Saturday, September 6, 2014

One Year Later

This is the one year anniversary of one of the most momentous and fateful weeks of my life.

On Tuesday, the 27th of August 2013, I submitted my dissertation. On Saturday the 31st, I took the surveys Gus and I had filled out in November to the Gordon Highlanders Museum; on the afternoon of Tuesday the 3rd of September, I was back at the Museum, meeting with the curator. That meeting would eventually lead to a mission to document the Orcadian Gordon Highlanders of the First World War.

I spent the next week and a half settling my affairs in Aberdeen, and then on Friday, September 6th, I stowed half of my stuff in a friend's basement and took the rest of it onto a train. The first, far too early leg took me from Aberdeen to Inverness; the second took me to Thurso, at which point I made the ill-advised trek, on foot, from Thurso to Scrabster.

The next day, I went for a bit of a stroll through Stromness, and ended up sitting on a bench and snapping a picture. I just sat there - me, the guy who's always in a rush to be productive. I sat there for at least an hour, drinking the wind and feasting upon the beauty of Hamnavoe, Scapa Flow, Graemsay, Hoy, and the Inner and Outer Holms. I reflected on what I'd done over the course of the preceding year, and the work it had taken to get me to Scotland in the first place.

Early the following week, I got to Bournemouth by sea, ground, and air - with a brief stop in my old stomping grounds to meet up with Pockets. I spent two weeks on a close protection course, and then it was back up to Orkney.

That hour in Stromness was amazing. I can't remember ever being that relaxed. One year later, I find myself reflecting once again on my time in Scotland, and what's happened since. Because, y'know... Holy smokes, I spent over a year in Scotland, three months of which was in Orkney, right? I mean, who pulls that off?

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