Friday, 16 August 2013

Research break on Isle of Skye, Scotland

Marsco mountains on Skye
I can't believe the fact that I am back again updating my blog. It has been almost a year or parhaps more than a year (you see I can't even remember when did I last update my blog). Well, I must say doing a PhD probably one of the toughest experiences I have ever encountered so far. It's not about how briliant you are but it's about your patience, your motivation, ambition, timing, management, etc. Seems like it is harder than running in a marathon. I am writing this post after completed the 14th month of my doctorate studies. On paper I have about 22 months to go before I will be submitting my thesis.

Anyway, last week I was on Skye a beautiful island of Scotland. After a hard work on my research I finally decided to have a break for about 11 or 12 days. I am glad I had that short break because when I was there my brain was completly free and I didn't even think about my research except in the last a few days. For some reasons I can't really leave my research too long otherwise it's would be very difficult to get back. So an 11 or 12-day break was actually perfect or maybe just a bit too long (not really). But when I was back a few days ago I found it was very difficult to start especially the writing part. I needed to revise some of my code and tried to understand what I have done before the break. Believe or not it took me the whole day to put my mind back on track.

Talisker Bay on Skye
Okay, okay let's talk about my holiday although not many of you might be reading this. Skye is definately a beautiful island and apart of its cold and wet weather I have no hesitation to rate the island itself 4.5/5. It's a shame really because the wet and cold weather ruined some of my plans and I believe it wasn't just me but most of the tourists who are comming to Skye. Even worst for those who travelled thousands of miles and greeted with and opened heaven and strong breeze. I noticed those who came from Japan, China and Korea or even from east Europe had to go through the bad weather condition. They had no choice as they had limited time staying on the island. They have to go through the wet and cold weather for sight seeing or keep themselves dried and warmed but missed the chance to see the island.

Fairy pool on Skye
One thing which is very visible on the island is the people especially the older generation are still very traditional especially their costume. I remember one afternoon when a friend and I went out for fresh shellfish, we saw a men out for gardening with his very traditional scottish costume. I don't really know what exactly the name of some of the things his put on but they do look very traditional. Unlike England, Scotland seems to be prouder with their cultures (I might be completly wrong here but I was about 2 years in England and never seen people wearing their traditional costumes or parhaps they never had one). Secondly, I think there are more tourists than locals on the island. I went to a small town called Potree and I remember the number of coaches from different europe countries are just incredibles. It's a small island with small towns and you hardly meet locals there except when you are in town but it seems like the place is so popular. I noticed most of the visitors are from Holland, Germany, France and from China or Korea. I didn't think this place is popular for asians to be quite honest.

Well, the more I discovered the the island the more questions appeared on my little complicated brain. Another thing I noticed about the island is there are so many huge houses and beautiful of course. In contrast with rural places in Wales, most of the houses are quite fancy instead of just a square box with a roof on it. This makes me wonder what are the source income of most people on the island which made them can afford such fancy houses. But then I suppose people who came there or parhaps moved up there are retired or just wanted to have a second place. Again, it's a shame actually because most of the houses are beautiful with amazing views but again most of the time it is wet and windy which makes me think it's like living in a jar with a beautiful view but you can't really go outside of the jar and enjoy it. I find it very fustrating in some aspects. Imagine you have the money but can't buy it.

After days being on Skye, I realised what i enjoyed the most apart of climbing mountains. It's the food which I find fascinating. I always like food and up to this age (I'm getting an old fucker) food is always a passion in my life. Especially the shellfish, everything is so fresh and I would say really cheap compared to the ones I had in England and Wales. There are lots of fishmongers and they sell what they've caught from last night or this morning (arn't this amazing?). Living in a huge cities like cardiff, london or Edinburgh is probably good in some aspects but living in a remote place like Skye, when it comes to a fresh food I would say it's unbeatable! The cost of living is definately low but you still can enjoy a beautiful, fresh and delicious food (the most important is healthy food).

Well, I don't like the midges though. To be quite honest, they are worst than mosquitos. At least mosquitos don't suck/bite your head. Midges are definately nastier than any flying insects I have ever known. Luckily my skin is coloured and for some reasons (i dont know why) the midges bites didn't leave any marks on my skin. So I was okay in this case compared to a friend of mine who has a white skin, there were so many red marks after bitten by the poxy midges.

Tattie bogle on Skye
Phew!!! before i forgot, tattie hunting is definately unforgettable. Every year they have tattie bogle competation. A tattie-bogle is a device (sort of), tradeetionally a human figure dressed in auld claes, or mannequin, that is uised tae discourage birds sic as craws frae disturbin craps. They have some many different figures and my favourite one is a skeleton women in red dressing sitting on a roofed bench with a written board next to her "Waiting for the perfect men"! I have seen a photo on the internet but I never thought someone on skye would make a figure if it.

The last day on skye, leaving very early morning. Had to get up very early which I didn't like. Sad to leave but I did enjoy short break. Skye is a beautiful, peaceful and a nice place to have a holiday but my gut tells me that I'm not sure if it is a place that I want to spend the rest of my life or not. In fact, my little complicated brain and my fragile heart always never really landed on skye although my eyes have fallen in love with skye. I do still think I want to spend some of my life in huge cities but I would be happier to spend my retirement life in a calm, beautiful and warm place. Life is only once and never twice let alone three, so let's enjoy the life.....take it as it comes leave it as it goes.

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