On Saturday I will travel west, the car laden with everything I need for setting up my exhibition early next week. I am looking forward to spending time on the west coast again. I have been lucky enough to have spent a fair amount of time there this year; sailing, walking on the beautiful beaches and taking lots of photographs.
Last year, I had an exhibition in the same venue. I had many fascinating conversations with tourists, locals and quite a few folk who, like myself, feel 'semi-local' to the area. We have some connection, often going back a generation or sometimes several generations. I met many folk who had holidayed in the area as children and were now returning with their own offspring. There was often the impression that they wanted to share the wildness of the place, its unspoilt nature, how things are affected much more by the weather and the tides than by the stock market, or celebrities or the latest video on Youtube. The weather and the tides are real; and you can see them, feel them, hear them.
Quite a number of people I spoke to had been seasonal visitors for many years and had taken the plunge and made a permanent move to the area. Some stay on forever, some don't. I suppose the ones who don't, I didn't meet. For some people, the long, dark winters with their relentless winds and grey, dreich days, can prove too dispiriting. Sometimes, as people move into older age, they don't want to live eighty miles from the nearest hospital. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons. Others say it is easy to save money, as there are not many shops in which to spend it.
I'm sure I will have many more interesting conversations with visitors this year; I am always fascinated by where people have come from. Last year I met a gentleman from Virginia, who showed me a pocketful of sea glass he had collected on the shore that morning.