We are home.
It was a long road, a bright road, a road swift under the van wheels. It was a road sweet with friends, sunshine and woodsmoke and some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Ivashko Medvedko made appearances in a theatre, a barn in the grounds of a 15th century tower, a boat-building workshop in Govan and a remote shed on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. Everywhere we went, we were helped by a host of good folk, without whom our journey would have been a ruinous road and a dark one. We return home enriched and amazed. And exhausted. Yesterday, we lunched near Lockerbie, dined near Macclesfield, drank tea by the M5 and fell into our own Dartmoor bed well after midnight. Three days ago, we sitting by our stove on the southern edge of Harris. Travel is a peculiar thing.
Tomorrow, there is more storytelling. Next week, there is Uncivilisation. Now, there are baths and unpacking and digesting and remembering. This beautiful island is made a far greater joy through the company of friends.
Particular thanks go to the family Strang in Dumfries and Galloway, for all they did to make our lowlands stay a joy and for organising the two shows there – see you all in a week! Also to Svenja, Luke and Gehan in Glasgow, and all the GalGael crew, who gave us the warmest of welcomes and many helpful hands for the show there a week ago – it was a fantastic night. Many, many thanks to Sharon and David of EarthLines/Two Ravens Press too, for their hospitality and conversation – and particularly to David for answering all our many, many questions about Lewis life with apparently inexhaustible patience. You are all bright stars and we are blessed by knowing you.
There is much, much more to say. There was one conversation that formed a continuous thread throughout almost every other on our journey. Everywhere we went, the same questions arose when we talked about this world and these times. But those questions are for another day and another head – this one is not fit for writing in straight lines and my soul is still zooming along hundreds of miles behind me, trying to catch up. One day, perhaps soon, those van wheels will turn to cart wheels and the road will be a slower place. Right now, I still see the tarmac disappearing under me.
Soon, more. Now, rest. I am remembering the west coast of Lewis and the ringed plovers among the ancient rocks as we walked in the seemingly endless light.