Being on the water is the ultimate, just observing the many sights one sees in nature, whether it be a line of cormorants or squid eggs on the creel,
but the balance is working at the Inn which constantly throws up surprise after surprise. You turn up in whatever mood (and yes sometimes it is a shift you just want to get through) and if it is not a particularly good mood these are the ones that are turned round when you meet people. These last three weeks there has been a stream of fascinating encounters with the various guests of the Inn. Alex,
the young chap from Essex with the Aussie accent, who has decided to walk round the Coast of Britain and Ireland, including all the western isles to raise monies for the RNLI. He so far has raised over £40,000 and is now going down the east coast on his way home. He was struggling a bit with carrying his pack due to back problems but is still under way as far as I know.
Then there are the growing numbers of people who come in the door and call me by name. I have to ask a few questions now to place them and promise to try to remember names…almost impossible as there are so many repeat customers. Trying to use tags does not always work as I have remembered a couple’s dog called Archie, she is a GP in Gorgie and he is press officer for RNLI…but can I remember their names. Events manager at SEC, architects from Glasgow, accountants from Elgin and a few more dogs called Archie are all coming in. Tonight it was the vets from Springholm and eventually managed to remember the last conversation with them, which I thought was not bad considering they were last here four years ago. Sometimes names do not matter, the four from Minnesota who were in this week were great craic and had a fine night and a drink with them. For them, me borrowing a baseball cap with the logo, “Make Applecross Great Again” coined by Tom and Aron just cracked them up. You find that you have to put Americans at ease, certainly the ones I come across, when we briefly discuss politics. They are at one both embarrassed, unbelieving and to a great extent scared about their new leader and wonder how it has happened. A very general statement but the American citizens who travel tend to have more open, liberal and democratic bent to their views. It is shaping up to be a very interesting summer as already I am being asked for views on Brexit and Independence.
Some you make a connection with that is completely out of the blue. Another group of Americans, this time an L.A. based five, four of whom are TV writers and an actor. They made their way round Applecross, while staying at Eagle Rock and, according to them, were met with what they called incredible kindness where eve they went and even included Dougal, the Applecross I want to know and do. Had a couple of drinks with these people and there is a great exchange of interest in each other’s lives.
They were very interested in the how the Community operates and were hugely interested in the community ventures and struggles and barriers we still have to break down. You could tell that this group were touched by the genuine spirit of Applecross and they are coming back with AK insisting on a day out on the Varuna. As she has done some crabbing on Chesapeake Bay I think she will have no problem in dealing with a day on board.
On thursday evening, it being slightly quieter, noticing that there was a gentleman sitting quietly at table 7 on his own and with his golden retriever, I sat down to have a wee chat. He was staying in room 3 and a rule learned from the Boss Lady is no-one is left out. Many people want to be left in solitude or if there is a couple but you pick up that very quickly and that is part of the deal. However in this case I struck gold. Turns out he was from Harrogate, names exchanged his being John, I found out he is an investor in our Community Hydro Scheme. Incidentally the Turbine House has been beautifully clad
with sustainably cut larch and is looking good. Back to John, a regular visitor and so very supportive of the Community ventures but realistic of the challenges, he was 40 years in the RAF, straight from school and travelled round the world through this occupation. His wife had died eight years ago and he had bought his dog, Poppy, as company. This snippet as well as our wee chat about what a mess we seem to make when we intervene in other people’s countries, in particular the Middle East. Then he casually commented that his wife had danced with Colonel Gaddafi and it was a running joke between them that the Colonel never recovered and went down hill from then on. The late arrival, originally from Ardnamurchan, but spent a bit of time in Sheildaig due to his Mum being nurse there for a time in the eighties, completed an evening that otherwise would be spent watching Netflix, dozing on the couch. The memories from Shiedaig were fun as names were dredged up like “Biter” and being pushed off the pier when he was too cheeky by a fisherman. He couldn’t swim but he was told to stand up and he realised he was in waist deep water. Think I may know the name of the fisherman but better keep that to myself just in case. Then a message comes through from Deep South. A small film crew, claiming not to be in the Bear Grylls category, but interested in wild/adventure activities were put in touch and seem to be coming up this week. Weather not looking so hot but Wednesday seems to be slightly better. Of course being the Applecross Inn the next conversation I have is with a camera woman who is going out to Panama to work with……Bear Grylls. You could not invent the Applecross Inn as you would not believe it.