I close my blog with my favourite piece:-
Civilisation comes in different ways in different places.
This morning I went across the Loch to Connel Village Store to get the papers. Rosie Stevenson, who owns the Store was standing outside. She was carrying a bag and a fiddle case. She was waiting for Peter. They were taking two tractors thirty miles away to Glencoe to help the harvesting. Rosie was to drive the big tractor. Her job meant quite a bit of waiting so she had a specially shortened bow and could sit in the cab and play her fiddle to herself as she waited.
‘Play me something now’, I asked and she took out her fiddle and played The Flower Man by Jenny Smith and The Westcoaster by Angus Grant of Lochaber. My car was blocking the road but when the bus came it waited until she had finished. Then I drove away and the music of her fiddle sang in my head all day long.
Next day I asked her how she had got on in Glencoe. She told me that the fields had been small and some of them far away. She had a lot of time to play her fiddle. Nobody seeing a big tractor sitting alone in a small field in Glencoe would know there was civilisation there.
Indeed I think we also found it in the street outside Connel Village Store.
Here in the West Highlands we do not claim a monopoly of humanity or of civilisation. It just happens. But I think of different places. I think of the frenetic offices of Canary Wharf where money is made.
When I hear music in the street I doubt the pursuit of money for its own sake. I cannot judge. All my life people paid me for what I loved to do. A different life makes me fear for the happiness of those who see making money as an end. They have lost the time to listen to a friend making music in a village street. They prefer a Walkman. The cab of a tractor in a Highland glen may not have the acoustics of a BBC studio yet Rosie made the music for herself. Our busy life has given much but it has taken much. ‘We have no time to stand and stare; no time to stand beneath the boughs, and stare as long as sheep or cows’.
There is no money in civilisation. It is too precious for money.