(First posted 2nd Feb 2014)
I grew up on the Isle of Lewis, and so Sundays were a day where not much was supposed to happen. There were no shops open and you weren’t supposed to play in the swing park. I loved Sunday’s until I was about 13. They were the best day. My Dad and brother and I would have adventures, sometimes mum would even come too. We would get in the car, no matter what the weather, and we would go somewhere exciting like the West Side, or Tolsta, or Point, or Ness, or sometimes even Harris.If it was raining then we would wear wellies and big wooly jumpers underneath massive waterproof jackets, the kind with draw strings that you pulled tight under your chin. If it was really sunny we would wear loose fitting tshirts and shorts, because we would be pulling them off to go for a swim in the swimming clothes we wore underneath. If it was raining then it would usually be windy, and to this day I can think of few things as satisfying as the salty buzz on your skin as the sea spray hits your face. The way your cheeks would turn into tomatoes, and your slevers would taste like saline. We would collect things too, in our pockets. I had a shell pocket and a stone pocket in one of my sky blue anoraks. Both pockets had a lot of sand in them too. My brother used to collect things in his jumper, and then get distracted by a ball or a dog and drop them all absentmindedly. He and my dad would chase me down the beach with massive stalks of seaweed, and I’d get fed up and throw myself down in a huff, running sand through my fingers until I found a pretty shell that would cheer me up again. I was a moody child. After we came home from the beach on a rainy day we would get our jammies on and play Tomb Raider or Worms or Earth Worm Jim and eat hot soup and plain loaf. We would watch the Antiques Roadshow or Dad’s Army with our dinner, and then I would go for a bath to get ready for school the next day.
On sunny days we would have to do the awkward “getting changed behind the car door so nobody can see you” dance, I did this until I was about 9 when I decided that I was not getting dressed outside and either I would just not go in the sea or Dad would have to put up with wet seats. My Dad was always more keen for me to have fun than to have dry seats, so he let me go in the water as long as I sat on a towel on the way home. I remember the scratchy feeling of sand on the back of my legs as they rubbed against the towel for the whole journey home. As soon as I got home I was the first person in the bathroom, and if I was not then I would make a massive fuss because I was soooooooooo uncomfy. Sometimes when we were at the beach we would make exciting discoveries, like dead animals. We saw dead sheep, dead birds, dead porpoises, and even once a dead cat. Once my brother found a dead starfish and he kept it under his pillow for weeks. Other beach discoveries included things like rope and fishing line, which I would sometimes put in my bag and carry around with me in case of emergencies. Occasionally we would see shoes, and I would worry there was still a foot inside. Dad always checked for me, and there never was. Sometimes at the beach we would bring salt in hope that we could tease out a razor fish, but we never managed. In retrospect I am quite glad, poor wee razor fish.
Sometimes on Sundays we would go to the castle grounds instead of the beach. We went there most days after we got our dog Tess in 1999, but before then it was a treat. We would pretend we were going to visit Winnie the Pooh and we would sing songs about going on a bear hunt. We would climb up big hills and down long paths, and we would tell stories about everything and nothing. Sometimes we would go to the harbour, and because it was Sunday the fishermen would be away and would have left loads of fish lying at the side of the pier. We thought this was a waste of the poor wee fishes so we would throw them back in the water where they belonged. Usually there was a hungry seal waiting near by. One of the seals only had one eye and we called him Sammy.
I loved going on adventures with my Dad. To be honest, I still do