Friday, 29 January 2010

The weather runs on time!

The weather leaving Ullapool will be calling
at all stations along the lochside
If you miss it there's more following behind.
In between the weather arriving and departing it's calm

  but it isn't long before the next weather arrives depositing its snowy passengers onto the platform!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Seeing and doing

I was reading someone's blog today - as you do, (I can't remember whose)
and they said they thought they should be recording more about what they were doing and less about what they were seeing.
Well, I think I've cracked it! It's entirely possible to do both

'Seeing'  the tennis whilst 'doing' the ironing! Tomorrow I shall start ironing the socks to justify switching the television on at 8.30 in the morning!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Loch Glascarnoch

Niels has spent a lot of time recently working, and that, combined with the snow has meant less walking than usual. However yesterday we really did need to get out, stretch our legs, and run around in the cold winter air.
Loch glascarnoch is roughly 10 miles from our house on the main A835 road into Inverness.
Sometimes loch glascarnoch looks like this. This was in November. The colour scheme can best be described as ginger. I stopped the car on that particular day

to take a picture of two whooper swans on the loch. They were a long way off and I agree rather than swans they look like a couple of empty plastic milk containers! I liked the way the cloud had fallen out of the sky and arranged itself so tastefully just above the water.

There were no swans yesterday, and the clouds had retreated - though only just. The surrounding hills took on a stripey appearance as the snow remains undecided whether to stay or to go,

and the water was cold and icy, the swans had made a wise decision.
Loch glascarnoch can be described as dreary, bleak and treeless and indeed sometimes it is, but like many places it can be greatly improved by the weather!

last autumn it looked magnificent. You can just see the track at the bottom of the hill we followed yesterday

But even in winter when it's overcast and the light is fading

there is much to see that is beautiful. Wonderful patterns and shapes and light and colours

muted pink and blue opaque ice, it seems to absorb any colour there might be from the surrounding hills and sky

It's such a vast and empty landscape. It's impossible to convey in photos.  I often feel very small when I'm in it.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The pecking order

The birds come into the garden by the bucket full. With or without the snow there is always a large number both at the feeders and on the ground.

With the prolonged snow, birds that wouldn't normally share

have had to learn a bit of give and take

                            and brush up on their aerodynamic skills                                

But some birds just aren't prepared to call a truce. This blackcap had no doubt where he fitted into the pecking order -

right at the top. He seemed unaware of his size -  small, and quickly gained the reputation of playground bully with a particular aversion to blue tits

The fieldfare had no (bird)table manners and used all his energy to chase off the thrushes and blackbirds hardly leaving time for lunch      

And this was lunch! Niels would watch (Niels is a husband and not a bird, though he would say he was henpecked!) as his favourite apples and cheese went out into the garden each day. Some days I'm sure I caught him looking longingly at the bird table!

I've never thought of myself as especially a bird person and I don't have masses of bird knowledge, but they are delightful to watch and it somehow feels a privilege they come into the garden to feed. These long tailed tits are so flighty and sociable together, they could teach the blackcap and fieldfare  a bit of social etiquette!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Coigach Assynt

For me the best place ever. How I love it. Its remoteness, its beauty and its intimacy.

Why should I find it intimate? I don't know and I can't explain it. A group of funny shaped mountains that rise out of nowhere that feel familiar and permanent that have been there since the beginning

The road to Achnahaird

Suilven through the winter haze

The weekend Guardian newspaper featured Assynt in its "Lets move to" series recently

Achnahaird beach. Fortunately its remoteness keeps the crowds at bay - that and the winter I guess! Stac Pollaidh flanked, I think, by Cul Mor on the left and Cul Beag on the right

It's soooooo beautiful and so much of it

The Summer Isles - even in the winter!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Wrapping up and packing up!

It's cold and very snowy

and icy

The temperature gauge on the car read  -13c on a journey recently into Inverness

The snow first fell on December 18th and has continued on and off ever since.

Inside it's warm and cosy. It's twelfth night and the Christmas decorations must come down. Some people take the decorations down on Boxing Day but that's because they put them up in September!  

Not us. We were still hurtling bits and bobs and baubles at the tree on Christmas Eve and hoping we would be in time for Christmas

a strange mixture of homemade things


little pixies that come and help or maybe hinder. In Denmark you give them porridge on Christmas eve - with or without porridge they were plonked on the tree along with our more 'grown up' decorations


danish flags

and candles which are so magical when lit, normally on Christmas day, with a bucket of water placed nearby - just in case!

And the effect of all that Christmas Eve hurtling. A sort of mish mash of many happy memories, of little bits and pieces some looking tired but nevertheless on the tree they must go.
Now they are taken down and packed away until next year

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