Different inks from different pens - twenty or thirty pages of notes taken a year ago almost to the day. It's a chronicle, a diary, a journal of a small adventure, a road trip throughout the highlands - from south to north and from east to west and back east again. It starts with a night in the great hall at Tullibole and finishes somewhere along the A9, heading south.
I was diligent in keeping notes and narrative. Every night before bed, every spare moment I updated. I lost pen after pen. I don't think any entry is in the same ink as the one prior. The routine grew on me. The questions of the day settled by chronicling them. Sleep never eluded me on that trip, though it was a strange and different bed every night.
The plan was to clean it up. Type everything up, flesh it out, give it some reflection, then shop it.
Instead it sits among my pile of the unwritten. I read it now and I'm surprised at how much I've forgotten. It needs work. It sits there and I feel urgency and trepidation in turn.
Sunday sees another road trip, to even more remote corners of the north, to Scotland's empty quarter above Ullapool. Gnarled coast and tiny roads await, as does my notebook. Perhaps this new adventure will stir the memories of the old one. Perhaps.
I hope so. The pile of unwritten is growing, and there's too much overdue.
The bar's quiet - a bunch of drunks, Scots and Yorkshiremen, sit on the couches and mutter gibberish. I can't even be bothered to eavesdrop. We've shut the doors to keep the cold out. The tide's receded and there's little sound from the sea. The boom of distant fireworks thud and echo every few minutes. It is the fifth after all - remember, remember and all that.
Only yesterday the car swerved along the wee highland roads like a roller-coaster, surrounded by the autumn's silent fireworks, vibrant in defiance of the dreich, overcast skies. We pulled over and wandered through the woods, following trails and half-trails towards a lazy stretch of river. Small adventures are better than no adventures, and this seemed perfect for a brisk November Sunday.
Afterwards the fire popped and the soft scent of wood smoke drifted throughout the pub. The food and beer warmed our bellies. We chatted in quiet, happy tones, planning new adventures.
Monday comes first though, and the rest of them. And sometimes a quiet bar with loud, irrelevant drunks isn't a bad thing.