No matter how much you expect the expected it is side swipes you a little. After all the excitement of the last couple of days, I impress myself and up early to set out to sea. Phone rings and it all changes, Catriona from An Arcasaid, is telling me my 96-year-old mum has passed away peacefully early this morning in the company of two carers. She was beautifully cared for to the end and the circle of her life is now complete. The best way to describe her was as an almost compulsive carer and it was fitting she was seen off in similar company. Throughout my teenage years my mum nursed her mother, two aunts and an uncle to their ends. Before it was her father in the fifties and since then I know of families in Kyle grateful of her nursing skills. An old and common Highland tradition still alive and well as it was my mum’s turn to be looked after in her later years. Obviously more formalised at the Care Home, but equally well-loved and looked after. She was proud of being a Queen’s nurse and whoever she was in the ward she lost no time in telling the nurses looking after her that she too was a nurse.
The next day and a half has been filled with mayhem at the Inn, trying to carry out the duties in seeing off my mum in a dignified way, dealing with the flood of memories when you go to say cheerio and take a couple of photos from her room, now so quiet. All seems to be going like clockwork, making it over to Broadford, meeting Iain, and so far not coming across any obstacles. Made it back and was in plenty time for the mayhem and you focused on what was coming your way, waves and waves of people who were hungry and wanted food. Felt a little submerged towards the end as one or two were getting slightly grumpy at having to wait for their tables. This despite being reassured that they would be fed. The only casualties were the two girls who were drinking for a couple of hours outside and then decided to order food after the kitchen had been closed for half an hour. Little sympathy from the five members of staff they tried to order food from. How far does one go to accommodate. Not an essential service and it really needs two-way involvement to make it work for any one. Little hiccup for one table as an order was eaten by the new computer. Resulted in a staff member being chased out of the kitchen…….oh the stress. Every now and again some one came up to me and offered condolences. A life ended and life goes on, a strange mix to deal with. Some good conversation at the end of the evening in the peace and quiet of the aftermath.
This morning, back on the phone, and major gold mine discovery of marriage certs, birth certs, marriage banns, telegrams, triggering lots of memories, then off to work..or to the Inn at least. Through contacts, made it to a minister, and put the internment a step closer. Felt so strange serving so many people, hearing the music and then arranging a funeral just out of the sounds of every day enjoyment. Still lots of political chat going on and the belief we are on the road. So many people visiting from across the world are genuinely interested and even excited about what is happening here. Land reform and ownership is a hot topic. Is it possible for one country to keep another one but only to one country’s advantage and expect things just to continue as before? So the afternoon goes on and Judith is able to deal with the Michelin Guide inspector and everything continues. He left impressed. Gets a little hairy for a while and the odd small chips gets left out. But the compliments keep flowing in from the Belgians, French, Americans and even from Sri Lankans.
The evening was slightly quieter and I was allowed to go home to continue to put a couple of more pieces into place for Wednesday. Still depends on a couple of things slotting in. As per usual one drifts back into the past and taking the dogs out think how different I live my life from my parents. I scrap, argue believe in different ways of doing stuff, have less respect for establishment but probably all based on my upbringing. Just manifests in a different way. The main difference is not having the unquestioning faith in the ultimate truth and trying to pass it on to the next generation. Still from a distance the only regrets I have is the inevitable pain I caused during my mild teenage rebellion. Now enjoy the insights my upbringing has given me to a way of life too often ridiculed as from another age. The passing of an era causes turbulence to anyone close to that passing. Sleep well tonight, I think so is my mum.