Our last views over to Iona on the morning we left Scotland for a wee while were basked in sunshine and I always think of driving across Mull as a journey home from a pilgrimage. The views of the isles and Highlands from the ferry were equally special. We passed the imposing Duart Castle, which we had visited a few days earlier, and headed towards the now familiar port of Oban.
The trip back down south was pretty uneventful, catching a break and a snack at The Green Welly Stop, a more civilised and home baked Scottish version of a service station, where I enjoyed my last authentic Cullen Skink ~ a delicious fresh haddock soup.
We’d planned to stop overnight in Northumberland, but it took us a while to locate The Royal Oak at Appleby ~ an olde worlde and very English country inn. After settling into our comfortable room we took a stroll into the old town, when an unexpected thought struck me like a blow on the head. I was completely surprised by the flood of relief to see the Union Jack flying proudly over many of the buildings. I had not expected the sensation of such a visual impact!
For several months now, we’d seen the Scottish blue and white cross displayed proudly throughout Scotland, and rightly so. The Scots have a great deal to be proud of. It made me think. Although I’m proud to be English, it is always the Union Jack that I wave and not the George Cross, if I feel the need to wave one at all and I still have two in our hallway from the Golden Jubilee. I have always put ‘British’ on my passport and other forms and, until recently, would never dream of doing otherwise.
On our travels around Scotland we have talked to folks from The Orkneys to Edinburgh in the east, and from Harris and Lewis down to Glasgow in the west. We have stayed in Aberdeen and Braemar, Ullapool and Mallaig and visited several of the Western Isles. We have also live in Fife for nine months and enjoyed being part of a friendly community there.
Due to this recent of experience of Scotland, I had intended to write a few posts on possible devolution and the thoughts of the people we have met (anonymously of course) and of those we are now proud to call our friends. Sad to say I have been warned against it, although my intention was always to give a balanced approach. After all, we know both folks who are passionate about voting ‘yes’ and also ‘no.’
Whatever the outcome of Thursdays vote, there will be a great deal of healing to do within communities, and I hope and pray that the Scottish sense of humour and generous spirit comes to the fore and all accept each other in unity.
to the people who are excited to see
‘Scotland take hold of its own destiny’
and to those (and this was a lovely banner in the lowlands) who are
‘proud to be Scottish but delighted to be United’
and to the lady, and many like her who are still undecided, who wisely remarked,
‘I have not decided yet but I will vote, and when I do I’m telling no-one ~ not even my husband.’
I send you all the luck and love in the world. We’re watching…waiting…and thinking of you.