We arrived in Scotland as the sun was setting. The snowy mountains we could see from the plane were mesmerising, with pools of bright light on seemingly untouched snow contrasting with patches of dark dense forest. From above, paths cutting confidently through the trees looked easily accessible. The plane swung round and we flew over the sea as we descended, with the narrow beaches that seemed to stretch on forever getting closer and closer.
Our landing in Inverness was quick and smooth and my tics had less to say about it than about our take-off. Then, my unusual neurology had excelled itself, much to the amusement of Zoë, myself, and our fellow passengers:
“Put a pickle under your tits and pray.”
“Alan Hanson’s flying the plane.”
“Hello clouds I’m coming to get you.”
“19% of penguins fly EasyJet.”
“Stay on the plane, wings.”
When we were in the air my tics chatted happily to the wings and to the ground below. Looking down at the patchwork of fields that was the Home Counties they said:
“Hello evidence of the Enclosure Act.”
At first this meant nothing to me but after racking my brains for a few moments I recalled learning in school that the division of fields that makes up large parts of the British countryside is the result of a piece of legislation from a long time ago. I always find it funny when my tics unearth something I didn’t know I knew.
When we landed they said, “Thank you for not fucking it up, wings” and with that and a thank-you to the cabin crew we disembarked.
After a quick snack in Inverness we got on a train for the final leg of our journey. Olive had told us what a beautiful cross-country route this was but it was already dark. This meant our own reflections were all we could see in the train’s windows, though the absence of lights from houses and lamp-posts spoke of the emptiness of the landscape.
Olive picked us up at the station and drove us onto Skye. After almost ten hours of travelling, by bus, tram, plane, train and car, we arrived at the house her grandparents built that’ll be our home for the next few days. After a tour round it, a delicious meal and a catch-up by the fire, we headed to beds already warmed by electric blankets. I soon fell soundly asleep, but not before a quick rendition of my old favourite ticced song “I know where the saw is”. This was for the benefit of the seven saws, which were unexpectedly suspended from the ceiling in our room.
The saws were what I spoke to first when I woke up this morning, greeting them like old friends. Zoë stirred and chuckled in the bed next to mine. Moments later Keith the dog burst in, wet and happy after a walk.
The smell of toast and the sound of chatter drifting in from the other room is enticing me away from my writing, so for now I’ll sign off and say goodbye to you, and to the saws.