Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Rites and Rules of Passing Places

The Rites and Rules of Passing Places
I once lived for about 6-weeks in a village named Corran. One of two villages, the other named Camusbane; it gives the area the name of Arnisdale. Situated amongst the mountains of Glenelg, it is the very last village one can reach by car. There-after you have the option to be air-lifted, shipped or walk further in or out, depending in which stage or state you are.

Corran is a tiny place with a Tea Hut, old Herring sheds – here some filthy over-the-wall hikers sleep, refresh their starved inners and make use of the only toilet available for miles. There is cluster of seven or eight cottages on the banks of loch Hourn. The Gaelic meaning of this beautiful loch indicates that it was named “The Loch of Hell” or “Loch Iuthairne” as some folks has been caught off-guard by its stormy winds and foul conditions.

A few meters towards the outskirts you will notice a sink cottage with a kayak next to it. Here lives a man alone with his dog and I was quite shockingly caught off-guard by the man’s unusual beautiful blue eyes as well as those of his dog with its wolfish-yellow eyes (Note, not the man although I was given the all-over curious glance that could make a woman blush from head to toe).

I remember the magical pebble beaches very well and find it hard to describe the clear water with long waving sea-grass and small creatures underneath – looking into it made one feel dizzy with a kind of upside down world feeling. The edges around the loch are overgrown with vegetation such as bog, ferns and wild rambling roses. I even stumbled upon a small tent once with a young couple sitting huddled and probably nearly frostbitten by a camp-fire – and accepted their invite to enjoy a beer with them before stomping off into some general directions afterwards…

Sometimes on my evening walks along the road, I would notice a young woman on the beach of Camusbane. She had a long blond plait resting heavily between two strong shoulder-blades and reminded me of a resilient kind of Viking woman. She'd be sitting and stoking a big fire on the beach, all alone by herself - I wonder what went through her mind?

One sunny early evening I took yet another familiar walk – on the single-track road leading away from Arnisdale. The view is nearly always something of hills, mountains, a few people around, sheep, ancient graveyards and the majestic Black Cullins waving from across on the neighboring Isle of Skye. I stopped dead in my tracks then as I looked twice: On those single track roads one more often than not will see road signs reading "Passing Place" - you are supposed to give way to other motorists or the cheeky Blackface sheep, not vice versa. It works so in their minds… Well, right there in my face stood yet another road sign, reading like this “Pissing Place". Some idiot had gone and painted over the "a" an "i". How many people do you think make this their "Stopping Place"?

Mentioning this to a friend later on, I was then told about a place in Austria with the name of “Fucking”. Apparently it is the most stolen road sign in the world – doesn’t surprise me!

I was also told that in Belgium, they have what is called 'the anal triangle'. Three towns called Kontich, Reet and Aartselaar. (freely translated: Bum, Ass and Anal-town). Gays apparently get mixed up when they come in the center of the triangle, where there's road signs indicating the way to all 3 places.

So apart from “Pissing Place”, “Fucking” and “The Anal Triangle” I guess the way can only get steeper, skiddier and perhaps I’ll not venture much further into these crooks and crannies today. Another time…

1 comment:

Brother Tobias said...

Remember the signpost to 'Peiness, on the Struan-Portree road in Skye...and what the phantom sign painters used to do to that?