Tuesday, 9 August 2016


Mykines 09.08.16

Sometimes moments pass so quickly it is impossible to hold on to them. I need to carry a small paper journal such that i might record such moments. I think this over and over but when do i learn?

I wander slowly to catch the eight ten ferry from nolsoy to torshavn, to catch the bus to sorvagur and the ferry to Mykines. It is an exciting day, it feels good to be back out exploring the islands. the sun shines and mostly the clouds are white yet, as we journey, i feel an increible sense of mourning. This is Tuesday and i do not leave the Faroes until Sunday but i feel my time is coming to an end. I leave and i know i will make few more of these ferry journeys. 

In truth, i have struggled to hold on to my plan for these two days, the end of my Australian journals is in sight and if i stayed at 'home' i could transcribe and travel on lighter, freed of old weight. In truth, transcribing is both laborious and tiring, emotionally and physically. Hour after hour i type. Both arduous yet joyful. There is so much more I want to add in, to reflect upon but my journey for now is just to record my words. 

I will have a full day to fill on my ferry to denmark in a weeks time, when i will enjoy having transcription left to occupy me. It is important I become a tourist once more.

I am amazed to watch the docking of the Ternan, the Nólsoy ferry, such size, such precision in handling, it quite dwarfs the harbour. I meet Ann Marie and Yogvan, also waiting and chat briefly. Hannes greets me as he comes off the ferry and i feel a sense of belonging yet also a sense of being pleased to be moving on. I do not want these connections for now.

I recall the poem I wrote in Darwin and one that i have thought of many times over the years, not just pertaining to ferries but also about any given moment in time and perhaps pertains to my current situation.  my experiences here in nolsoy began with a short one hour visit, a conversation with an old lady, became a few days return, then a week return and finally a fortnight. four times then that I have arrived in nolsoy.


The ferry comes
I stay, it goes.
lingering longer
Than i mightve supposed
I would

Yet once on the ferry, top deck, bracing air i feel a sense of movement, moving onwards in my life and although my time here has been good i think it unlikely i will return. It is not the way i work and whilst people here have been kind i have met no one with whom i have established a firm enough friendship such that i might want to see them again. 

I think about the importance of people in my Australian journals and reflect on to my time in Finland, Leena was just such a person with whom i made a connection and i feel a need to return to, that i must make her part of my onward journey yet if i do, it will take me far from where i thought i might go. I have several outstanding invitations in finland, heli, ritva, liisa i could make a whole journey just of being there but i feel it is not for me, not now.

My ideas on travelling the uk are developing, a month at a time, airbnb, out of season prices. I have shelves full of a lifetimes writing and i now wonder if my words may yet become my life story. I am particulary touched by the responses of my brother Julian and his wife Christine, to my writings. We have never been close as a family and i am touched that they read avariciously, i am amazed at the way that keep up and i love both what my brother says and that Christine is listening.

I want to maintain a sense of independence from my life at least for a while. how this will be when i return, i do not know. I have to go back to norwich for a dentist appointment and to rent my house for a longer period if i am to see my ideas through for the winter. 

Cornwall increasingly draws me and Sandie, one of my oldest friends is there, it would be so so good to spend proper time getting to know each other again and reflect on our lives. Car or no car? Transport systems in the uk are rubbish. I know that. Transport systems frequently mean making friends though and are important in a travelling timescale. Not being able to run away easily from a situation is also important.

I read through the final days of my last Australian journal last night. I was surprised to find that the last three weeks of my time there, when i returned to Susie before flying home, i wrote nothing. Nothing. But once back home in England i wrote fully for two days running, recording my thoughts once back, before moving on again.

That time, those three weeks in Darwin were full, i needed medical attention for infections carried for weeks from a tic, and spent many hours unsuccesfully trying to get a temporary working visa. I guess that with a fine for failure to purchase the correct ticket on a train journey and another for cannabis, i ought not have been surprised. at the time, those things did not occur to me. I did not regret the working visa i had turned down much earlier in my year,  in Western Australia, it was the wrong time and the wrong place, yet it had filled me with an underlying sense of possibility.

the ferry journey leads me to remember earlier yearnings to work the calmac ferris in scotland and i feel a small sense of loss that my age means that finding paid work would be less easy but I hold a romanticised notion of what it might be like. There would be no enjoying views or the weather, just dirt and noise and rules and regulations. A bit like being down in the bowels of the prawn boat.

The bus approachs Midvagur, i will look out for magenta guest house but expect it to hold nothing for me, it was both my prison, yet my ticket to arrive and i am grateful for that opportunity.  

find a spot in the sun, sheltered with a prop for my back. I have been itching to write for hours and know not where to start. The sun burns through my jeans yet on the ferry, fleece and full waterproofs were barely enough. I hear a mechanical craking sound and expect to find machinery but arrive at the point of the island to discover it is in fact thousands of sea birds. Mykines.

