 am (UTC)
lemon_badgeress: basket of lemons, with one cut lemon being decorative (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] lemon_badgeress
I heard we were punching anxiety in the face, I came right over.

That sounds like a LOVELY vacation.

on 2016-04-10 03:39 am (UTC)
celli: a woman and a man holding hands, captioned "i treasure" (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] celli

on 2016-04-10 06:05 am (UTC)
msilverstar: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] msilverstar
Thinking of you and your friends in the Swallows and Amazons house is truly delightful

on 2016-04-10 06:14 am (UTC)
longwhitecoats: Captain America in his 1940s costume reading aloud from the notes on the back of his shield (Steve reading)
Posted by [personal profile] longwhitecoats
That vacation sounds completely marvelous and full of wonderful adventure, and also really restful, in a deep way. <3

I'm sorry London is being butts.

on 2016-04-16 01:08 am (UTC)
riverlight: A rainbow and birds. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] riverlight
I feel like I say this every post of yours I read, but: goddamn, I love the way you write. I want to see the world the way you do, or maybe be able to express it the way you do—everything you write makes things seem luminous and full of clarity. <3!

on 2016-04-26 04:58 pm (UTC)
fyrdrakken: (Tulips)
Posted by [personal profile] fyrdrakken
I envy you for the stay in the holiday house, that sounds wonderful and I wish I had the option to do similar.

As for the house, a few more months should let it start taking on the psychological resonance of "home" and less like you're on an extended vacation somewhere you "shouldn't be." Hanging pictures is good, and settling in.

on 2016-05-01 08:57 pm (UTC)
goss: (Calvin and Hobbes - dance)
Posted by [personal profile] goss
Hello, new friend! :)

on 2016-04-09 06:26 pm (UTC)
tau_sigma: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] tau_sigma
I'm jealous of your Swallows and Amazons holiday! But very glad that you have had two weeks of much needed rest and quiet. *hugs*

on 2016-04-11 09:17 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
It was very much needed, aaaah. Also, thank you for the lovely card! It arrived the day after we left, so I've only just seen it. Such a determined tortoise.

on 2016-04-09 08:10 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] littlered2.livejournal.com
Your travels sound so lovely. I am very envious, particularly of the owl meeting! Birds of prey are wonderful. (Have you seen the livestream (http://www.eagles.org/dceaglecam/) of the Washington DC bald eagle nest? They are seeking names for the eaglets on Facebook; Rob, in a fit of enthusiasm, suggested Hamilton/Laurens, Alexander/Eliza or Eliza/Angelica, depending on sexes.)

When I first read Swallows and Amazons I did not quite get that it was the Lake District; I was thrown off by a mention of their mother telling them stories about growing up in Australia; the fact that everywhere was referred to as Rio or the Spanish Main or whatever did not help my confusion.

on 2016-04-11 09:38 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] biascut.livejournal.com
Yes, I had exactly that problem! I never really got into them. I only read one, I think, which was in a pile of library books that my dad got me just before we went on holiday when I was eleven or so. I usually chose my own library books, but I didn't have time to go to the library before we went on holiday, which meant that I had six books that I probably wouldn't have chosen myself to last me two weeks and obviously I'd finished them all before we got as far as the ferry to France, so I pretty much knew them off by heart by the time we got home. And yet I still didn't click that half the S&A stuff was the children's imagination.

on 2016-04-11 10:05 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] littlered2.livejournal.com
I got that it was their imagination, I think, and so it wasn't really Rio (or wherever), but I was completely lost as to where they actually were. (I only read the first one as well, although I loved it.)

Six books is not enough for a two-week holiday. When I was about 14 we went to France for two weeks, and despite taking about twenty books, I had run out halfway through the second week and started having feverish, anxiety-fuelled dreams about libraries. I was strongly considering cycling to the nearest town and ensconcing myself in their library, despite my very basic French literacy.

on 2016-04-11 09:20 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
To be honest, reading it as an adult, I found that a little difficult too! I've only read the first one, which I did in preparation for this holiday. :)

on 2016-04-10 01:24 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] macadamanaity.livejournal.com
Can't wait to hear more about your trips and am so jealous of your Skye experience. Alasdair Fraser has a fiddle camp there that one year I am going to do, when I'm skilled enough to get the most from it.

on 2016-04-11 09:19 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
Ahh, I met several people who had done the fiddle camp with Alasdair Fraser! I really hope you do it someday. :)

on 2016-04-11 09:45 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] biascut.livejournal.com
Your Lake District holiday sounds so lovely! I absolutely love holidays like that, except for the bits where everyone is naming dates and someone has to make the harsh decision about whether to go with the week when 11 out of 12 people can make it or the one where everyone can but 3 people will have to leave early and aaargh. You are a triumph even if you only provided the initial idea and impetus!

on 2016-04-11 09:19 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
Ahhh, I did that bit - the naming dates, and finding a place, and canvassing opinions! Though the other eleven people involved did make it as easy as possible for me. What I didn't do was the drive up, or the epic, multi-spreadsheet Tesco-delivery-and-meal-plan. I also didn't do any cooking. :)

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