Miss, I saw you capsize in your canoe!

18th July 1997 at 01:00
Miss, look oot the windae, it's pissin' wi' rain an' Kevin's chucked his folder oot the windae."

"Kevin!"

"Aw, Miss, dinnae shout!"

I console myself . . . The rivers will be running this weekend.

My romantic streak drew me to the island. Now I look out of the window to hills that are scraped down to bare rock, and so much water that I fear we'll sink if a bath overflows.

"Miss, please Miss, look out the window, the water's jumping out the puddles. "

I have my own version of the Beaufort scale: * Surf's up but it's windy. Sheep are huddling behind the rocks.

* Surf's up but it's too windy. Impossible to lift boat onto roof.

* Surf's up but it's far too bloody windy. Water is jumping out of the puddles.

During the night, the eye of the storm approaches. No one else is surfing today. They're either busy or they're going for a "proper paddle" as they put it.

Today I go solo. There's a new boat to play with. I stuff my face, nervously, on the way to the beach, and jump about like a wind-up toy on the machair.

This local play spot is an endless sweep of white sand backed by high, grassy dunes. Occasionally, someone walks on the beach - but not today. My only companions are the cows chewing lazily on the machair.

Small, steep waves roll onto the white sand, and already the reassuring rhythm of the break is calming me. The sky is as watery as the sea and the sun is fuzzy, like looking at a peach underwater.

I find that I can fly over the break in my new boat. Only I land with an ungraceful thump on the back of the wave.

"Yahoo!" I strip the willow, spinning and running before the wave. The reel is rhythmic and infectious. Rain pitter-patters on the surface, the break crashes, the foam hisses and the sand whistles lightly, like the wind. A tractor throbs on the machair.

My solo's over, it was a bit clumsy today. There's no flow to my choreography. It's haphazard. The water is now collecting behind my nose. I wonder about the physiology of an adrenalin junky.

It's Monday morning. "Miss, please Miss, I saw you in your canoe when I was on the machair with the tractor. And Miss, you capsized!"

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now