Covid chronicles: Coconut magic

Richard Lutz reports on life in lockdown.





Strathcarrick, on the Scottish west coast, is actually split in two: There’s Upper Strathcarrick and Lower Strathcarrick. Upper is actually down by the shoreline. Lower is higher up on the hill. Go figure.

One remarkable difference is that Upper (down by the shore) this time of year is suffused, actually bathed, in the heavy, seductive perfume of coconut. This is because of the acres of yellow flowered gorse that carpets the headlands. Stick your nose in its prickly branches (and beware, they are very prickly) and you might as well be on a South Pacific island, or at least on a Med beach with thousands swathed in factor 34 cocoa butter sunscreen.

Above is a picture  of the gorselands as it looks west to a golden sky near Fort Strathcarrick, now a round headland which once housed a redoubtable Iron Age stronghold.  Maybe the old clans planted the gorse to seduce the unwanted to smash their boats on the rocky Strathcarrick coast. Yes…..well…. maybe not.

Blessed with this spring scent of coconuts, I make my volunteer lockdown delivery rounds, mostly in Lower Strathcarrick. And I do this with the full knowledge that I have finally been allowed to use the locked gate between the McDairmid enclave and the Ross family.

Usually I had to drop the groceries to Granny McDairmid on her ‘wee house’ deck and walk right around to deliver to the Ross Empire. The mystery gate remained locked. “It doesn’t get used,” was the simple comment when I innocently asked. Over at the Ross household, it was more succinct. “They put it up. Not us”.

But recently, there was a sea change. Maybe it was the essence of gorse that lightened the air. The gate is now accessible. As long as I securely bolt it once I return to the McDairmid side of things, I was told. It must remain locked. “Good fences make good neighbours,’ poet Robert Forst wrote. I’ll leave it at that.

Over to Mr Joyce. He is not well and would like a litre of green top milk per diem. Now, that’s a lot, especially to carry. I deliver it. Mrs J greets me at the door and signifies that she’ll let Paul the shopkeeper know when milk is really needed. That’s the final decision.

The next morning, Mr J is at the door. Two bottles of wine are graciously handed to me. I firmly believe it is better to give than to receive. So, I accommodate Mr Joyce’s happy gesture. And hope he feels better of the world by offering me the two bottles. And fine reds they are, too.

2 thoughts on “Covid chronicles: Coconut magic

  1. it sounds lovely up there, all that good air, the sea, damp and cool?
    Is it time for the midges yet?

  2. The flowers down here in Devon are quite stunning at the moment with the patriotic campions, stitchwort and bluebells doing their best.

Comments are closed.