I spent a wonderful day on Inchcolm Island, exploring the abbey and surrounding grounds. It was one of those happy days, despite there being a slight tug on my emotional heartstrings. But I knew that would happen as the first (and last) time I was there was nearly 12 years ago with Paul.
Where my first visit was a rainy, dreich June afternoon today was a lovely, blue-skied May. And the sunshine really did make the day wonderful. Really, and truly wonderful. (The good company helped, too.) Though I would have preferred a speed boat over the rather long (and windy) ferry ride to get to the place!
The island sits in the middle of the Firth of Forth and houses an ancient Augustinian monastery as well as military defence structures from the first and second World Wars. It’s also home to lots of birds. In today’s case, lots of over-protective, nesting gulls barked at us, keeping us from wandering around the island’s natural surroundings.
We did manage a nice tool around the abbey (with an obligatory climb up the tower’s very narrow, winding stairs) and saw some bits of the defences – including an old tunnel system. We even managed a wee wander along the water where I found a couple of shells and a bit of old pottery to add to my found things collection.
So, yes. It was a wonderful day that’s created some wonderful memories for my future.
As for seeing the island again after all of these years, it was good. Inch by inch, I will see everything I saw with Paul without him. I’m sure that there will be many more bitter-sweet moments as I make those “first without” visits, but it’s a wonderful way to remember those wonderful moments. And when I make my “second without” visits, I will have new happy memories to add to the others. And inch by inch, all of these combined happy memories will outweigh the sadness of continuing life without my Paul. (Sorry, with our wedding anniversary just days away, I’m missing him a little more than normal.)