Thursday 29 January 2009

Same view, different sunrise!

We've had some spectacular sunrises recently. Here is this mornings taken from out of the guest room window. Luckily there wasn't a guest in the room at the time, as I had to scramble over the bed to get to the window!

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Movie Star

Lamb Chop has stopped limping! I told her I'd make a movie. She could become famous. She wasn't that interested. But she was interested in a slice of bread and showed how she could eat it using no hands, no table manners, no stops, no pauses for breath. She was keen to help make the film - the camera looked promising (tasty). Whilst filming I pointed to a piece of bread she'd missed. She couldn't quite work it out, and as you can see she's not the brightest cookie, but she's very funny and it's nice not see her limping past the window. Meanwhile she continues to eat all the scraps, the bird seed, the tree bark, and any blade of grass or anything that might grow in what I try to call my garden!

Friday 23 January 2009

Domestic Goddess!

The day started with promise. Niels was coming home. I wanted him to see I'd been busy.
I made a cake for his return. The recipe used lots of ripe bananas, which was handy as I had a bowl full of them and wanted to use them before the fruit flies moved in. The walnuts were a present from some friends who live in the Dordogne and have a walnut tree in their garden!
And here is my banana and walnut cake, looking wonderful, just before it sunk. Actually it didn't sink too much. The last cake I made I gave to the birds, and I noticed they had problems taking off.
When Niels went, the contents of the kitchen cupboards were still under construction. It's impossible organising cupboards just as you want them. That bottle of balsamic vinegar is always to tall to stand up, and all those silly little packets of nearly finished things, where do they go?
We'll manage without balsamic vinigar and on my next trip to the supermarket I'm taking a tape measure as we now have a height restriction on packets, jars and bottles!
We can't remember whether we ordered a door for the dishwasher, and the pelmets or plinths at the bottom of the cupboards need to be fitted
and there isn't any skirting board
but it's mine. My order, my things, my methods my home!

Thursday 22 January 2009

Over the rainbow

The day provided both sun and rain in equal measure. Now, if I could just find that pot of gold! According to my calculations it's at the bottom of the garden!

Monday 19 January 2009

Driving Home

The predicted gales didn't happen and the house and us stayed intact! Drove Niels to Inverness Airport today, he will be in London for the week on business. Driving home from the airport it was unbelievably beautiful, it takes your breath away. This is Loch Droma. It's a loch that's been photographed a zillion times. As you come over the brow of the hill on the A835 towards Ullapool and descend to the Dirrie More (gaelic, meaning "The High Ascent" it hits you in all its glory, perfectly set amongst trees and mountains. It sits and waits, the perfect photo opportunity.
Last week there were six or seven swans on this loch. They were either Whooper or Bewick's swans. I know Whooper swans are bigger but I need a Whooper and a Bewick's swan to be sitting next to one another to make that distinction! They weren't there today, could they have been on the way to their winter quarters from Iceland? Siberia? to Slimbridge? With their own inbuilt Sat Nav devices they won't have so many question marks as to where they have come from and where they are going!

Saturday 17 January 2009

A bit of a draught

And so, we've spent time today tying up the caravan (best boy scout knots)
and weighing down the tarpaulin
and hoping the engineer's calculations on wind stability for the house were correct!

Friday 16 January 2009

My space!

I should be creating my space - maybe I already have! This 'mess' is my creative area. It's where I sit (if I could sit down) and create creative things and have order, and brushes, and paints, and inks, and pens and paper, and articles in magazines, and reference books all to hand. They are to hand, sort of, but not in an especially orderly sort of way, and I suspect by the time I found what I was looking for I would have forgotten why I wanted it. Meanwhile as I slowly gain momentum, and prepare myself for the task of creating order in my space, I have taken to staring out of the window - because it's easier,
and I have become inordinately interested in studying birds! It requires only that I look, no effort needed. I don't have to find a home for them, put them in any particular order, or put them away when I've finished with them
An assortment of feeders hang outside the kitchen and dinning room windows. Peanuts, fat, seeds and sunflower hearts.
Some days when it's very windy these tiny little blue tits blow off course, and make several attempts to land. They've got such incy little legs
I'd like to put a little jacket round his shoulders!
There are siskins and many other little birds, none of which stay still long enough for me to photograph. More practice.
But tomorrow I must, I really must start to find homes for stuff, and begin unpacking boxes and making some sort of order to all the muddle. It's as if once the pressure to finish the house came off I just ground to a halt. I looked up inertia - a tendency to do nothing. Do you know, I think I may be suffering a little with that!

