Thursday, 1 November 2007

Lorenzo the Lama in Scotland

Hoots mon and all that.

Apologies for the lateness of this posting. The little Fairtrader has been messing with the computer and I am only just unravelling where she sent my photos. Thanks Raelha for the help. Much appreciated ... and it worked!!

Met up with my naughty friend Wils in Preswick and next morning we left at the crack of 9.00 o'clock to catch the ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick on the Isle of Arran. Bussed across the Island and then caught the ferry to Holy Island. We were met by the fluttering of prayer flags and a row of stupas. It was good to be back.

Wils had been worrying needlessly about missing our lunch as the ferry was late, but oh joy and rapture, it was waiting for us. That evening we were introduced to The Blanket. One of the inmates had decided it would be a nice idea to knit a blanket and asked everyone who had come to stay on the Island to knit a square. Wils and I took up the challenge joyfully as it had been a long time since we had knitted.

Next morning we didn't feel like doing any chores around the centre so we sneaked off for a walk and disappeared up the mountain. This is quite a good haul and some bits are exciting as you have to scramble up rocky cliff bits. It was a misty sort of day, but every now and then the sun came out.

We were especially taken with the little pool of sunlight on the sea. The trig point was reached and we buggered around a bit, showing off our yoga prowess.

The next day we thought we had better knuckle down and do a bit of work. After all, it was supposed to be a working holiday. It was a lovely day so we decided to help in the garden. This involved taking a wheelbarrow each and spending the morning shovelling horse shit.

This manure is so good it can be put fresh onto the garden. All the animals on Holy Island are wild and get their food directly from the land (except for the seagulls who get any left over food that can't be composted). If you use ordinary horse shit you have to leave it for six months to go off a bit, but as the Holy Island horses only eat the local grass, bracken and any other bits of greenery, it is totally organic.

The ever hungry seagulls. Lamlash on Arran is in the background.

By the end of the morning in was pouring and we were both wet to the skin, but after another good lunch we were off for the afternoon gathering seaweed for the garden. They only wanted the large flat brown ribbon type seaweed. Not interested in the lovely Bladderwrack variety that makes very pleasing popping sounds.

Next day we were up on the mountain again. On the way we met Malcom the ex-monk. He had been banished to the far end of the Island to live with the nuns 'in retreat' because he had slapped a visitor. He was pushing his motorized wheelbarrow around. We love Malcom.

Bad Malcom. Isn't he lovely?

We were beginning to get a few black looks from some of the other volunteers so we thought we had better behave ourselves. We gathered driftwood for the fire.

We collected many wheelbarrows full of drift wood. There was a rather bad tempered bloke staying for the weekend and he had been comandeered to saw wood. We called him Basher. Good, we thought. This will keep Basher busy for a few hours. He glowered at us as we dumped yet more and more wood for him.

As I mentioned, all the animals on Holy Island are wild, although they are used to people. Buddhists are very gentle people with a policy of non-harm to any living creature (except Malcom when a visitor upsets him). One of the horses even let me stroke him. There are delightful little brown sheep who look like goats and white goats that look like alpaca.

Most of the Island is a nature reserve. There are red squirrels, ravens, peregrine falcons, the odd eagle and best of all, we saw an otter. This was a first for both of us. About a mile from the Buddhist Centre is a holy spring. Every day we walked to the spring and filled our bottles with the water. Of course, I couldn't help pretending I was a dog (not allowed on the island) and lapped straight from the spring.

Every evening we got out the knitting and crochet. Wils got quite carried away and knitted the Scottish flag. Can you see it?

Lorenzo getting engrossed with the crochet. Does it show I haven't combed my hair for a week?

At breakfast on the last day I openly declared that from now on I would be carrying on the Holy Island lifestyle. No drinking alcohol, caffeine and strictly vegetarian food (no sneaking fish in). When the ferry dumped us back in Lamlash we found we had an hour and a half to wait for the bus. Straight into the pub and David bought us a Whisky.

Kind and generous David.

Eventually we arrived back in Brodick. We decided to look around the town and catch a later ferry back to the mainland. We had fish and chips and two triple glasses of red wine. We got so pissed we missed the ferry back. What do you do? Back to the pub where Wils told me a very rude Australian expression. We eventually caught the last ferry of the day by the skin of our teeth. We then had a drunken evening back at her house. What a fantastic week we had had. We are already planning to do the West Highland Way, go to Fairisle, have a week in Italy doing yoga and back to Holy Island next year. Mmm .. better start saving up.


P.S. In answer to Tut's question, Holy Island is a Buddist Island. About ten years ago the old lady who lived on the island dreamed that the Virgin Mary told her to sell the island to the Buddists. She got in touch with Lama Yeshe of Samye Ling near Lockerbie, and he jumped at the opportunity to acquire the island. Property developers heard about the island's sale and immediately put in huge offers but she wasn't interested.

It is now a centre for world peace and health. Any religion is welcomed. Many Catholics go there for the meditation and the general atmosphere which is amazingly peaceful, unless you are around Bad Malcom.

