We would often overhear the old woman on reception telling a caller that they were full tonight; see couples drift back into the darkness, hungry and disappointed at the ‘No tables – Sorry!‘ sign in the window.
Yet, within a dimly lit alcove, one table would remain untaken. A single place setting, one glass; a carafe of house red breathing gently in the glow of a melting candle; a single white rose.
I didn’t know the owner’s story, whether he was married, or had kids. Not sure if anybody knew why the table was always left empty – just never seemed our place to ask.
‘Back again, Mr McDonald?’ said the Laird of Glen Vorlich Estate.
‘I am that, Hughie,’ said Mr McDonald.
The Laird stroked his rambling, red beard. The dawn breeze buffeted his kilt. A piercing whistle saw a black and white Collie spring suddenly to his side. He nodded and smiled a gentle smile before man and dog turned and disappeared once more into the lochside mists.
Mr McDonald focused his eyes back upon the waters of Loch Corran. The heavy grey clouds rolling down from Ben Machar looked ominous. Droplets of heather-scented rain began to run down his cheeks.
He wasn’t leaving though – not until he had a photo. Only then would they believe him.
On the day that Farage does a deal with a far-right, racist Holocaust-denier to save UKIP’s EU funding, Stewart McDonaldlooks at what’s behind his latest statements.
“KEEP HIV POSITIVE MIGRANTS OUT OF BRITAIN, SAYS FARAGE”. That is the headline that screeched across Friday’s edition of The Guardian. Mr Farage made his remarks in an interview with Newsweek Europe when asked what sort of people should be allowed to migrate to the UK. He said: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”
Many people have rightly condemned these remarks. As well as branding the remarks outrageous, medieval and barrel scraping, Mr Farage has also been branded ignorant on the issue of HIV in the modern world. Whilst at best this may be the case I, for one, am not wholly convinced. Nigel Farage is a dangerous man and those of…
We’d watch from the top of Miller’s Rise as the village fleet headed for home. Through the choppy waves west of St Madigan’s Point they’d race the trailing gulls, and each other, back to the safe embrace of the harbour.
From each vessel colourful flags would flutter. On board tired, but happy, crews would share a joke and a song as their catch was iced and readied for market. Father won the race more days than not: the Mary Jane was the leader of the fleet – her engines would whine as my father and uncle steered her clear of the rest.
One day I hoped I’d be the one leading the fleet home.
These summers the harbour in Dunavan lies almost empty. Giggling children search for tiny harbour crabs as father takes the Mary Jane, and it’s crew of holiday fishermen, out beyond St Madigan’s Point. On their return, boisterous tales of ‘the ones that got away‘ echo long into the night within the warming snug of the Red Anchor.
From the top of Miller’s Rise today I watch with my own boy, as calm seas shimmer in the orange evening haze. The race for home nothing but a memory of childhood; a memory of a time lost for the fisherman and families of Dunavan.