Opening Line

It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last. I was in Iona on holiday and walked into a cove at the back of the island. It was quite an isolated spot but we weren’t quite alone. There was a family nearby with a young kid quite contentedly playing about on the sand. It was a beautiful place, rocky on either side of the bay with a sandy beach. Looking straight out, the horizon fell towards the Atlantic. The next landfall was Newfoundland, though even on the clearest day it would never be visible.

Occasionally when I’m at the sea, I have the urge to stick my toes into the water. I don’t always do it because I’m feart but right then, on Iona, I decided just to do it. YOLO, as the young folk say. I rolled up my jeans and waded a little way out into the quite cool water. Iona is blessed by the Gulfstream so it is a wee bit warmer than in the river by Samye Ling, as I discovered recently, which was absolutely baltic. The photo below was taken about 3 feet from the shore, water up to my ankles. I didn’t go much further, incidentally. I didn’t take the boat for a joyride or anything. I didn’t go crazy.

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That day, the rest of my body soon got soaking as we walked back across the island towards the Abbey. It was worth it, at least when I thought about it later. We walked around the edges of bays straight out of a Peploe painting and across heather and bracken but we were ringin’ by the time we reached the Abbey, when of course the sun had come out again. Again, not the last time that will ever happen, even if it was the first there.

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