Category Archives: Island

Return to the Tropical Island

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I was away in Glasgow from Wednesday to Saturday. We (sister and sister-in-law-to-be) had arranged wedding beautify-ing trials for Friday as Mairianne was going to be passing through Glasgow that week anyway. And, we got to try on our dresses for the first time! Needless to say, mine is too long for my shorter legs, so there will have to be some tweaking. We had the wonderful privilege of getting to know the lovely lady who will be doing our hair and make-up. It’s getting more and more exciting! We had a lovely trip, very sibling-centred, with a movie night with Seoras and Stephanie, and we all went to Inverkip for a BBQ on the beach on Thursday. It was very yummy, and lovely with such beautiful sunshine. And of course, we kept each other amused! We are so rare! There’s nothing like a sibling (and sibling attachments 😉 although Ruairidh was missing, it was great to have Nma and Stephanie) gathering to cheer you up. And I never turn down an opportunity to annoy Seoras! Ruairidh will be glad I have a bit of annoying-ness out of my system, so thanks Seoras! Mairianne and I stayed over in Inverkip, not on Colin’s sofas, but in beds in their new house! Pleasure to get the tour of their new pad and keep Nma company for a night. Although m legs were tired after going up and down their three levels!

Scotland seems to be having all it’s yearly sunshine quota in one week just now! It has been scorching! And unexpected. I had packed on Monday as I went up to my parents before leaving the bonny Isle, and I had no inkling that the weather was going to be so amazing- I even packed my boots! It warmed up on Wednesday morning and I unpacked them before leaving, but my sandals etc were 1hr15min away at home! I’ll managed I thought. I landed in Glasgow airport, and I was in a puddle on the ground! Toasty warm, (more like oven hot!) and worse, city stuffy! Thank goodness for shops with sandals & t-shirts! I was SO glad to get home on Saturday night after a day of bus and ferry travelling. To get home to my own stash of summery clothes! And hang up that jacket I took with me, and had to carry back home, after never wearing it! This has been such a sudden change really. Usually, you have a more gradual introduction to warmth, i.e. you go from having jacket and scarf, to just jacket; to taking your jacket just in case; to leaving the jacket and taking a cardigan or little jacket. I felt quite vulnerable leaving behind my jacket and vest! No rain clouds on the horizon this week. And I’m told it looks good for the week ahead, yipppee! Lots of weeding and planting in the garden, not so yippee, but enjoyable all the same!

And beautiful days mean beautiful scenery, and beautiful sunsets, and beautiful gloaming. I was so distracted driving down from Stornoway on Saturday night. I left just after 10pm, loving the fact that there was still plenty of light, unlike the darkness of a couple of months ago. The sun took its time going down, and the light took even longer to head on over to the other side of the globe. The sky was stunning it is shades of purple, red. deep blue, set off by the sparkle and contrast of the sea. I stopped quite a lot for photos, but all I had was my phone. Such peaceful, awesome surroundings. We are so privileged to live here, even with the wind and the rain!

May, 11pm in Harris

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Merry and brave

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Our seasons seem to have decided to move on- Spring has sprung! I saw quite a few lambs and calves about today as we drove to the beach for an afternoon picnic. But this year Spring seems to be slightly confused, as you may have guessed by the fact that we had a beach picnic today! Yup, blazing sunshine and no rain, and sunburn! We didn’t stop to think about sunhats or suncream, so we’re a bit pink in the face tonight! Let’s hope the sunshine regulates, and shines throughout the summer, and not just for this week in March! March has brought some quite windy, wet days as well though. I feel for all those daffodils in our garden, being tossed about mercilessly. But still, they hold their heads up proudly, defiantly cheerful in the face of bleak days and bitter winds. Daffodils are such courageous flowers. They are one of my favourites. Courage and beauty are themes paralleled in the book ‘Rilla of Ingleside’ (from the Anne collection, by L M Montgomery) which I am reading just now. The ladies of Ingleside resolve to be ‘heroines’ in the midst of the turbulence and menace of war. The daffodil bravely flowers under the first timid warming rays of the sun, while most of the other flower kindred snuggle deeply down, defiantly deferring until the coming of warmer days. Daffodils have such courage. They delight in bursting forth to beautify the earth, despite the harshness of the wind and rain. They are content to sway back and forth, (or whip and lash back and forth as they do here on the rim of the Atlantic!)  glowing with the very essence of the sun above. Such joy. It cheers me up to see their happy faces seeking the sun.

Yellow seems to be the colour of spring around here, with the daffodils, and the gorse bushes flowering as well. Gorse is another of my favourites of the botanical world. They seem so dependable, and solid. Untouchable, with their pointed needles. Their gnarled branches speak of wisdom, and their delicate bright yellow flowers reveal a sense of humour, delighting in existence under the sun and in the face of the wind. There is a combined flavour of old age and youth with gorse. Their crowning glory, it has to be said, is the perfume of their flower. So delicate and winsome, with a comforting tone of coconut. Yup, the glorious scent of coconut in the wilds of Scotland! We don’t smell it as strongly here at home, where the surrounding area is so open and the wind blows it all away. But it is just beautiful in the sheltered area around my parents’ house. Beauty is all around us, all the time, I have to admit. But it’s easier to see it illuminated in spring sunshine.

