This week has been the hardest. No longer the novelty of the subject and the environment grip me with the newness, excitement and exploration, this week has been much more about the day to day and maintaining a positive outlook, despite occasional mishaps.
Having found a subject and time to only superficially explore one, I am committed and of course that goes with second thoughts and worries that the choice might have been better or different. So maintaining a committment is a challenge in itself.
Living in a hostel where the plumbing is a hundred and fifty yards from your sleeping accommodation is another and sharing a living space with a very few others who have chosen Iona in November, is a third. Everyone who arrives makes a joke about being a nutter to come here at this time of year and of course they include themselves. I have spent some lovely evenings talking to complete strangers but that is no novelty as we run Ard Daraich where we welcome visitors in the summer. But there is an intensity amongst individuals here which throws you back onto yourself and makes you reflect on how you are in the world of others.
Of course all this is magnified by the weather. I was extremely lucky to have arrived here to two dry weeks of warm weather where the biggest inconvenience was the wind. With a specially bought packet of extra strong drawing pins I was equipped to deal with that. The first setback occurred when I became over-confident about working on the beach. I carried my paper, set out about eight sheets all secured with stones to keep them in place, and then started work. I was aware of a gathering black cloudscape but thought I would continue. Of course it started to drizzle and stacking them, one of top the next, all wet and with no time to dry, I started the arduous task of getting them under cover. Having too much to carry, I made two journeys and on getting them back through what became a downpour, unpinned the paper to discover that there was no colour left. Yesterday, four days later, I can still see the paint staining the white sand where they were, propped against a log with enough time to be completely rinse them of any paint.