Tuesday 30 March 2010

A little bit overcast!

Life here isn't one large glorious view all of the time! Today while having breakfast we could look out of the window at the sleet and snow and wind and rain and
 contemplate over the porridge and boiled eggs the thought of more snow to come
and try and remember that Spring has actually arrived - we think!

Friday 26 March 2010

Love at first sight

Seven years ago almost to the day we found Scotland. We'd never been and on impulse in March 2003  took time out to drive up the east coast of Scotland across the top and back down along the west coast.
We came to Inverewe gardens near Poolewe and marvelled at the cabbages
and the brussel sprouts!
       Inverewe Garden sits on the shores of loch ewe and benefits from the gulf stream.
On Sunday, as in March 2003, we had the garden to ourselves and while it may not have been the best time of year to visit a garden it was still

enjoyable wandering about, peering in through locked greenhouses and reading the labels
of plants
and trees we didn't recognise
It wasn't only the garden on Sunday we had to ourselves, it seemed the whole of the west coast was empty. It's a real joy to drive here, no stress!
 and I may have mentioned before that it's also very beautiful! When we discovered the west coast of Scotland in March 2003 it was love at first sight.
and it still is, for me the most beautiful place. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else

Saturday 20 March 2010

VAT and the underworld

What I should have been doing was filling in and sending off a very detailed and complicated form to reclaim the VAT spent on building and fitting out the house  - but the form is long and wordy and while I recognized individual words on the form as being in English when put together in sentences they didn't seem to make sense. I downloaded the 'help guide' kindly provided by HMRC  to help answer the questions but I think it was written by the same person who wrote the questions on the form......so, I put the form to one side and went down to the bottom of the garden.
 a great way of putting long complicated VAT forms back into perspective!  
 It's a long way from HMRC.gov down here, a slippery, wet, crowded world a jumble of colour and confusion that in a few hours time will be hidden under water again
 The bottom of the garden slowly creeps nearer to the shore
These have been on my blog before they take every available surface, hanging on,

waiting for the tide to turn
dusty pinks and greens
I haven't enhanced the colour just used the history brush in photoshop to put back the colour that was already there - a little red house (it moved slightly) home to a tiny creature.
 There is incredible beauty in close up down here at the edge of the shore. I have to be careful not to step on it. It's under my feet and so much of it.
The difference between high and low tide is approx. four to five metres.
Sometimes I come and sit on this rock. I haven't seen an otter yet but I know they're here. I see herons, cormorants and gulls and once, when we were out in the canoe, a pair of seals. A lady in Ullapool told me there is a seal in the loch called Beverly!  When the tide is in and lapping round my rock  I can look into the water and see crabs scuttling along sideways and fish in their watery underworld
Meanwhile life on the sea bed waits for it's watery underworld to return

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Tidying up

The wood towards the bottom of the garden has been having a bit of a tidy up
Dougie came and chopped down some very tall, extremely thin ash trees. (Dougie put our fencing up for us last summer)
It's wonderful wood for burning and I don't feel too badly at having them taken down, they grow in abundance here and it means there will be more room
for the hazel to flourish - hopefully.
The wood is where the sheep come and sit. They leave their wool behind
draped here and there caught on branches, delicate and lace like
  Threads soldered together like filigree
and gossamer
They don't leave their empty bottles too!  We are still finding old whisky bottles 
abandoned in the garden. Most go to the bottle bank,
but some of the more unusual ones I keep. I like the slightly old fashioned look of them. Made of tough glass they have survived a number of years out under the stars. It feels right they should survive a few more in comfort!
Engrossed in the garden in amongst old bottles and sheep's wool I feel I'm being
Mmmm - time to go in and put the kettle on!

Sunday 7 March 2010

Pushing up the daisies

I'm tired of the snow. To be fair much of it in the last few days has gone, at least from the lower slopes and down at sea level where we are. Determined in my quest to hunt out spring  I found some daisies in the garden,  maybe we skipped spring and went straight into summer?
This primrose - looking tired but spring like has struggled to get here through builders rubble, rocks and snow
 and my four snowdrops! 
Things must be looking up!

Friday 5 March 2010

Spring came crawling by

I've been looking for the first signs of spring. The last signs of summer are evident. But a couple of days ago on Ullapool hill I almost trod on and squashed the first sign of spring I've seen apart from snowdrops.
    This dear little chap came crawling by making his way across vast tracts of snow in search of - what?  A very good question! somewhere that wasn't so snowy perhaps.
I wanted to pick him up and help him - put him down on some lush green leaves
I wasn't sure this twig would be the answer - even in bud it didn't look much to sustain a small furry caterpillar. I left him to his own devices.
We were stretching our legs on Ullapool hill and nothing green at the top to tempt a caterpillar
 We were feeding our senses on the wide open views
 Ullapool below sits at the mouth of Lochbroom
and our house sits near the other end the loch - roughly ten miles from Ullapool and the nearest shop.
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