on the shores of loch long

on the shores of loch long
Posted 7 July 2011 by Clare Wigfall

Oh, my time here at Cove Park has gone too fast.  It's been such a productive week, in so many ways - amazing how much I've got done, and amazing to have space to just think, but very quickly I became super-conscious of the countdown of my days.  So much so that I had to make a little chart to keep a handle of how much time I had left:

count down chart

The boxes are now all filled up!

On Wednesday though, when the days were still stretching ahead of me, I took a walk down to the loch and spent a happy hour in the sun scouring the shore.  I grew really fascinated by the traces of human life that had been washed up on the pebbles. Somehow I couldn't help imagining where all these things might have come from.  The abandoned water-logged shoe.  A blue plastic comb up-ended in scraggy twigs and leaves.  A rusty piece of metal joist that looked almost organic in its decay.  And so many pieces of crockery, the edges washed smooth, their Willow Pattern still brightly blue. 

Imagine all the dinners that were once served upon those delicately-patterned dinner plates, now lying in pieces on the shores of a Scottish loch.  Jen, the poet staying here, tells me that in the Shetlands they have a name for these washed-up crockery pieces - laem, she says they're called (pronounced lim - it's made me want to look up some more Shetlands words).  I collected lots of these little ceramic pieces in my pockets.  Maybe it's inspiration drawn via osmosis through the walls of my cube from the ceramicist and jeweller on either side of me, but I'm inspired to take them home to make into pieces of jewellery maybe.

Anyway, here are a few photos from the shore:

loch shoe

loch blue glove

loch rusty metal

loch comb

loch dinner plate

loch orange blob 1

(this looks like a weird crab, but on closer inspection I worked out that it was a pile of synthetic rope that must have caught on fire and puddled in the centre - the heart of it was kind of gross and vomit-like, but I liked the long orange tendrils)

loch golf caddy

When I saw this disintegrating golf bag, I was reminded suddenly of the opening to Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, a book I haven't read since university but which I loved intensely.  Told in four sections, the story centres around a character called Caddy, and its opening plays with the similarity between her name and an overheard call for a golf caddie.  

I think part of my fondness for the book stems from reading a comment Faulkner made about Caddy.  'To me she was the beautiful one,' he wrote, 'she was my heart's darling.'  Witnessing this affection, you can't help but love Caddy too.  How amazing though, to be so in love with a character of your own creation.

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