Estate Boys in the Wild – a phone call from the edge of the island – From Home to End – 09



Probably around 7:30pm

While we watched the boat watching the sun, a phone call took place in the back of the car, between Ben and one of his friends. A few days have past since then and this transcription is a long way from verbatim but I had to try and capture it anyway. It summed up so much about what we were doing without meaning to. Besides, it might be the only conversation of its type that’s taken place around here. We heard only one side of it but that was enough. You can take it as a momentary view into the psyche of another person. Their life in microcosm. 

Blud… I’m in Scotland. Scotland! Nah, blud! Ireland!? Nah, it’s not like Ireland. There’s mountains everywhere. Everywhere! Everywhere you look there’s at least eight mountains. Blud, I’m at the top of the fucking country. The top. You can’t go further than us. Nah. Not like this. You literally can’t go further than us. We’re so far north we’re south again, you know what I mean? Yes! If we went any further we’d have to go south. Mate, you don’t understand. You don’t understand, blud. It took days to get here. Days! I don’t know when I’m gonna be back, G. Mate. Mate, yesterday we was in a cloud, blud! A cloud! Literally. An actual cloud. Fuck man. NO! Oh my God. In a cloud! Yeah, alright, mate. Yeah. I dunno exactly. Next week. Alright. Alright. Sweet. Have a good one, yeah? Bye. ”

Character isn’t just in what you say and do but also how you say and do it, the emphasis you give phrases or actions, your word choice and mannerisms, your reactions, both voluntary and involuntary, and then on top of all that, there is the way you might deploy any one of those things in one situation compared to another. This is what it looks like when our language isn’t dressed up, when the place we’re from isn’t pushed out of how we speak for the maintenance of good manners and optimised social interaction. All of this is revealing, all of it is in flux; the human character is a lot like the ripples of sand on a beach, which change with each high tide but which remain in their fundamentals from century to century. This little snippet of a conversation shared between friends, is as much an autopsy as any medical procedure, it says more than most Facebook profiles. 

Your syntax should never be too pretty. It won’t be honest. The way you speak should always have a touch of home. 

If you enjoyed this post, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment. 

Thanks, Luke.



About Luke Smith

I travel around and write about it. When I'm not travelling around, I write about whatever seems meaningful to me at the time; these are usually meditations on current events, finding ways to survive the crushing existential grind of modern civilisation or vaguely philosophical musings.
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10 Responses to Estate Boys in the Wild – a phone call from the edge of the island – From Home to End – 09

  1. C.R. Dudley says:

    Useful reminders for writing dialogue 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed this post 🙂 And I love Durness. Did you see the house where John Lennon used to spend his summer hols? And have a walk on Balnakeil beach and visit Balnakeil craft village? Chocolate Mountain – fantastic coffee – I’ve passed many rainy hours writing there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luke Smith says:

      Oh yeah. The first time we found the place and then discovered the John Lennon memorial garden we were stunned. It seemed the most incredible serendipity. First finding the village by pure luck (we were on a roadtrip to nowhere,Durness ended up our final destination) and then discovering that it was one of Lennon’s haunts. He is a hero for all of us. It seemed like a sign from the Gods of the Highlands at the time.

      I love those beaches. I have really a whole ton of writing about this area that discusses our experiences in the craft villages, on the beach you mention as well as others. My personal favourite is the ceannabeinne beach that we try to hit up every time we’re in the area. It’s maybe half of our reason for being in the area.

      In the next few weeks I’ll be be publishing a little more about some spots in Durness and further into the future there will be some really Durness heavy entries. It might be my favourite place on the planet, I cannot overstate it enough. I hope it remains a hidden gem, but here I am writing about it on a public forum.

      Really appreciate your comment. I feel hyped to know that you’re a fellow Durness discoverer!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robyn Haynes says:

    You’ve a fine grasp of language and how it individualises us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Isabelle says:

    I loved this extract of natural and real conversation with no particular attention and consideration given to the word order and syntax. It is a reminder of the importance of using original and undecorated language. It seems advanced and sophisticated language is encouraged and valued in our society. I am always a bit concerned about my speaking and writing either consciously or subconsciously. Even when I am with my closest ones I seem to want to make sure that my language is good. Are we not always judged by the language we use? This post is quite mind-blowing. Thank you, Isabelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luke Smith says:

      That’s really high praise, I appreciate you saying so. I think that modern society tends to value the appearance of sophistication. A great deal of modern phraseology is nonsensical when considered properly. ‘Pre-boarding’ ‘Pre-wash’, to steal some of George Carlin’s examples.

      On top of that, schools tend to create a particular (but weak past the surface) style of academic writing which is extremely convoluted and often barely readable. Sentences like, ‘Birch trees grow to be 80 years old’ can become, ‘A birch tree, on average and in optimum conditions, with precipitation within a standard deviation, have the potential to grow for 80 years before succumbing to age or pathogen…’

      This is a real pet peeve for me in writing. I feel the same way about over-wordiness and pretentiousness in writing as I do about unnecessary guitar solos in songs… They’re more about the guitarist than the listener.

      I think we are often judged by the language we use and it strikes me that this gives all the more reason to be honest in how we talk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isabelle says:

        I resonate with your thoughts and concerns Luke. I’m finishing my Masters in English language now and it’s very likely that I’ll find my first language related job in teaching profession. I’ll always keep our discussion in mind. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Luke Smith says:

        I’ve done some teaching before. I think you could find it a very rewarding process. I hope you’ve enjoyed your masters. I did creative writing at uni although only at degree level, and found it a good experience on the whole.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: From Home to End – Adventures in the Highlands | Journeys Through Pre-World War 3 Britain

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