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A wise old owl

I’m hoping this is one of the trees still standing after all those storms. As a wise old owl once said ‘bad weather, the perfect excuse to stay inside and write’.

Only, on this occasion, I couldn’t. After an absence of nearly two years, I was finally going back to Dingwall Library. When I left that last time I had no idea I wouldn’t be back for so long.

All the children that attended back in February 2020 will be at some form of pre-school by now. I am hoping it will be Gaelic Medium. The 1st year students I saw in the High School then will be in 3rd year and greatly changed.

I was excited at the prospect of meeting new families. The weather however had different ideas. We were just recovering from one storm when another one screamed in.

Dark dawn and I found myself listening to news reports on power cuts and trees blocking roads. Main roads would be fine I reasoned. Only my idea of a main road in the Highlands did not correspond with how the rest of the country viewed ‘main roads’. 15 minutes from my destination and colour brightened the winter landscape. Unfortunately, I was facing a red sign and orange cones informing me the road was closed.

Decision time, I turned and drove across a bridge, around a few sharp corners, and found myself and a nice wee single track road. It was angled roughly in the right direction. I spend some time talking to cows in the field next to me as I waited in a passing place. Other road users had made a similar decision to mine. Finally, I found my way back onto a near enough main road. I arrived at my destination with minutes to spare.

It often happens, we hope to go one way and then circumstances send us another. It is as true in writing as it is in life. At the moment I find myself seriously considering a large rewrite before I have even completed my first draft.

True I only have about twelve thousand words to go but still… I know I am unusual in that I rarely have to cut down my manuscript rather I normally have to add more.

The beach wheelchair thread has grown larger than I thought. I’ve had to go with the storyline. It fits so much better than my original one. In the last Blàs book, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that it was trees that ended up taking over a much larger part of the story than I had intended. I do still have traditions and interesting myths throughout this visit to Blàs but I miss the excuse to write about trees.

I’m so used to visiting woods that I almost dismiss the trees surrounding our main throughways. Apart from autumn, that is when their glorious colour steals the eye.

Trees will again play a bigger part in my blogs this year. If I can’t write about them in Blàs then I need to do that here. I will make no excuse for that. I hadn’t realised just how many people admire and enjoy talking about these amazing plants.

This picture was taken at a local woods that have tree sculptures all around it. A great way of encouraging little people to carry on walking until they find the next one. This though must be one of my favourites.

You can easily walk past if you don’t know it is there, perched on a branch as you go over a burn. You look back and there it is one of the original sculptures from a few years back. Many more have been added since.

I hope to use some more of these cravings from around the woods in future blogs. Apart from trees, no doubt Bosie will also feature after all she does accompany me.

So 2022 blogs will once more include writing, trees, and dogs. I’m sure something else will surface during the year but I reckon these three themes should cover most aspects of my life.

I hope your woods are still intact. If you look closely buds are already beginning to swell despite the weather. New beginnings, now that is something to look forward to.

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