Gunshot sky rumbles over the peatland. An island of bog surrounded by birch and scots pine, a remnant of what was once. Bits of Rannoch Moor here in miniature if you get down at its level and peer closely- sundew, bog asphodel, bog cotton. It survives, marooned, raised up around oceans of barley lapping on its shore. It is only a handful of miles as the crow flies to my house on the shore, where peat kinks away to loam and crumbles into the sea.
A morning with friends from the village at Teasses estate on a floristry workshop which involved being allowed to pick as many flowers from the walled garden as we could carry, after which some of us expertly made bouquets in the orangery. We kept asking if we could have one of these, or those to which the reply was of course, take what you want. And we left like naughty children giggling, with armfuls of blooms together with paper bags full of ripe, sweet plums and figs. Braw.
There are numerous small engineering workshops at the harbour, manufacturing and repairing parts for the fishing boats.
Voices come soft and angled in a way not from my everyday. A form of Doric, this Scots language is unique to the landscape of the north east . I overhear the word ‘quine’ and my heart skips, am greeted with ‘Fit like ?’ My tongue silently forms the words as I seek to find the answer – ‘I’m well, thank you’, I say, here at this point on the coast, where to this day lies the remains of a telegraph cable that brought the first news to Britain of the Russian revolution in 1917. It came ashore here, a migrant message from the east. A man tells me he had seen a Peterhead boat off the coast of Namibia. The world comes home to Peterhead, God willing, to this small east coast town, the Blu toon, on account of their sailors blue knitted socks that identified them from Peterhead as sure as the greeting, ‘Fit like ?’ to a stranger walking. In the cafe I meet Sheila and Anna. Anna tells me of a family connection, a mothers cousin in Pittenweem . Sheila says I should visit her uncle who is an artist in the town. The next moment she is on the phone, telling him she has a new friend for him, an artist and I am invited to visit. I have a lovely chat with Ken about where I should go and look. I ask him what is the best thing about the town and he says ‘The people, it has always welcomed folk from all over.’ I too was so welcomed that day, thank you for your kindness. I think Peterheid will be a special place to work.