Today’s Writing 101 challenge – to write about someone I’ve met for the first time this year and try to create a sense of character…
Tim appears in the room without the sense of having entered it. He is a tall slender man in his late sixties with greying hair and a soft, gentle voice. His accent is clearly not local, although I discover he has lived here for a number of years since escaping suburban life in a northern town, which shall remain nameless because I am unable to recall all of the details.
We are in the Bed and Breakfast he runs with his wife Mollie on the Isle of Skye, overlooking Fiskavaig Bay. Tim has become part of the landscape, his skin absorbing the brownness of the earth thanks to the combined effects of the sun, the wind and of his own labours. For what makes him such a striking man is the the personal and physical strength he brought to the task of renovating this old croft house, combined with the skills he set out to develop to meet the challenges he encountered in this endeavour.
I am in awe because it is a major achievement for me to drill a hole in a wall. Not of course that I often drill random holes in walls – anyone can do that. They usually need to align with other holes, and therein lies the challenge. But it goes further than this – there are plenty of people who demonstrate such purposefulness and competence. Tim stands apart because his manner is so unassuming and modest. He seems to occupy those spaces where sky, hills and water merge at the edges – you know there are beginnings and endings, but you can’t precisely say where they are.
Oh, and now he has left the room in the same way he didn’t come in, but you can still feel the warmth he has left behind.