I look up, the sky is crystal clear, a dark moonless night but at the same time filled with never ending stars. It is 1 am, there is not a soul around to disturb my musings.
Earlier in the evening it had been announced that all hospitality outlets in the United Kingdom are to closed with immediate effect. We, the Kylesku family, are the fortunate ones. For the enforced lockdown, there are 25 of us, all fit and healthy with no threat of the dreaded virus in our midst. We have sufficient means to see us through the upcoming weeks and drink to our health and survival out in this remote little corner of the Scottish Highlands. We will play games, garden, write, entertain each other, while at the same time being well aware of what is transpiring in the ‘outside’ world. Our evening of merriment has an almost festive feel to it, but at the same time a feeling of underlying uncertainty.
Corona virus – cheers !
Way too much alcohol is consumed and I feel that for me personally, it is time to call it a night. My recollection of the rest of the evening is as follows.
Walking haphazardly up the silent road towards my room, I decide to take a short stroll. Seeing road markings I try and balance myself along the painted stripes – to no avail – to which I laugh quietly (I think) to myself. Getting to the path way which leads away from any street lights, I ponder the possibility of seeing the northern lights on such a clear night and make my way up the uneven pathway into total darkness. Getting through the first stile was no problem, stumbling further up the path and walking blind, I get to the second stile and some sanity prevails and I realise maybe not such a good idea to go any further. This is when I look up and think how small we are, how insignificant in the bigger scheme of things, how uncertain every day is, how good life is. I talk to my loved ones watching over me from up above, more than likely with a shake of their heads.
Time to head back and I try and get my bearings, through the mist of a couple of bottles of wine, only to find myself falling headfirst into a hole. I untangle myself and think now might be a good time to use the torch on my phone, only to find it has fallen out my pocket somewhere amongst the overgrown heather. A seriously sobering thought – my life is on that phone. I try and feel around and realise this is a pointless exercise, as it is pitch black. Stumbling back down, getting caught in barbed wire fences along the way, I try and keep my footing and find the path and a look for possible identifying landmarks, to return to find my phone.
I eventually reached the road and trotted back to the hotel with an icy wind blowing my face sober, to get my headtorch. I make my way back, torch in hand. I am not finding this so funny anymore. My guardian angels must have been watching out for me, as it took me less than 5 minutes to find my phone caught up in a bramble and lying next to it my reading glasses which I did not even know had been lost as well. I slept well that night.
My lesson from this adventure – and it was an adventure – is never go walking on the moors by yourself at 1 am in the morning when you are 2 sheets to the wind!
And this was Day 1 of the lockdown.
The guilty but innocuous pathway in broad daylight