I finally got round to installing my old hard drive (called "Dave", as I realised when I got it set up) onto my new computer at the weekend, with a bit of guidance from a friend. Well, when I say "new" computer, I've had it since January. Anyway one of the main reasons for this is that I've got lots of music files on there: now I can listen back to them or rework them using better software than I had previously.
I spent much of yesterday transferring the files and listening to a lot of them, and there were so many things I''d worked on - half finished ideas, most of them - that I'd forgotten about. It was a genuine (and thankfully not unpleasant) surprise when I heard them again.
The other good thing was that on the same hard drive were some photographs of a holiday a few years ago: I went with a few friends to Mull, and found it to be one of the most beautiful places I've been to. When I came across these photographs I lapsed into silence, I was immediately transported back there.
I remember really enjoying and appreciating the company of my friends, but I remember also just how much the wide open spaces, often breathtaking scenery and surprisingly mild weather (we went in February) really lent itself to blissful solitude.
Outside our accommodation (it's there in the photograph at the end), all was silent, save for the cry of an owl late at night. In the evenings, we would all sit around the huge table in the magnificent dining room to drink, talk and to have good food. It was amazing, it felt like we were in a castle and we had it all to ourselves.
At some point each evening I would take a walk outside on my own for a short while (a bit like Captain Oates without the snow or the heroics) and would unfailingly feel a wave of emotion hit me, such was the incredible stillness. The echoes in the little valley; the last vestige of the evening sunlight; the gentle, soothing lapping sounds of the water: it was all so uncomplicated, each little detail or event really moved me.
People often talk about how open spaces, incredible vistas, areas of natural beauty can make them feel humbled, puny, worthless even. This wasn't like that: it was calming, comforting and sometimes just a little melancholic. Out here was somewhere I could just be, and I was sorry to have to leave.
Thanks (in part) to these photographs, the memories are stronger again.