Saturday 28 April 2012

The Blood is Strong

Some music for the weekend, to celebrate a special anniversary. Ten years ago (and a day!) I arrived in Scotland, to meet my true love for the very first time. :-)

That very first weekend he took me for a drive all the way around Loch Ness. It took all day. I never knew how big Loch Ness was!

It was also back then that he introduced me to one of his favourite singers and groups - Karen Matheson and Capercaillie. He had a tape of their album The Blood is Strong, and we played it over and over that day. Loch Ness will forever echo in my heart to the songs on that tape, especially this one...


what I never knew was what the song was about.Today I went and looked it up, since it is one of my all-time favourites. And today I found the lyrics in English. Here they are:

O my boatman, na ho ro eile
O my boatman, na ho ro eile
O my boatman, na ho ro eile
May joy await thee where 'er thou sailest!

I climb the mountain and scan the ocean
For thee, my boatman, with fond devotion
When shall I see thee? today? tomorrow?
Oh! do not leave me in lonely sorrow.

May joy await thee where 'er thou sailest!

Rather apt for two people who would have to part after that holiday, to be apart for almost six months before they'd meet again on the other side of the world.

The irony of that tape (and CD, I bought my own copy near the end of my holiday!) is that the songs were mostly written by Scots living overseas. It's an entire compilation of homesickness and longing to be 'home' in Scotland. I'd never thought to find translations until today. Now I'm reading them in English and feeling such a full circle of connections. I listened to these travelling around a land I'd never been to before and yet... I felt as if I'd come home.

Scotland called me, even before I ever set foot here, or fell in love with a Highlander... this land called me.I never knew until a year later when I drove past a beach I'd dreamt of years before in Africa. And in my dream it had been the past, there were ships with sails and I was a sailor. Did I dream another life I'd lived before of was it some ancestor's memories passed down to me? I have ancestors from Scotland.

Did the land call me or was it those ancestors calling me home? My mother's father's ancestors came from Scotland, but I'd never thought about the homesickness that those who left Europe must have felt...
It is a time of long times since I left Lewis.
I feel the winter night long,
Long, long, long it is,
I can see nothing but a bare prairie here,
And I can't hear a wave coming to the shore.
In the evening time when it's getting dark,
Often the spirit will be full of longing;
Thinking that there is a long, long distance,
From where I would like to be...

 Yes, the blood is strong. I never realised, this music that connected me to my "new" homeland and future husband - all that time it was also connecting me back to my ancestors as well.
Happy Anniversary, my True Love
happy anniversary, home of my blood.



  1. "May joy await thee where 'er thou sailest!" Happy anniversary to you, Michelle. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! :)

  2. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to the both of you! May you have plenty more healthy, joyful, loving years to come with many more memories!!! I LOVE that photo of yours! :-D

    THANKS for introducing me to the song...

  3. Thank you Daisy!

    Thank you! That photo was taken my last evening in Scotland, at my SiL's house. It's a lovely photo.



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