salmon swimming, salmon trouble

Salmon swimming

I’m still at my parents’ in Pitlochry. Yesterday we went to the Linn of Tummel, a beautiful waterfall, where we spotted a couple of interesting things –

1/ a humane trap for American mink with just a sandy bed which records their footprints if they pass through


2/ an early example of a salmon ladder

Dad, who used to be an environmental scientist, explained about the journey of salmon upstream (and fish ladders help them get past waterfalls and man made dams)  Salmon return to the same river each year to lay their eggs. Not only to the same river, but in long rivers like the Tay (100miles long) to the exact same point where they were born. This is because the salmon are adapted to the exact environmental conditions of that point and the offspring they create will be able to thrive in those conditions. Man shouldn’t mess with this – fish farms ruin the natural balance of different fish moving downstream at different time when they escape and everything goes wrong.

Fact – fish scientists in the UK have been finding male fish with female features due to the high levels of oestrogen in our rivers probably from women taking the contraceptive pill

Salmon trouble

Skimming stones across the Tummel I will always be impressed dad

you can hit the other side

And mum proudly feeds you smooth flat stones

Afternoon tea there was too much chocolate on that plate

But great for a pipe band raffle prize

That morning, a jacuzzi, shared reluctantly with two old women who knew

everything about me and I politely smiled when they labelled me free spirit

and showed empathy

That her dog died of epilepsy

I scoffed the salmon, smoked to perfection but failed to see there was no sell by date

and i bore the consequences until I lost a few pounds

And didn’t know how to answer my 80 year old neighbour when she asked my opinion

on legalising drugs

Some good things coming up…

  • My Peruvian friend Arturo is coming to visit from Holland for 3 days amidst the chaos of moving. We hung out for 2 months in Cusco 15 years ago and have only met once since but he has remained a big force in my life from afar.  It is amazing how some people stick and others lose their grip so fast they are only a shadow passing through. The day I met him he taught me how to breathe through one nostril then breathe out through the other, on a day when I was just another lonely backpacker with a notepad in the square.
  • Carla and I have booked our first 3 nights in a hostel in Tulum, which is supposed to be very friendly, but bed bugs have been reported. We will use our special sheet sleeping bags to protect ourselves.
  • We have booked tickets to see Paper Cinema at Battersea Arts Centre on 9 Feb. It looks fabby.

I love Battersea Arts Centre. It’s such a magical place with so much character and innovative programming. The last great thing I saw there was 1927’s All the Children and Animals took to the Streets

They are a company to watch out for.


Highland Train station enterprise

Waiting for my train for London at Pitlochry train station, I popped into the Pitlochry Station Bookshop.




Run entirely by local volunteers, the bookshop sold 50,000 books last year, raising £10,000 for charity. It is a brilliant example of social entrepreneurship and creative response to an opportunity (Scotrail donate the premises to the enterprise as part of their ‘adopt a station’ scheme.)

The books are high quality and cheap (many best sellers just 50p).
I bought three for my journey south to help ease me into 2012- a trashy read (Twilight) a health read (Maximum immunity) and a business read (Mavericks at work). But first, a little look out the window at the yellow light and fir trees and eating my packed lunch before midday…