Leaving Sorvagur my attention was drawn to the filling of a tanker boat with water, masses of bubbles erupted from the top of the vessel. Quite what was happening i cannot imagine but three of these vessels were servicing salmon farms. 

We pass very close to Tindhólmur and Gáshólmur, i feel amazement at the majesty and the age of this rock. I can see where the rock split and fell and wonder what forces caused this schism. I would like to know at what depth they are again joined or whether the separation is complete. It becomes apparent that we will sail between the rocks and i look at their layers in awe. I see distinct regular layers of dark rock and a thinner layer, over and over, a repeating pattern of creation. 

I imagine this rock, once lying way beneath the sea bed and that perhaps layers of moulten larva spread and then years of life deposited silt on top before the next layers of lava poured out over the top again. It is hard for me to imagine that this is real but also hard to imagine what else may have caused them to grow. Not for the first time i want to understand geology. I study the layer cake gradations and now they look as though they have started to slide off each other and i cannot begin to comprehend how this was so. I stand in contemplation of the years of existence and know how infinitesimal this tiny drop of time is and how tiny i am in the light of the world.

The seas were rough and at times the water broiled. Currents come from many directions once unprotected by land. Facing the direction of our travel, the spray flew in my face many times as the small boat rolled and skipped at times on the water, falling off a crest only to be swept back up again by the next. The crew moved people from off one side, cleared the deck, perhaps in fear that the spray might cause a fall. I was pleased not to be moved, it was a true roller coaster ride and yet again i was thankful for my waterproof layers.

Nothing but ocean between us and the coast of Canada. The waves and the swell put me in mind of ocean rowers Tiny and Livar and i decide to make one more attempt to meet with Livar. I hold their achievement in oar, ore, ok, in awe.... English is such a complex language.

With the winds, the waves and the swell like this, there were days when they rowed all day only to go backwards, but to stop rowing would mean much more ground would have been lost. Always full of respect, i am today in total amazement and yet i know that these seas are not yet that rough, that they bore much more. 

When we alight i ask about the journey, was it a moderate sea, i ask. No, they say, it was not good,  and i wonder if there is a slight chance that we might get stranded over night. Two days of gales have left their footprint on the water. It takes time for the oceans to quiet.

I did feel a sense of fondness for the landscape as we passed thugh Midvagur and a gratefulness that Marit brought me here. Without her there would be no Faroe islands for me. I surprise myself and send her a text to tell her I am on Mykines, she replies saying her guests, in her house here, have left this morning and I can stay if i like. For a moment i think about it but am confused over which is her house and decide to stick with my plans.

Walking to the lighthouse looks easy yet is a tough challenge not for the distance but for the three ascents and descents, crossing of a gully on a suspended bridge and undulating 'flat' sections. I had hoped to relax at the end of the island but sitting here briefly, by the lighthouse, I feel an imperative to return so that i may take my time, not have to rush my footing. Five and a half hours seemed a long time but it took me two hours to walk here. im giving myself half an hour to rest and must then begin   to retrace my steps. I think my return will be more speedy but cannot be sure and i would like to have time to look around the village.

My return takes just 90 minutes which is as well for my legs are very wobbly and will ache tomorrow. The difference in the journeys was namely that on the return, kind of steps were in place rather than the steep uphill gradient that i found so challenging this morning. I say kind of steps, a few were steps, deep steps, very challenging for my knees, especially coming down, but mostly rock or earth footholds.

Sometimes things just dont turn out as we think they might. Having established just which house does belong to Marit and being invited to help myself to a cuppa i thought it a good plan and that i might use the loo and a table for writing as well. No. It was locked. Now what a surprise. Good job i didnt stay at the point expecting to sleep here then.

I found the cafe and a nice egg salad roll and a beer, better than black tea. Drawn to the water rather than the view from the village, i now find myself typing, with one finger, perched on a rock by the waters edge. I sat on my ipad earlier today, not to be recommended but remarkably it seems to have come to no harm, it sort of skidded out the side of my bum, crunching on the rocks. Dont put your ipad in your coat pocket Tina!

The other thing that hasnt come to fruition is my plan to visit Livar. I thought i might have two options, i could catch a bus to Klaksvig this evening instead of Torshavn or, when i do my post boat trip tomorrow i could stay over instead of beetling back on the bus. I have no options with later buses, they run in accordance with boat times so i needed an invite to stay over, either tonight or tomorrow. Did i directly ask that question? No. I simply stated my plans, said it would be lovely to meet up and left him to extend an invitation, which he hasnt. Ask for what you want Tina, the answer can only be no, but its difficult, not wanting to impose and it feels a big ask of someone i dont know.

Puffins sound like small helicopters when they motor in, flying at considerable speed. They appear to have little finesse as regards landing though and often sort of stumble home and even then, often dont know which home is theirs and have to search. I watched as one did its housekeeping today, kicking out bits of bones or baby poo i guess or just clearing out the entrance from a botched landing perspective. Who knows.

