It was an awkward night. I didn’t know anyone in the hotel bar so I propped myself up against it and drank Glenkinchies a little too quickly while trying to make conversation with the karaoke singers when they came for refills. Midnight finally arrived with free drams and cubes of tablet and, after shaking hands with enough strangers, I went outside.

The moon hung above the eastern arm of the town like an old lamp, huge and half-lidded, kept company by a few tiny white stars. Bulging black waves banged heavily at the harbour wall beside me, their hefty slap reverberating round the deep indent of the bay. And I felt like the stars, far and high and distant from the glad swelling tides in the bar; and cold in this country that I thought was my home.

Millport, Cumbrae
1st January 2016