Supplementary – Glasgow Print Studio.

Weather: Rain, rain rain to Fort William. Beautiful sunshine and hot summer days

Monday 11.45 ferry – since arriving in Uist ( February 2019) this is only my second journey off the Island. I stood on the Deck, as the boat departed on this misty moist day – John was (as is his want) documenting the ferry departure and I waved furiously inorder to be in his shot. The ferry is a great part of the journey to and from Uist and offers a fabulous cooked breakfast/lunch and a variety of snacks. On this occasion, I had the cup of grapes and a coffee – I munched through these, had a wander around the boat, and then settled in the viewing lounge where I had a little nap. I was woken by boat murmurings as the ferry made to dock on shore at Uig. I was bussing it to Glasgow to visit my daughter Abigale Neate-Wilson. We had a couple of days set aside to make some photopolymer etching plates and prints in Glasgow Print Studio.

On arriving in Uig I had 45 mins to wait for the bus so stopped off at The Sheiling & Ella’s Cafe opposite the petrol station at Uig and had a delicious soup – Sweet potato, coconut and tomato. I then boarded the bus, and although I did not get the front seat (as John had suggested) I did sit in an adequate seat and a woman (who had befriended me at the bus stop) – June from Inverness sat in the parallel seat on the other side of the aisle. June and I had pleasant chats – until she left the bus just before the Fort William stop – for her connection.  June travels to Uist every year and spends time with friends in Grimsay. She left the Island early this year to visit her daughter in Canada. June thought I might get better views if I sat in her seat which was on the near side of the bus – so when she left I moved all my bags over and sat in her seat.

At this point, I should describe the weather – which had been torrential rain all the way; wet and humid. In my new seat, there was a smell. It was a sickly, pervasive stench that had a vaguely human body tone to it. I was uncomfortable because of this odour and started to sniff my stuff (was it me?). I could not detect its source – I smelt my coat, my bags and even wondered if my cats had sprayed on my luggage or something. I continued to try to settle in this ‘new seat’ and then felt a little dig in my side… (The passenger behind me had decided to put his legs up and had squeezed his foot around the side of my chair.) The ‘smell’ became unbearable to gagging point and yes it was him! He was wearing light canvas shoes, which had obviously become soaked in the rain and quite clearly he suffered from the most appalling foot odour!!

I very quickly gathered all my stuff up again and moved to another seat – I had four more hours to travel and his feet were unbearable. My advice to anyone with problems with foot odour – do not even think about buying canvas shoes, however comfortable they might look.

My bus journey was tolerable thereafter, and I arrived at Glasgow bus station at 10.30 pm and from here I took a taxi to my girl’s Abi flat. She rents a gorgeous place in the South side, which she shares with her lovely partner Chris. I felt very welcomed, and after a cup of tea and a chat I retired. We had a busy few days ahead planned.

As a mother, I love travelling to visit my daughters (I have two) in their adult lives, it gives me great pleasure. I try never to stay longer than 3 nights and this seems to be a good cut off point for all concerned.

Tuesday morning 6.30a – I always wake early, so brought Abi (my daughter) a cup of tea. We had planned for an induction at the print studio and to undertake a fair amount of work. I had already prepared my photographic images for the photopolymer process.

The day was gorgeous – hot. Print studios are always industrious and today everyone there worked up a sweat. Abi and I have a history of printmaking together and thoroughly enjoyed the day – making great prints (which even got the attention of the other printmakers). We completed in a day that we had anticipated would take two. We were very pleased, as now we could spend the following day going to galleries and swimming. That night we had a light dinner at the Bell Jar. The following Day we went to The Modern Institute  and MOMA IN GLASGOW and then took the train to GOUROCK outdoor pool – another fabulous day with reasonable weather! Quality time spent with my younger daughter. Abi’s partner Chris made us a lovely dinner that night and we all retired early.

Thursday 4.30 am– I woke (my bus was leaving at 6.50 am). I made tea, had a shower and packed. I was a little early, but going back to sleep was not an option. My daughter booked me an Uber cab – so convenient… the ease of the digital era and no exchange of money. Transactions of all kinds can be sorted in a seemingly hassle free manner … although they are always trackable!

Bus, seat – fine. I pretty much slept all the way to Fort-William. On the journey to Glasgow the bus stopped at Fort-William for an hour (for lunch) and I presumed it would be the same for the way back. There is a big Morrison’s here so I leisurely wandered around the supermarket (there is not this kind of choice in Uist) for 20 minutes. I went back to the bus stop – the bus was not there. I did not stress too much, even though I had left all my things ( phone, computer, artwork, clothes etc.) on the bus… this is what we had all done on the way to Glasgow. The bus driver had probably gone for fuel. 50 minutes later still no bus, so I decided to ask someone.

“Och nee it is a 10 minute break – the bus has been and gone.”

OMG all my things – my Phone and money what was I to do? – also only one ferry that day which that bus was meeting.

The conductor pointed to a telephone box. I had to beg a passer by for some change (by this time I was crying). The first person refused and the second person, a man – lent me his phone (luckily I remembered John’s phone number, although only managed to leave a message). This lovely man, who worked on the meat counter in Morrison’s also gave me all the change he had in his pocket (£3.70) so I could get a cup of tea. I felt destitute.

image courtesy of Neil Davidson

I spent this money wisely – I had a three hour wait for my next bus. I was going to miss the only ferry on this day and I did still need to contact John. The conductor had assured me that they would try and return my belongings en route. I bought the Guardian and read the devastating news about the Boris disaster. I finally managed to contact John (who took the necessary steps to ensure I was not stranded in Uig) and the new bus driver picked up my missing luggage ‘en route’ from another bus – (everything was returned). It was an eventful journey. I arrived in Uig to meet John from the ferry – coming from Uist with our tent! We both camped in Uig at the camp site and then returned to Uist on Friday on the 9.30am ferry. We shared a delicious cooked breakfast which included the famous ‘Stornaway black pudding’. It was a gorgeous day so we sat outside on the deck chatting. It took me only 16 hours to get back. I was very pleased to be back- Hurray!

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