Last week, in a world exclusive report, I revealed how I was stalked from above as I waddled along the shore on Skye. The stalker was a drone, buzzing aboot, making a noise like a thousand angry bees.
What I didn’t tell you about that shoreline walk was that I was also assaulted during it. Once more, the trouble came from above, and it wasn’t the first time that it had happened to me.
The assailant was hail. You munch on your dripping toast and say in a less than impressed tone of voice: “Big deal. It’s hardly much of an assault. It’s not like being poked in the eye or having your ear twisted.”
These are fair points, well made. But the reason I mention the hail was that, a good few years ago now, it did seriously batter me, to the extent that I was really rather feart.
I know – I’m scared of everything. But this incident would have tried the fortitude of Aragorn, King of Gondor, or even Conan yon Barbarian. It happened in yonder Northern Isles, on a wild stretch of coastline that I used to love.
Indeed, when I was marooned in the city, my soul being slowly sapped as I sat in a sweaty office, I used to take my mind to that place and wish that I was there, dangling my legs over the steep cliffs facing the heaving Atlantic. And, when I did get away and was able to return, I used to do just that, staring out to sea from the edge of the land, living my dream which of course, as is the way on the planet Earth, soon went sour.
On this day, the skies were grey but none too fretful at first. I’d taken my walk along the cliff edges and, on my return journey, was in sight of my patiently waiting car.
Suddenly, this mighty deluge came battering down. The hailstones were huge. They were the size of God’s golf balls. And they were right sair on the heid. They punched me in the face and kicked me in the knees.
I almost felt I would get battered to death by them. I was fully exposed and kind of crab-walked along with my hood up – obviously – and my hands curled over my hunched head protectively, until I made it into the lee of the car.
Still, they battered down, making a fiendish drumming sound on the car’s roof, and so heavy that I could hardly see through them to the lighthouse. I thought that this would be an absurd way for one’s life to end, while taking solace that, once more, my name might grace the front pages: “Beardie man blootered by hail.”
Thankfully, the celestial pounding soon abated, and I was able to drive home, there to pour myself a small vat of consoling whisky and reflect once more that the world was a scary and unpredictable place, wherein one ought always to wear clean underwear for the possible eventuality of ending up on an operating table or mortuary slab.
I was reminded too that the world is right elemental, with its heaving waves and storms and downpours. It’s a wild place, where I’m usually in my element. But not when I’m getting battered on the heid.