As we waited for the ferry back across the Sound of Harris, I browsed a gift shop. Would the Hebrides be different from other holiday destinations? The Textiliste had bought yarn. Could I resist the lure of one final memento? Was my choice a subliminal reaction to our upcoming ferry crossing?
In gift shops around the world, the treasures there are legion:
Name tags, mugs, flags unfurled, they all define the region.
Many things you’re sure to find, when tourists begin to roam,
With cash in hand and half a mind, to buy something to take home.
Like, let’s say, the local booze, which tastes so good, and’s duty-free
It would be churlish to refuse, to take a bottle home, or three.
There will be somewhere, on a rack, in sets of square-shaped plastic
Examples of local musak, that sun drenched ears believe fantastic.
The Hebrides conforms to type, like France, Sri Lanka everywhere
A smiley face, melodic tripe, that once back home brings on despair.
Hereabouts it’s the bloody pipes, accompanied by a tweed ensemble
Which frankly gives me the gripes, and nothing tuneful it resembles.
It’s not that I bear any grudge to this nation by its songs
But if I’d been a better judge, I’d have bought those tartan thongs.