Am i pleased i came yes. Am i pleased i walked yes. Do i think it the jewel, im unsure. I loved loved loved the journey over, the views stunning, the puffins are cute and hearing the noise of the birds extraordinary but im happy just to have been here for one day.

The price of beer is interesting. Uniform, in shops, pubs, cafe, always 35 krone. I think that's approaching four quid for a can. hey ho.

I am so very very fortunate. I cannot begin to fully comprehend the beauty of what i have experienced here in the last 6 weeks. I meet so many travellers, here for two or three days and they see nothing because it rains or the fog comes down. To have the luxury of being here and learning and loving is extarordinary. I say loving for yes, the sun is still shining, ive had an amazing day, im planning an early swim with the fb gals, before my ferry tomorrow and have given myself permission to be a tourist again. Two days to love these islands, two days away from living in my past, living in my now. 

The weekend will bring the festival. Im planning to post to ask for someone to interpret all the information for me so i know whats happening. I cannot begin to count my luck yet know that really it is all of my doing, i search out things i am interested in, things that accord and given time, find beauty and meaning everywhere i go. I would struggle to be an occasional tourist.

We are deep in that tunnel that gave me a panic attack when i first drove through it. It is now such a tame tunnel that i wonder at my fear. I was in an anxious, trapped place personally, whereas now i have the beauty and the sun of australia in me and have stopped searching for a while. I am just being and in being, there is beauty 

Vestmanna, Trollkunifingur i wanted to see you one more time. I will take away a yearning for you as i might wist a lost love affair. My present nowness is enough. I will come back to you if you are important enough.

Travelling slowly. Few people have the priveledge, it is so very very different, so difficult yet so gentle and so rewarding being able to do more than skip over the surface. Getting to know the layers, seeing the crud as well as the jewels, getting to know the people, live, yes live not just travel through. These Faroe islands have served me well, have wakened in me the freedom to be alone. The freedom to leave my life and all it entails, take from it the financial independence and move. I am a small way away from renting my house for a year, I wonder what it will take for me to set myself free.

Carla, Nicola, Poppy, Edward, I love you and know that you are such an important part of my life but I feel that i have done daughter time, wife time, work time, mother time. Now, maybe, its Tina time. I have had a taste before and loved it. I have waited long for it again and deserve it now before i am in my cradle, before my joints no longer work, before my sanity disappears.

I have a tremor, i probably need you to let you know that i have a tremor. Do you remember the celebration of bens life and my leg that wouldn't stop shaking? That was a year ago. It was there before, comes to me every now and then, sometimes when i am nervous or anxious but it comes randomly too. When i return i will seek medical opinion. Its probably nothing, a nervous response yet i feel it is more. I feel it may be the beginning of parkinsons. As i eat breakfast this morning, i realise it is in my hand too, right leg and right hand.

I know not what my future holds but for now i need to be as free as the puffins that fly. Yes, puffins for they make such hard work of take off and landing yet they are such good providers of food for their young. They work like fury to make sure all is well for those they love. There. I shall be a puffin as well as a kangaroo and a boomerang. A pufin, making hard work of moving in life yet persisting and succeeding and sneakily hiding into holes, close by others, such that they do not now they are near. I am a puffin. I will go spend my winter out at sea, flying free, not touching land. 

I want another pint. Can you tell i am drinking? Im killing time between ferry bus ferry. I may just have time for one more and if not, well, instead of the eight o clock, ill take the ten o clock. This has been a largely abstemious time on Nolsoy

Oh my goodness, i can buy beer to go. I thought it against the law, perhaps that was Sudoroy where i was told i could not buy a bottle to take away. Hey ho, time to leave, time to catch my ferry. The little Ternan. I still dont know if ternan means tern but for me it does. This is my familiarity and i love it. On the edge, oh goodness, i actually feel on the edge. Its to do with the alcohol of course but i have not felt on the edge since i have been here. I feel free.

I think perhaps i have the time wrong. I am on the ferry but there is no one else. There was nobody collecting fares. I check the website. I am wrong. There is no ferry until 10pm. Oh lordy what does this mean for me. it is cold. My hands are cold. Stay out of the pub Tina

I met an Israeli girl today, young woman really, in the Faroes for just two days, she came for Mykines. Yesterday, the gales meant no ferry to Mykines and it rained and howled all day so she didnt explore Torshavn. Today she travelled with her big suitcase, i remember seeing her returning to the village, very early on in my walk, but thought perhaps she was staying here and had been to the end before the 'tourists' came. No, it seems she struggles witn vertigo, couldnt even make the second ascent so turned back and spent the day sitting in the small village. She asks me if it is always winter here yet today has been one of the most gloriously sunny days i have seen. The bus drops her off at the airport, she will be in Copenhagen, tonight. Other peoples lives.