Following on from my strange dream diary, I thought I might tell this story of odd things happening in my head. While ill in Kirkwall Youth Hostel, I had an evening of brittle, fractured fever dreams. Before that though, when I hadn't admitted to myself I was ill but was coming down with something, I had an interesting moment on the beach of Scapa Bay.
I was the only one on the beach (as a man and his dog had just left), and I came across a dead blackheaded gull. I looked down at it and thought something along the lines of, well, I've travelled to the ends of the earth on a spirit quest, is this the moment when I have a shamanistic initiation? And if so, why is my spirit guide a dead bird? So I stared at the bird, and it stared back at me, with one eye, and neither of us spoke. I didn't speak, because, you know, I'm not going to open the conversation with a dead bird, and the gull didn't speak, because it was dead, and so wasn't going to open any conversations. So eventually I walked away and felt more and more ill.
 That would be bad for so many reasons.