The Dark Island

I was at a concert the other day, listening to the Training Choir of the fabulous National Youth Choir of Scotland give a heartfelt performance of a Scottish folk song called ‘The Dark Island’.

It’s a song about Benbecula – a small island in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland – and expresses the longing that people often have for the days and places of their childhood. I think that there are several versions of the song, but the one I heard was written by David Silver and set to music by Iain MacLachlan. It begins: Continue reading

Outfacing the lion

I took my daughter to Edinburgh Zoo yesterday. I wouldn’t say that this is a regular occurrence, but we go once in a while and when we do we always follow the same routine: get there early, before the crowds, and head straight up to the top of the hill to see the lions.

There is something very atmospheric about walking through a quiet zoo. I don’t know if you have ever tried it, but the paths are very still and the carefully designed enclosures are busy with rustlings and scurryings, as the animals are released from their overnight accommodation to eat their breakfast in the peace of the morning.

It’s just you, them and the promise of the day ahead. Continue reading