The scissors gave a tug and my head jerked to one side. I suppressed urge to cry out, felt my heart sink, closed my eyes and prepared for the worst.
I hadn't had my hair cut for more than four months and it was a little wild - somewhere between Marge Simpson and Mel 'Braveheart' Gibson. Not really a problem when you live on a small island where nobody seems that impressed by the cut of your clothes or your hair, but when you feel it pushing the hat off your head, steps must be taken.
I was visiting Kirkwall and booked myself in at the hairdressers where Sal gets her locks seen to. It was 10am, I hadn't had any tea or toast and I wasn't feeling exactly communicative. I don't like going to have my hair cut - any length of time staring at my face is very disturbing, just ask Mrs Pig Farmer - and I'm not keen on small talk that early in the day. Maybe that counted against me.
The hairdresser (for want of a better description) approached my head like it was a bomb about to go off. I'm not sure she'd ever cut a man's hair before. I'm not sure she knew that sharp scissors are available in many good shops. I think she might have wandered in off the street and fancied a go. Barbering. . . how hard can it be?
I gave clear instructions (half-an-inch on the sides, a little longer on top, tapered at the back) and she dived in. The trouble is with a bad haircut is you can't exactly stand up halfway through and storm out, especially if you're in a town that has no such thing as a walk-in barber's shop you can run to to repair the damage.
So I'm left with hair short at the back, several different lengths on top and wierd wispy bits that I'm having to tuck behind my ears to stop me looking completely insane.
I shall be on the phone later to Lauren, who runs a hairdressing business in Westray, to arrange a repair job, at the same time apologising for not going to her in the first place.
UPDATE: My brother-in-law Mart has asked for pictures. I'm a little reluctant to reveal the full horror, but in the interests of openness. . .
. . . looking good, I think you'll agree.