Thursday, May 01, 2008

Eriskay Escapades

my family and I went to Eriskay for a few days. it wasn't for a holiday or a little break away. instead it was to bury my mother's brother, Ken. you may have read that he was already cremated in melbourne, Australia, but he wanted to be buried in Eriskay where he grew up. why choose between cremation and burial when you can have both! Ken wasn't the biggest of guys but even transporting a small coffin is a lot more difficult than transporting a casket of ashes. i thought his ashes were going to be scattered, but the plan was to bury them.

before setting off, to the outer hebrides, we were joking that we had better take the correct casket, as our cat Raku's ashes still haven't been scattered by my sister.

the pic above shows the cemetery in the centre of the image, which is incredibly close to the ocean. the plot where Ken was finally laid to rest, was only about 1ft x 2ft x 2ft deep. what i found very interesting was the presence of little seashells underneath the turf. there was even a larger limpet shell. the beach has really white sand, and looked very summery. the sun was shining, but the wind blowing off the atlantic made it a wee bit nippy. when i was in Oz a couple of year's back a tour guide mentioned that he'd been to Barra and being an Aussie had his bodyboard with him. he told how he'd been fooled by the sand and blue waters, joking that he almost caught hypothermia.

when travelling up, we went to Barra first ( staying overnight there also). it is a 5 hour ferry journey from Oban. my folks are from there so we saw some relatives including my uncle (father's brother) who is gravely ill with cancer. we had been visiting him when he was staying in the hospital in Glasgow, but he seems a little better on home turf, regaining some mobility instead of wasting away in a hospital bed.

it was a strange few days, a whistlewind tour of the western isles. Eriskay and Uist are connected now by a causeway. previously you had to get the boat, or ferry. don't know when i'll be going back up again, hopefully when it's a little warmer.