Day 9, Sweeties and the washing

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23 June 2013

It’s Sunday today and the winds are stretching and hammering the washing horizontal on the solitary clotheslines, secured at rocky cliff edges and grassy beach-sides, and the rain is streaking across the landscape in gusty sheets of grey. As clothes battle with the wind and the rain, they can safely be left in the knowledge that the sun will soon fly out from behind a cloud, and at some unknown point in the day it can be brought home fresh and cool and dry.

But Sunday is a day when people take a day of rest on Lewis; everything is closed. Locals like it this way. There is time to be together and time to refresh for the week ahead.

I have an easy start to the day, chatting and drinking coffee and lingering over a long lunch with the family. In the afternoon I spend some time on the cliffs a few minutes up the road from Garrabost where I am staying, enjoying the damp salty air and spongy heather underfoot.

Erica, Alisdair, Katie and Domhnall Ailig invite me to church with them for the evening service and we set out into the blustery evening, holding firmly to hats and skirts as we scurry, heads down, into the church.

I had noticed last week at Back church, a rustling of sweetie papers but thought little more of it. Today again though, as we left the house, Erica thrust a handful of butterscotch into my hand and the family dived for the sweetie bag as we hurried out of the kitchen door.

As the sermon commences, Erica indicates the sweeties, and I look around to see a general dipping of hands into bags, and hear a rustling of papers around the pews. Everyone is in a state of contemplative chewing, and I am amused at this unspoken custom of the churches. How very Scottish it seems.

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