In the back of my mind I have things to say about life on the island and my ‘making-do’ (see ‘Post-Buoy’ for instance, our post box that I made from rubbish on the beach), but that is all now knocked into a cocked hat by the worst thing of all things that could happen.
I was walking out to collect Katy from the ferry, accompanied by the occasional ‘ping’ from my phone, but after an hour or so the only sounds I was aware of were the wind, the rhythm of my boots and the birds calling. When I stopped for a pee in a bit of a boggy area (well just afterwards in fact), I patted my pocket to find to there was no phone in it.
I was then on my hands and knees in the swampy ground searching through the reeds and mosses, and plunging my hands into pockets of water. But I couldn’t find the phone. So I went back the way that I’d come, all 7 miles, stopping the stalkers on their quad bikes for fear that they might run over it. They would keep an eye out they said.
Eventually I had to turn back in the direction I needed to go, feeling sunk but holding out that I hadn’t searched the bog properly. Time was becoming an issue, having left Gometra at 9am it was now 2pm, and I needed to get on the Ulva ferry and across Mull to meet Katy off the Craignure ferry at 4.45.
I stopped on my way back and combed the bog again but still nothing. A couple heading to Janeanne’s bothy, with a fishing buggy being pushed and pulled between them to carry their kit, said they would look out for it, but I didn’t have much hope by now.
My feelings were odd ones. I started to try and accept that I was cut-off and that I’d just need to try and live that way from now on: giving up on all my projects, like this blog, and letting go of control over my finances etc. etc. I also told myself that I shouldn’t have picked up a rucksac rain cover that I had found earlier, and that the gods acted swiftly and decisively up here! ‘Acquire something – lose something!’ I’d learned my lesson, I told them.
I knew that Katy had a phone and that I could (potentially, given that it was charged and managed to get a signal) let Andy know that I’d lost mine. But beyond that I was stuffed. The nearest EE shop is in Glasgow, and anyway what good is a phone without my SIM? My phone hasn’t been backed-up for ages, since it is never in that contented state of being plugged in and in wifi simultaneously, so that dastardly dark ‘Cloud’ wouldn’t be anything like up to date.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t even swear. I was in the first stages of grief: shock and disbelief, and under the fantasy even that this was another adventure! I geared -up to asking (maybe begging) Katy for her phone for a few days – just so that I could tell people that this was it, I was not just difficult to reach now, but impossibly so.
Katy’s first words to me were “Don’t worry mum. Your phone is at the Boathouse. They are keeping it safe for you”
“Dad told me”
I couldn’t get my head around that, until I (correctly) figured that someone must have picked it up and taken it there (though I couldn’t work out who could have seen it before I had passed looking for it), and that Andy must have called me and been answered by Rachel at the Boathouse.
The walk back was as tough as the last stages on an ultra-marathon, completing the day’s 30 miles with an exhausted body and mind. On Gometra Katy found a rather new and useful looking clip on the track (which I hadn’t seen that morning), which I decided to offer to the couple in Janeanne’s bothy whilst I delivered a message about their ferry time out – just incase they’d lost it off their trolley. They had!
Well…it’s all very long winded I know, but suffice to say the gods really are very involved, not to say whimsical, up here in the Hebrides, so I’m beginning to understand Scottish caution.