I missed the last ferry to the Isle of Mull on New Year’s Eve in a blizzard at 9 o’clock in the evening. The thought of spending the night in a hotel somewhere in Oban was unappealing, so I walked along the jetty asking fishermen if they were going over to the island. In a blizzard? On hogmanay? was the general response.The last fisherman I asked looked up and said “how much are you offering ?”
I said “40 quid?”
He said “Alright I’ll go and tell the wife”
He returned five minutes later with whiskey, a crate of beer and a friend.
The crossing was hideous. I threw up continuously into the dark wind and horizontal snow.
We arrived eventually and I climbed out onto an old wooden jetty.
There were no lights in sight anywhere but they suggested I walk around the headland and I would find a pub.
I found it and walked in. The room went silent as they stared at me.The barman remarked that I looked like a frozen alien and asked if id like a drink. I said what Id really like is to find the Gillespies.
“Well thats easy” he said and he plucked an old phone from under the bar. He dialled the number and in minutes my friends picked me up, I did this painting the next day on the beach near their house.
It all looked so different in the morning.