It is some 1450 years since St Columba landed on the beautiful island of Iona, just off the west coast of Scotland. I was speaking after Church this morning to John Bell who is a well-kent face in the Church Music world, as he has penned many beautiful hymns and music. I was recounting to him that we first met at the end of 1992 on Iona.
I had designed and installed a new sound and loop system at the Abbey, and was going over to check it out again whilst some of my staff were working on a church in the neighbouring island of Mull. I was invited to stay at the Warden’s house, with his family and join them for dinner, and was pleased to do so. Composer John Bell was also a guest and we all passed a pleasant evening with a little of the amber liquid to fight off the cold blast.
Next morning I was at the ferry early to get the 6 o’clock boat to Mull, and since it was winter-time, I had my headlights on. As the ferry came in he courteously flashed his lights at me, so I flashed back in return. When he berthed, the captain came up to me and asked what I thought I was doing!
Apparently my headlights were blinding him, and he had flashed to me to indicate that I should put them off! He was almost unable to berth safely, and I might have had a hefty repair bill from Caledonian MacBraynes, the operators!…..silly me!.