Sunday 11 January 2009

Busy doing nothing

We needed a rest. A time to do nothing! This week the only box I've unpacked has been a jigsaw puzzle. I've read, made plans, and some days just sat. Today because we really were beginning to feel just a tiny bit lazy we walked to Rhue Lighthouse by way of filling a wet and windy Sunday afternoon
Rhue lighthouse sits at the entrance to lochbroom, beyond it lie the summer isles. Very summery it wasn't!
It's difficult photographing wind, but this picture shows Niels hanging onto his glasses!
The walk was bracing and exactly what we needed after a week of inactivity
Ardmair point is approx. 3 miles out of Ullapool going north. In the summer there is a caravan and camp site where holiday makers come to enjoy the wonderful scenery, walks, sailing, wild life. Today as through most of the year it was deserted, but none the less still beautiful and made up of wonderful colours of shades of blues and purples and greens
Tomorrow I shall begin homemaking but this past week I have just enjoyed and marveled that I live where I live and have a home I can make again.

Monday 5 January 2009

We made it!

At the eleventh hour when we were tired, ratty and thought, in spite of all the unpacking and building of furniture (Ikea chairs, beds and bedside tables mainly) that we were getting nowhere and should give up, sit down (if we could find a chair) have a cup of tea and book us all in to a hotel for Christmas and the New Year. We managed with the help of our amazingly helpful kids
to bang another cupboard on the wall - at least I think that's what they're doing?!
and to make some sort of order out of the muddle. Our old danish leather chairs held up with string!
We found the Christmas table cloth
spruced up the kitchen
built the guest bedroom
tidied ours
stuck some frosted film to the bathroom window
and with the aid of a credit card removed the air bubbles and pricked out the pattern with a pin
The wonderful plumber gave us water
and we hung, though didn't complete, the bathroom basin to the wall. When fixed, the cupboard won't be supported by the planks of wood you can see on the floor - I don't think!
We put up the shower unit and Niels showed his displeasure at the loud squeaking noise the cabinet door made when opened and closed!
The squeaking is getting quieter!
The rain shower is wonderful but knows no bounds and the wet room quickly advanced beyond the bathroom door and out into the hall! We have temporarily stemmed the flow of rain by putting a piece of wood across the shower cubicle entrance on the floor. The shower room floor tiles need to be done all over again - but just at the minute I'm happy to be in denial and pretend all is perfect!
and even if the floor in the shower room slopes all the wrong way it still looks brilliant!
We decorated the Christmas Stove (not yet installed.) Ullapool had sold out of Christmas Trees and no one had the energy to go and dig one up
and we all had a very merry Christmas!
We had a Boxing Day walk
and between Christmas and the New Year, found the garden seat, stacked the wood and tidied the ladder collection
put up some bird feeders
and kept an eye on limping lamb chop. She's about the same. I don't think it's foot rot, it looks more like arthritis. I don't know anything about sheep ailments, but when she gets up she reminds me of my granny getting up out of her chair!
and lastly on New Years Eve we sat with our friends who had travelled all the way up from Brookwood and enjoyed their good company and food as we saw out the old year and welcomed in the new. The months of work, and towards the end, worry that it wasn't going to happen just faded and were forgotten. Although not finished we had at least managed to provide a degree of comfort with light, water and heat, with chairs to sit on and a place to be with time to enjoy the company of good friends. It was great fun. I'm confident in saying we all had a wonderful time together. The weather was brilliant, cold and frosty, with sunshine and blue skies. The only 'blip' being two of our friends who couldn't land at Inverness airport on the journey up, due to freezing fog, and who had to be diverted to Aberdeen and bussed to Inverness; faced a nightmare journey going home when due to the same weather conditions they sat on a bus all the way from Inverness to Gatwick!!
Thank you to all the workmen, family and friends who helped get us this far.
A happy 2009 to you all
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