Blog from the North – Autumn 2021

I am aware that I haven’t written anything lately about Caithness – the Clan Lands – not out
of laziness but because not a lot has been happening on the scene apart from double jabs, boosters
and flu preventions – all necessary but not necessarily jaw-droppingly fascinating.

Skyfall”: The Bond Market | The New Yorker

Mind you, the greatest local excitement at present is that Daniel Craig came to Thurso (not him in person, of course) – the film. Excellent. Extraordinary. Violent. Long. (Three hours). Coming back to Lybster in the dark a large stag ran into our car, doing a lot of damage to the right hand lights and
bonnet but none to either of us. I felt much sorrier for the beast than I did for the car.

Scottish Highland Stag - License, download or print for £6.20 | Photos |  Picfair

No animal should have to meet its end like that – and ironically the film we had just seen is called ‘No Time to Die’. The trouble is that deer have no road sense or any ‘learned’ country sense about vehicles and just rush across roads when they feel like it, whatever traffic is passing, and they are in your headlights before you can take avoiding action.

As a result we have been lent a courtesy car while they bind up the wounds on the Skoda
and we are learning to drive again with a manual controls that we haven’t used for about three years.
The Corsa is very modern with a lot of buttons to press, levers to pull and pedals to operate – and of
course no handbook, it being a hired car which probably lost it ages ago. It sends little messages to
you, inviting you to change gear or check the child locks – all very exciting as you can imagine
when you are our ages! I actually down-loaded the said handbook (to find out how to operate the
lights which I thought was fairly necessary) and found it to have 255 pages. Surely that can’t be

The only other fairly momentous event has been the re-thinking of Tesco. I have to confess
that I am of the opinion that people who plan shops have actually never used them. The ‘refreshing’
as it is termed has left us a place where there is no rhyme or reason for the various aisles leading
one into the other and where someone has decreed that the racks of shelving offering various
commodities – particularly vegetables – are so shaped that when you lean forward it is easy to lose
your balance, particularly if you want something from the very top of the display. The delightful
shelf-filler that I moaned to about it sighed wearily and said I was the 18 th customer that morning
who had vented his/her wrath – and it was only 10 a.m.

It all made me remember an occasion, years ago, when the only deepfreeze compartment

was in the Co-op in Thurso. Here one could obtain a salmon and because we were having a Gathering at Banniskirk House, Iain’s uncle’s then abode, I was despatched to collect the party piece. A very short shop assistant disappeared into the back premises and was away ages. And ages. And ages. Eventually, greatly daring, I followed her and found her jack-knifed over the freezer, quite unable to get back and terrified to move in case she went forward and fell in. Just like “The Mistletoe Bough”.

Stargazing Scotland: 5 Stunning Images Of Scotland's Night Sky

I have to say that even if life in Caithness just ambles on, it is still a great place to live. The night skies are glorious. The leaves are turning and falling and one’s thoughts turn to pruning and bedding down the plants. The clocks changed at the end of October (Spring Forward, Fall Back – so easy to remember-) and then it really feels like winter and with the arrival in the shops of the first swedes (the turnip kind) my neighbour will be able to make her famous broth. Light at the end
of the tunnel!

Photos used from internet – all rights reserved by the artists producing