Wils, Lorenzo and Lama Yeshe at Samye Ling last year. He is such a poppet and everyone who meets him loves him.


tut-tut said...

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the highlights! Wonderful yoga. I would have lapped at the pond myself. Is this an entirely Buddhist island?

Raelha said...

More rude expressions?! I don't suppose you're going to tell us this one either?

The trip looks wonderful, maybe I'll pop along next time and do some crochet too. Although, are you sure they'll let you back after all that skiving you did?

TCA said...

"...rocky cliff bits.."

Would that be scree or craggs?


lorenzothellama said...

Oh definitely crags TCA!

I might tell Simon the rude expression when he comes to stay with Maalie over Christmas.

Tuts: Yes it is a Buddhist island. It is also a centre for world health and peace and any religion is welcomed on the island. There are Catholic Priests who regularly visit. Lama Yeshe has many Christian friends. No-one has to attend the Buddhists ceromonies. I didn't this time. I was too busy crocheting, but last time I was there I went to quite a few.

Ann said...

Is the island still officially 'holy' now you have been? Or will it have to have a cooling off period? Will it need to be re-blessed?

Loved the pictures, as always.

lorenzothellama said...

Oo Ann, didn't think about that. Anyway the holy spring keeps running purifying everything. I expect Lama will be visiting soon, so he'll sort it all out.

Magdalene said...

What a lot of fun you've had! I'm particularly impressed with the black vinyl number. It's what we call fetish gear down here Lorenzo, so what with your naughty outfits, obscene yoga and general pissedness, what would you say are the chances of the Lama inviting you back again? Everyone can see that the only reason he's smiling in that last photo is because he knows you're just about to leave.

lorenzothellama said...

Now now Magdalene! That picture was not taken on Holy Island but in Samye Ling on the main land.

Yes I rather lusted after the black vinyl but Wils refused to be parted from it.

Not a drop of alkie passed my lips while I was on the island. Honest.

Magdalene said...

Ah, well in that case I'm pleased to hear that you've been making up for it ever since.

Thesaurus Rex said...

Great post, you strange and adventurous quadruped. I can see the Saltire, top right. Are they ever gonna let Bad Malc back? Does he ever wanna go back? What did the visitor do?
Travelling is such a great way to live if one can get away from ones responsibilities. Soon, I'm hoping to escape to Eetahlia with a funny friend of mine. Lucky old me if I/we can get it together.

Thesaurus Rex said...

P.S. you've got your comment/blog time zone set to California. Is it warmer over there?

Martin Stickland said...

Hoots Mon!

Looks like yee had a right dandy old time!

Glad ye is back to the land they call Ing.

Where is ma scottish soft Edinbuuurrrrrrrr rock then???

Merisi said...

So, Bad Malcom's "living with the nuns". They've been banished too? ;-)
I am sort of in the mood to move to an Island and do some knitting or such. :-)

lorenzothellama said...

The nuns stay at the retreat centre. A full retreat is three years, three months, three weeks and three days. The next full retreat starts in 2010. At the moment there is a one month retreat going on, which incidentally my yoga teacher Sarah is on. (she's not a nun by the way, but once she was a Catholic nun, then a Hindu nun and is now a happily married Buddhist with two children!)

Bad Malc. lives in his own little hut in the retreat grounds and he does general work about the place especially digging holes for visitors to fall down. No one would tell us why he got upset with the visitor and to be fair, we are guessing it was him and not another ex-monk called Rinchin who is still within the bosum of the centre!

Merisi said...

Thank you, LL! :-)
As far as "the pile of bones" on my blog is concerned, I have to disappoint you: These are chanterelles, edible wild mushrooms. They grow in the woods around Vienna, but I do not know where this particular basketfull was from. ;-)

tut-tut said...

Thank you for the background!

Craver Vii said...

The pictures are very nice. What a beautiful place. I'm sure glad that smell doesn't get recorded on those pictures. ;-)

simon said...

I do yoga! if shovelling Sh*$ into a wheel barrow is part of it ;o)

Martin Stickland said...

Go on then wacha have???

Pie and mash?
Kippers and custard?
Custard and kippers?
A leaf?
A full English?

Go on! wacha have then?????

backpakker said...

lovely pics..esplly the birds is getting quite universal..

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

hello my dear llama - I am just back from a trip also, but not such a pleasant one - it only involved two glasses of wine in 5 days and quite a lot of work - and 31,000, at last count, scientists. That's too many people anywhere for me, much less scientists!

I am glad you had such a lovely trip - the pictures are wonderful, especially the yoga! I get to go today but we will only do stretches I imagine, not such lovely things as you!

Merisi said...

tomorrow every pot in Vienna will have a roasted goose in it. Why not come over? ;-)
(With Maalie out of the continent, we can at last feast on those birds. *ggg*)

somepinkflowers said...

even the pile o'driftwood
looks loverly here!


how nice
that peace rules the island.

*center for world health and peace*

too bad this does not describe
the ~~~ENTIRE WORLD~~~

Merisi said...

Why the geese in the Viennese pots tomorrow?

