The cafe is set high on a bank looking back across the bay towards Hugh Town. Wandering back from the northern edges of the island I have stopped for tea. I drink it alone, kept company only by the sparrows, one of whom works an impatient arc round the table top, eager for me to abandon my plate and leave him the remnants of my flapjack. He is out of luck. I’ve nowhere to go; I am in no kind of hurry today.
Back across the bay the Scillonian is readying to sail back to the mainland. It’s only two days since I was on the boat myself, but I have to think about that, do the maths; already I am beginning to lose track here. The reason being there is nothing to do. I read, I swim, I nap, I read, I drink, I read, I sleep. I sleep deeply, my body clearly delighted with a regime of enforced simplicity.
My mind, equally in need of a break, puts up more resistance though. Its attempts even here to fashion agendas, structures, choices and worries are commendable. There must be an optimal order in which to visit the individual islands, given the projected weather forecasts. The choice of which book to take on any given day must matter. Am I thinking ahead about where and when I want to eat? There must be something…
Something for the left hemisphere to fret about. The right meanwhile is warming to the presence of my sparrow friend, watching it go about its business. It is also drawn back to the stillness of the view, across which a lady’s voice drifts, the tannoy announcing the Scillonian’s departure.
Blasts from the horn and the ugly great boat is on its way – I am to be stranded here for a while yet.
Which I have no complaints about, although I know full well this is a voluntary exile from the world of action and choice. My faltering steps, failing strength and enforced pauses on the clifftop walk earlier that day remind me this will not always be the case. How my mind will respond to that coming autumn of opportunity I have no idea.