John (Maclean) looked rather horrified when he saw the amount of luggage I had on arrival. I have a very small eco car but none the less it was loaded almost to the roof. The astonishing thing was that when we transferred it into John’s commodious estate car, his car was full too. Once at the croft, the luggage was spread about by wheelbarrow and a not insubstantial holdall arrived in my sleeping quarters, the Shepherds Hut. When packing, fashion was the last thing on my mind, something I might have been wise to think more about, as Iona seems full of well dressed people and John, the best dressed crofter I have ever seen. But I was only thinking of warmth and heeding son John’s advice had already paid a visit to Uniqlo when last in Oxford Street. Having invested in a selection of underclothes, or, what I now believe are called base layers in the mountaineering shops of Fort William, I then only have to think about the number of subsequent layers I apply.
After two layers of thermal basewear I then have a small selection of worn out cashmere jerseys, worn either like another base layer, or in this case, mid layer or tee-shirt or, as today, as a scarf around my neck. (Amazing how a warm neck makes you feel cosy.)
The star piece is…..another jersey; this time bought last Saturday in the Iona jumble sale for £2 and a fine piece of Seville Row menswear. I suppose it is called the Boyfriend look, or rather, too large but given that I am not insubstantial, it is either far too big or flatteringly covering a multitude of sins. Anyway, it is extremely warm and I feel mildly guilty that it is becoming somewhat paint soaked. The next option is a Lidls gillet I bought for son John when working for a highland building firm last year. It is horrible but very WARM and with a hood, keeps my ears warm when on the beach. And on top of that I have my raincoat and water proof gardening trousers. If you see Michelin Man walking round Iona, stop and take a closer look, you never know, it might be me.