Mulling it over.Tuesday, June 26, 2012
And so it is with Mull. But first, I have to say this: I was wrong. Before we went, I would tell anyone who would listen that no, we weren't going abroad this year, we were going to Mull, always accompanied with a resigned shrug of the shoulders and That Look. It will be crap, that look said. It will rain, the cottage will be grotty, we'll be bored after a day.
It didn't, it wasn't, we weren't. I was wrong.
To be fair, it didn't start well. The first football match kicked off on the ferry, and it doesn't seem to have ended yet. Funny how Fin neglected to mention the European championship when we were booking the trip. Smidgen and I were united in our disinterest.
Then we arrived. And oh, it was good.
In the interests of full disclosure, I must confess that our delightful first evening, mainly spent exclaiming over our perfect cottage and its perfect views and its perfect lack of midges, was slightly marred when, in a fit of first-night-of-holiday exuberance, I whacked my half-full glass of red wine all over our friend's beloved Macbook. Awkward, to say the least.
Our new neighbour wasn't too impressed with us either.
Mull itself is a wild, gorgeous place. Single-track roads thread between vast hills and trickle down to the sea. Purple rhododendron have burst out of their gardens and clambered up the crumbling slopes. Ferries trundle back and forth to Iona, cradle of Scottish Christianity and transient home to an inordinate number of American tourists. Smidgen was a hit there, naturally.
We walked to hidden beaches, tiny churches, mausoleums and standing stones. We bought vegetables from the back of a van and petrol from a man who pumped it for you. We learned the etiquette of the narrow roads, noting the different styles of wave (the Whole-Hand, the One-Finger, ooh, the Blessing - fancy) and cursing those who drove by without acknowledgement. They must be new to the island, we agreed. They didn't understand.
There was one breakdown of the mechanical variety, and another of the hung over kind. The less said about the gin-fuelled Chinese conga line, the better.
I have never been so glad to be wrong.