The Things We Do for Our Art
We’ve stopped at Boddam, a tiny village of 2.5 houses, to have a look at a swarm of seabirds that have flocked together just off shore within camera lens distance, on our way to more old ruins. I set off rather gingerly across a windswept beach that is covered in a blanket of slimy, thick brown, rotting, decomposing seaweed to get as close as possible. You’re right, I’m an idiot. And this bit has nothing to do with my research.
The brown slimy weed is matted and so thick that the difference between the weed covering the sand and that floating on water is not at all obvious and, you guessed it, swoosh, down I go up to my knees.
I immediately flounder about like a baddie in an Indiana Jones movie falling into the quicksand, except I have one hand in the air trying to protect my camera. It sure is disgusting mess and in my struggle to pull myself out I very soon find myself sinking up to my waist. Yuck! For a brief minute or so I nearly panic as I’ve seen more than enough old movies to know that the next stop would be my mate, Al, trying to reach me with a branch and then gurgle, gurgle, gurgle as the quicksand sucks me beneath the surface and closes over my head, never to be seen again. And then a few minutes later a lion or the head hunters would get the next baddie in line, the one lagging behind a bit. Ahhhh!
Luckily, my feet hit bottom, so I relax just a little, until I realise I am actually now standing up to my waist and can’t get out, not only of the blanket of stinking seaweed, but also of the North Sea. The North Sea is particularly frosty, and I can feel my boots filling with the stuff, my jeans turning to a wet clinging mess and my skin beginning to turn blue. Even if I could, I didn’t need to look to know. I can no longer feel anything below my waist. Now where is Al? Standing on the bank looking concerned while yelling, “Hang on! Hang on!’ and thrusting out a branch to pull me from this extremely unpleasant, clinging, stinking stew of slime? Not on your Nessie. I could, perhaps, have forgiven him because there’re no trees at all on Shetland so, consequently, no branches. So, has he run for help instead? No, my concerned old friend has nearly fallen in himself he is laughing so hard. But not so hard as he is still able to get his camera out and click away like he’s just spotted the extremely rare Blue Big Breasted Barmaid Bird, or some other bloody feathered holy grail of bird obsessed twitchers.
‘I suppose we’d better head back to the lighthouse so you can change your jeans,’ he says, sympathetically, after I have had somehow managed to drag myself back on shore, without his help, of course. I stand there with bits of dark slimy weed clinging to my jeans and my arctic themed jeans clinging to my cold, wet, shivering legs.
‘Poo, you sure do stink,’ is all the sympathy Al manages, between girly giggles, and then, ‘Careful where you drip. Look what you’re doing to the car,’
‘Brrrrrrrrr! Get stuffed! Brrrrrrrr!’ I answered, intelligently.
It’s now several hours and a long, hot shower later so why can’t I get John Williams’ Indiana Jones theme out of my head? Dar, da, dut, dar?