"On St. Martin's Day, children in Flanders, the southern and north-western parts of the Netherlands, the Catholic areas of Germany and Austria participate in paper lantern processions. Often, a man dressed as St. Martin rides on a horse in front of the procession. The children sing songs about St. Martin and about their lanterns. The food traditionally eaten on the day is goose. According to legend, Martin was reluctant to become bishop, which is why he hid in a stable filled with geese. The noise made by the geese betrayed his location to the people who were looking for him.
(Information copied from Wikipedia)

There will be no goose at my house since the kids opted for a chicken pot pie. :-(

Angela said...

Ohhh wonderful photo's! It's looks like you had a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing these photo's with us! *HUGS*

Martin Stickland said...

Sorry! I normally try to shoot a few tigers to burn but we had to stick with coal last night!

The red nose is through having to eat my tomato soup with out a spoon (us southern softies cannot afford such things!)


Maalie said...

Hmmm. Bad Malc is a man after my own heart. I bet the visitor was being thoroughly nauseating and deserved a good hiding.

Thesaurus Rex said...

The hedge puzzle is a maze at Symonds Yat near Ross on wye. I went to it in about 1983. It's run by two very eccentric brothers and is well worth a visit if your nearby, but probably not really worth it to travel any big distance. Now I bet that's confused people who've been chatting about Scotland and Buddhism.

Raelha said...

I´ve been meaning to come and say thanks for your comments on my blindage definition and to commiserate with a fellow sufferer. However, I´ve just seen your comment on my sistrum one and now I´m not sure what to say!

The Lone Beader said...

Scotland looks beautiful! I love the wildlife, too:)

Merisi said...

maybe you should put in a bid for the Parliament shed? *gggg*
When I saw it for the first time, I thought it was a permanent structure (it was located more in the middle of the roof then).

Ju's little sister said...

Oh Lorenzo.

Just wonderful! My weekend away was not nearly so exciting. But I am going to try m very best to get it posted by the end of the day.

I was shocked to learn Bad Malcolm was banished to the Nuns. I bet they spoil him. He certainly didn't look unhappy but mayhap that was because you were there Lorenzo.

Martin Stickland said...

Goodnight, sleep tight and watch the bed bugs do not steal all of your bedding

Ju's little sister said...

Finally, I'm done... see you at libramentum...

I have to write a report now for work, and then edit (re-write) a little publication, also for work. I DON'T WANNA!!!

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

hello llama dear - where are you and what have you done with Father Anne? Craver and I have been fist fighting and we need to speak with her immediately!

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Ahh - my running days are over (that Mac truck incident) - so I wish you well with your training and running. I will stick to yoga - and beginner yoga at that!

My daughter has enough hair for about 7 of us - she got it from her father. Actually she looks a lot like her dad too - so if you mistook her for me then that must mean that I look like him - oh dear!

Ju's little sister said...

Hi Lorenzo, no, no more eel. I'm sick of people running away from me. My mum's the best lady in the world, sometimes she posts on TCA or Plumpy's site as Kiwi Mother. She likes gin too.
When Mum next goes to the UK to visit Ju they should come bang on your door and you and badger will have to show them round Mr Darcy's pond. Then you can drink gin's till the cows come home. I don't think I'm going to make it to the UK... too much work in texas at the moment - though I'm not making it there in a hurry either!!!

I have never seen a kiwi in the wild - or in the zoo actually. Only on TV.

Ju's little sister said...

A cave in a tie is where the piece of tie that comes out of the knot to fall down the front of the body is concave. (hollowed inwards).

Service ties should be tied so that the tie exits the knot in one smooth line across the bottom, with no hollows or wrinkles.

We have to tie a double windsor, which is why it's so big.

Martin Stickland said...


That's sheep for goodnight!

Martin Stickland said...

Oye Missus!! where is a new post then, come on, get out of that bed and put finger to keyboard

Martin Stickland said...

Oh! I have just switched on the TV and herd the news that you are running a 10K race, all is forgiven, go back to bed, you need the rest.

10K? are you mad?

Todays word is nuttyracywoman (honest)

Ju's little sister said...

Lorenzo - because I am under the world I see Sticklie's late-night posts before anyone else does. I was priveleged enough to see and comment on a post since removed. So that's what we were talking about.

And when I say 'priveleged enough to see' I really mean 'suffered through.'

There were four Martins!!! Seven including the other three at the top of the the page!

v.word = crzylama (tee hee)

oldmanlincoln said...

I can't remember ever seeing so many nice photos in one post. Nice indeed.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Great pics and stories, LtL. Looks like a barrel of fun. Scotland is high on my list of wannabe places. I especially like bagpipes and kilts. Though I imagine that would be a bit cold for me to wear now.

As to horse crap, my wife would be right at home there. Horses are her first love, though I'm a distant second.

Merisi said...

here I was, thinking you'd been to Scotland. For some reason I hadn't realized you'd travelled to Scotand instead! I am still recuperating from the shock. Where oh where is this lovely and located? Map pleeease. :-)