Postcard from Tom, Orkney 1986

The front

Postcard with writing.
The back

Back in the day, I had friends who sent me postcards. These days they either e-mail, send an expensive text, or we just chat as usual via Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger). This week’s archive postcard is from Chomas, a friend of mine from school days.

Before you read the text of the postcard, you may be interested to know that Tom was the chap that I ran over on my bike somewhere between Arisaig and Mallaig. It was his fault, he’d clumsily hit a “passing place” on the single-track road while looking at his chainset. It was making a funny noise, seemingly. But not as funny a noise as him hitting a hillock at 20 mph, coming off his bike and landing on the road right in front of me.

What could I do? I hit him, of course!

To cut a long story short, his brother delivered a replacement bike that evening and took me home, with big holes in my hands, knees and hips. It was like stigmata but in the wrong places and less holy.

I’ve a feeling that this was a holiday he took shortly after that dramatic tour; I may be completely wrong.

Dear Gareth,

Having a wonderful wet holiday here in Orkney. We’ve visited quite a few of the ancient neolithic sites, gone around some of the other islands, done some cycling (with difficulty ‘cos I bent the crank on my 4-day-old chainset in a slight accident) played some golf in the rain, and gone for some cliff walks in the rain.

I’ve also done some fishing. I managed to hook and land myself a terrible 4 day cold (ever heard of it) which is just starting to subside now thanks to the help of a few (hundred) tissues.


What I think he meant was: wish you were here!

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

4 thoughts on “Postcard from Tom, Orkney 1986”

  1. I love how you blanked out the first line of your address, especially as your mum is moving now (isn’t she?) – is this to discourage stalking?!

  2. Oh how I remember this!
    Your legs looking the way they did of course.
    I couldn’t believe so much skin could come off someone’s legs!
    I’ve seen worse – but usually on dead things.
    Gareth must still be wearing the scars.

    And the Northern Britiain thing – well, Tom was a true-blue Unionist at the time. He liked Britain so much he now lives in New Zealand. How queer.

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