The kinder face of the North

The ups and downs of today have left me reflecting on the up sides of living in the deep north. I’m mostly over the sore throad and all that, but I haven’t a lot of energy. Fortunately, the first week of term herebouts is a sort of Phony War, because first and second year seminar teaching doesn’t kick in till week 2, at which point my commitments more than double. Anyway, I shambled onto campus to be hailed by a passing colleague and given a beautiful — indeed, valuable — painting, which isn’t a bad start by any standards. The painting is by said colleague’s father, who is a very well regarded professional painter, mostly of Scottish landscapes, and was by way of being a very graceful thankyou to the N. Prof for writing a catalogue essay. It’s mostly a huge open sky with Torridon seen from a great distance, and it’s lovely. Then I went and gave a lecture, which uniquely in my experience was met with a round of applause — they were first years and this is their second day, so doubtless this enthusiasm will go the way of the gilt on the gingerbread by the end of the week. I bunked for home early, having had about as much day as I felt able to cope with, and discovered at the bus stop that I no longer had my wallet. O the joy. But I did have enough change to get myself a single back to the country. Meanwhile, I rang home and alerted the Prof, who rang my department to send a secretary up to see if I’d accidentally left it in my room, but by the time he came to meet me an hour later, not only had the secretaries drawn a blank, but the wallet itself had been handed into Turriff police station. Reconstructing, I must have lost it on the bus, where some honest soul spotted it, the driver recalled where I had got on (about 6 of the cards in it have a photograph), and sent it back to its town of origin with the next bus out. Hopefully, by next week I will be less dozy, but it’s an encouraging reminder that life here is in essentials on a very human scale.

3 Responses to “The kinder face of the North”

  1. Jill Says:

    Term begins and inevitably ends as you so encouraged us in an earlier blog using the moving walk way motif. Yes, there is no getting around the stress and strains of term. However, your account of the lost wallet caper has the potential to put a little jig into your jog as you roll along on the journey. Thank you for affirming that decency can and does prevail.

  2. The Man From Maryport Says:

    Congratulations on the applause of the jury. And on the landscape of Torridon, absolutely the finest part of the Highlands . . .

  3. Eleanor Says:

    I agree with The Man from Maryport and hope I get a chance to see that painting some day!

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