Insomnia …..

The official definition of the word

/ɪnˈsɒmnɪə/ – noun – habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep.

My definition

/@#$%&/ – swear word – the inability to turn the brain onto mute.

Why after sleeping like a baby – all of a sudden it is twisted sheets and desperation at ungodly hours of the night?

As a child when we complained that we couldn’t get to sleep, my dad used to sit at our beside and talk us through the process of letting your foot go to sleep and working your way up the body – invariably he never had to get further than the knees, but somehow as an adult this no longer seems to work. The brain kicks and fights against itself – it does not want to go to sleep.

I have also been advised to use reverse psychology – instead of lying there in angst trying to fall into dreamland,  lie there and be determined to stay awake.  But this gets boring and then the electronic device holds a pull and that, as we all know, would make any future ideas of sleep die a slow death.

But lying there in the wee dark hours one morning, with a tumultuous storm thrashing about outside, got me thinking.  How many beds have I lain in during my lifetime? Trying to run through my life and remember everywhere I have laid my head and then mentally teleporting myself to that actual bed – and eureka I was asleep!  It was quite an uncanny feeling of imagining oneself in the actual bed, the feel of the sheets, the noises outside, where the windows are, the doors, the colour of the curtains and literally feeling yourself lying physically in that bed again.

In typing this I realise that some beds you may not want to remember, so for the purpose of this exercise – don’t!

Have I unwittingly stumbled across a possible remedy for insomnia instead of the common counting of sheep?


Lets talk about the weather ……..

Weather, global warming, climate change, carbon footprints – all catch phrases which are guaranteed to open up many a debate at dinner tables around the globe.

Starting a conversation about the weather has been used universally as an icebreaker – or to fill in an awkward silence – “So what about this weather?”

And this was brought starkly home yesterday whilst standing at the checkout at the local Tesco’s, where the opening gambit from the assistant was “Och today is a bonny one after the winds we have had the past week, isn’t it?”  I look outside, nod my head in agreement as there is a sliver of fleeting blue sky daring to show its face through the heavy snow laden clouds that are scudding crazily across the sky. “Oh yes, much better, not so much rain about either.” Behind me another customer was engaged in a long conversation in the soft lilting Scottish accent, expounding on how treacherous the last week had been.

The western shores of Scotland had been receiving a beating from the edges of 2 massive storms, Ciara and Denis.  Not sure when storms A and B hit, but have it from the horse’s mouths – local residents in the area for many years “we have never seen weather like this before!”  And from my short personal experience, the Scottish weather is not for the faint of heart.  The force of the rain, hail, sleet and wind bring an energy of their own which can be terrifying but at the same time totally invigorating.


But there is a big difference between weather and climate – a lesson here for the President of the United States.  It is about a measure of time.  Weather is what conditions are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.

Decades ago, back in sunny South Africa, we were being warned about skin cancer becoming more prevalent due to the hole in the ozone layer – and as naïve laymen were told one of the causes was from the use of spray deodorants.  As the years have passed, people as a whole are living on a more eco friendly basis and appears that the term “hole in the ozone layer” has morphed into global warming and carbon footprints.  Same difference.  Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about young Gretha – she is correct – the world is in trouble.

Even with the doom and gloom, we still need to go on with our everyday lives and this I see daily here in this remote corner of the highlands where the fishermen go out religiously, their little boats fighting the waves being whipped up by gale-force winds on the usually tranquil loch, dressed in their oilskins – which always seem to be yellow – beanies, wellies and thick gloves, braving nature and all that she throws at them.  We also – go about our daily business – but need to be mindful of the impact our lifestyles have on this amazing beautiful planet we call home.

Running in the Scottish Highlands

The rain is slashing down, the wind is howling causing massive waves to crash against the heathered shores of the usually tranquil loch and anything that is remotely loose is slating viciously, adding to the cacophony of sound that awakens me before my pre-set alarm goes off.  This is a signal enough to encourage a roll over and a deep snuggle under the blankets – there will be no early morning run that day. It was not meant to be.

Since my return back to the highlands after 2 months of lazy summer days around pool sides sipping never ending cocktails, I had decided to optimistically check the weather report each evening to gauge the likelihood of being able to get my endorphin fix the next morning.  And this morning the Highlands turned out in full force and put on a magical majestic show.

As I was jogging up the road, my only wish was to be able to capture the atmosphere and bottle it, Obviously, this was impossible so my blog started to form in my mind.


It is cold, with the high crags of Quinag covered with winter snow, the air is crisp and clear after the lashings of rain from the day before, and the sun is just starting to shed a few rays of light over the silhouetted mountains. Not a soul in sight.  A seagull swoops overhead and calls, diving into the glass topped loch to catch an early breakfast. Up ahead a small flock of woolly sheep, with red and blue painted crosses on their backs, idly graze and amble without a worry in the world across the road to find slightly greener pastures. As I get closer, they keep their distance and watch me warily.

I look up and get a start, as there standing silently watching from a rocky outcrop are a herd of reindeer horned deer, they do not move knowing they are safe.  My heart feels full. It is at times like this that I wish I could carry a better camera with me as my phone just does not do the scene justice.



Its is only my breathing in my ears and the footfall of my feet that seem to break the total silence that surrounds me. I stop to just breathe in the stillness and take in the majestic beauty around me, and to listen.  The sounds of the gently chewing sheep, the occasional call of a far-off seagull and in the distance, the sound of waterfalls which can be seen like never ending silver snakes meandering against the darkness of the surrounding rocks, finding their way into the cold waters of the loch below. Here the water shimmers and offers up mirror like reflections of the lightening sky above.


I can almost feel the history of the area in my soul and my imagination starts going off on a tangent of its own, with images of Vikings and similar movie scenes from Braveheart and can now understand why my father yearned to come back to his homeland.

My musings are broken as I am forced to jump off the lonely empty road as a car comes careening around the bend, “why would anyone want to be in such a hurry when surrounded by so much beauty?” This is a sign that the normal world is awakening and time to head back home.  And I feel I am home.  I am content.