It’s getting colder they say, and they are right. It is. But, if I were to unmorph myself from the Island and re-morph down south, right now, I would be shucking off my semmet and my woollies and be ‘foofing’ about the heat.
I know, whenever I leave the Island to go somewhere south of it, I stand over my heap of clothes and after considering frock requirements and, oh, shoes to go with said frock, I consider temperature. Apart from the fact that I can manage about 30 minutes inside any mainland shop before melting into an unsavoury puddle, I must think about the street heat and then, oh worst of all, the level to which the central heating is set, which is almost always way up to high – so high I can hardly breathe without seizing up and turning into sandpaper. Windows are usually closed, against pollution, flies, neighbours and, of course, weather.
We have a woodburner and no central heating, but that baby does all the work here, warming upstairs, downstairs and the lady’s chamber, although not too much up there because:
a. its not healthy and
b. The window is slightly shy of the available orifice thus allowing all four winds many opportunities for a knife-sharp entry.
Of course, not all four winds come through at the same time, even if they can on the odd day, as the Island wind changes her mind as frequently as a woman in the make-up department of Fraser’s department store.
The north wind is ‘hard’ black, the south ‘bright’ silver, the east is purple and the west, amber – everyone knows that, especially light-house keepers, as I have learned from the wonderful book Stargazing by Peter Hill.
Lighthouse-keepers………they don’t exist anymore. Now the lights that save our ships from dashing their brains out on sharp-toothed rocks, are worked by someone miles away, electronically, someone who doesn’t need to feel the wind, taste the salt, watch the other lights as dusk falls, become a part of a new adventure every night for weeks on end – someone who would never need the right clothes for such an adventure.
But, back to packing. The things I need to make room for in my travel bag are mostly words, and those receivers of words, such as my little laptop and my notebooks. These are heavy, compared to any bodily flim-flam, but when I weigh my luggage, in my hand, I know that, were I to remove something, it would be in the flim-flam department, and never at the expense of the words I have chosen to keep.
These words can be, and often are, half-inched from wiser mouths than my own. I have absolutely no problem with that. I don’t consider it stealing, more the recognition of another’s starry brilliance. I learn from them, use them in part, or in the whole, as a part of something I want to put into either my own mouth, or the mouth of a character in a story. They are more precious to me than gold, than frocks, than the right apparel for any given occasion.
So, if I arrive in the wrong shoes but with the right words in my mouth/suitcase/head, then who will notice?