That evening, at the piano in my Islington flat, the notes that came out were from Jura. I can't really explain how or why, I know it probably sounds barking mad. It was like the island was calling me saying 'I'm here, I've always been here, so come if you need me'.
Next week the Scottish nationalist government will publish their long awaited White Paper on which will set out their case for breaking up the United Kingdom. Expectations could scarcely be higher. Alex Salmond, in typically-understated style, predicted that this manifesto for breaking up the UK would "resonate down through the ages"... We will see.
When the Scottish Parliament was instituted, it was supposed to give the Scottish public a voice. It was supposed to reflect the will of the nation. But, in actual fact, it simply reflects the will of the political elite. No wonder so many Scots are skeptical about full independence.
'What's that in the water?' asks Kathleen, pointing ahead of the boat. We're standing on the deck of the Glen Tarsan, a former fishing vessel now converted to take wildlife and other cruises off the west coast of Scotland. We've left Skye behind and are sailing in wonderful sunshine towards the little island of Canna (population: 12).
Today when we wanted to load up the race car on to the trailer to visit the roll cage fitters, the trusty long-term towing vehicle had decided to gi...
The Yes campaign has recognised, in that great tradition of enlightened Scottish thought, that you can't view political decisions in isolation of broader societal and cultural trends. Beyond the cold and narrow business of balancing budgets and ballot boxes lies a modern republic of letters: of Buzzfeed, Youtube clips and memes.
Director Robert Rae's new film The Happy Lands takes place in the Scottish village of Carhill, in the heart of the Fife coalﬁelds during 1926.
After so much talk about oysters, and advice from someone who is clearly passionate about his job, there's only one thing to do - head for the restaurant and sample a dozen of them.
When I asked Volvo if I could take one of their cars 'up north' for my Distilleries book project, they asked what car would I like, I suggested an AWD Cross Country or something that showed a bit of ruggedness.
Somewhere off the west coast of Scotland is a fishing trawler called the Crimson Arrow, and on the boat is a fisherman called Toastie. He brings his scallops into the harbour at Oban, and they are the best scallops in the world. How do I know?
There are a few places where ancient earth traditions hold true. Some countries have new traditions that aren't more sickening than a full bag of jelly Smurfs. There are certain rituals that are just plain worrying - in Brittany, children light candles in skulls to soothe restless spirits.
The Under-Occupancy Element of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 has created scores of headlines in the media. The obvious unfairness of a policy that penalises tenants in social housing who are deemed to have a 'spare' bedroom instinctively goes against the values of the majority of the electorate...
For Alex Salmond's part, he still clearly has his sights set on a debate with David Cameron, which would fit perfectly with a narrative of 'Scottish Government versus Westminster Government'. Only after Cameron has agreed to this, or else exited the debate altogether, will Salmond debate a "substitute" such as Alistair Darling.
Alex had been right about the hood. 'Driving through Glen Coe in a convertible is an amazing experience,' he'd told us. 'In a convertible you can smell things like the heather, the wild garlic. In a regular saloon you're cut off from all that. With the hood down you're out in the open, enjoying the fresh air.'
This doesn't of course mean that everyone is convinced by Salmond's arguments on independence, but it does mean that the SNP and their leader enjoy considerably more credibility than Blair McDougall is willing to admit.
We were a little unsure of the place at first, as when we checked in and made our way up the grand staircase to our room, there was a kind of reverential hush about the hotel. It was the kind of feeling you might get if you were a guest at Buckingham Palace, I imagine.