Curtain day

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What a beautiful day we had today, for a change it seems! We have had so much rain and wind these past months, its so refreshing to have some blue skies and sunshine! It was if a curtain had lifted between the seasons of winter and spring. A fresh breeze, birds chirping, new shoots emerging from ground and twig. Sunshine is good for the heart, and motivation! I had a curtain motivated day today, to suit the weather changes! It was a perfect drying day for the washing, and I had been waiting for a day that wasn’t too windy, or windy at all  (even plain windy here can be too windy!), so that I could wash our new curtains and get them out without causing any damage or having to fish them out of the loch if they blew away. Ruairidh has had a few packs of Ikea’s hem yourself curtains around for a long while, and I had hemmed a pair a few months ago for the guest rooms. Yup, you read correctly, I hemmed one pair, for two bedrooms! They are quite generous curtains, so one per window was fine as a make-do for a while until I managed to get around to doing any more. They took me a wee while to do. I didn’t want to use the iron-on stuff they come with, because, frankly, I think they’re rubbish! What’s the point in going to all the effort of putting them on, when they just fall off, or come off in the wash? I’d much rather just sew them, even if I’m no expert seamstress. I took a while with that first pair, figuring out lengths and how to go about it with my measuring tape, scissors, pins and magic removable pen. It didn’t help that the pair of curtains (note, from the same pack) were both different lengths !?? Ikea! Anyway, I got there in the end, even remembering to add an extra 8cm for shrinkage as per instructions. I think this was before our last communion weekend, and I knew I wouldn’t get to maching sew them in time before guest arrived to stay with us, so I decided to just run a tack, neatly and with plenty of stitches to make sure they stayed-put! I still haven’t got the sewing machine out. But today, I measured and cut and tacked another pair, in a fraction of the time it took previously- I knew the formula. So, one pair up and waiting a wash and shrink;, one pair washed, ready for a quick iron and hanging (unless I risk the machine, but our next communion weekend is coming up next weekend, so I doubt that!). Who will notice the white, clumsy thread on the hem anyway?!

Ruairidh had a busy day today too. Paperwork in the morning, followed up the the continuation of Operation Fireplace for the rest of the day! Operation Fireplace is an epic. Last year (or was it last year and a few months ago?) Ruairidh began the re-vamp of the fireplace in the manse living room. The old one had been cracked and, lets face it ancient, ugly, decrepit, and so on. Instead of getting somebody else do to the work and with the goal of saving some money from the manse funds, Ruairidh decided he could, and would, handle it. It still hasn’t been finished. Some of you may be noticing a pattern here! Not just with Ruairidh and I, but the manse too! Unfinished fireplace, undecorated kitchen, unvarnished doors, unfinished…. On Tuesday I tackled the hand-rail on the wall going up the stairs. Made of standard pine, unvarnished, and… dirty, manky. Unnoticeable in the passing, but when I went to give it a wee clean a while back, ugh I realised that those dark bits were stains, not just the wood! They came off! With lots of Cif cream and elbow grease. Whoop! I love clean things. WHY it hadn’t been varnished in the first place, I don’t know. Anyway, Peigi has now moved in, watch out house. I was having a sanding-and-varnishing couple of days, between finishing the last coat on the living room door and a couple of coats on the wooden surround and mantel for the fireplace, and the handrail was going to get some too! I arms are a bit sore after scrubbing with Cif, sanding and varnishing, but I smile every time I’m on those stairs, and lovingly caress what I know is clean, will be easy to clean, and is so soft and shiny. (Yup, welcome to my world. I have to substitute the studying with something these days!) Remember to appreciate the hand rail the next time you visit, it needs a little love after its previously neglected life.

Yes, this may all seem mundane to some, but all these bits and bobs are keeping me pretty occupied these days. But obviously, I’m not doing enough because there are still things to complete! The fireplace is getting there though! Until last week, it had been in the exact same state, half-way to completion (presentable but unusable), since last February. Yup, one whole year. Anyway, its good that I can give Ruairidh a hand now. Its looking lovelier each day, and I can’t wait to warm my toes by a real fire again. I’ve been getting my fire-fix when I pop *home* to  Newmarket- *I suppose I should technically change to ‘my parent’s house’ now, but that sounds so COLD! It is home, its just that I have another home now too!* We are aiming ot have it in finished by the communions next weekend, it will have to be presentable then anyway! There may be a slight hiccoup if Ruairidh needs to find a specifi tool to do something, but we hope not. It will be such a pleasure to tick this one off the list! Guess what though?! The curtain came back down. The rain curtain that is. The clouds came, the rain splattered, and the wind rose. Just as well I’d taken the curatins off the line! Oh well, the sunshine was nice while it lasted!

+Photo notes:Some shots from outside in the garden today, and Epic Operation Fireplace.

Yes, one of our washing line posts is that squint! It started keeling over (very quickly- I had to run out to grab hold of the sheets to keep them out of the muddy lawn!) when I had some linen on the line mid-winter. Too much rain in the ground and gales!

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