Thursday 30 September 2010

Lexies revisited

Robin couldn't leave without a trip up the hill to see Lexies
We take cake and coffee
Edith takes photos
It was the most perfect morning. I've not been up here for a while.
Janne's visit was the last time
Lexies 2007
I do love it here. Edith's perfectly restored, perfectly loved holiday residence!
An old croft that until 2007 was a ruin sitting forlornly on the hillside
It isn't too neat, it isn't too tidy
but it has order and ensures that visiting family and friends
are comfortable and cosy without the need for running water and electricity
Candle power
The compost loo
This year there is an addition. Up in the rafters swallows have
taken up residence. A delightful spot - surely they
must be excited at the prospect of returning  next summer? It's
constructed so carefully - tiny dollops of mud! A rather whimsical
woolly  feature by the front door completes their little home.
As well as Robin and I, Edith's cousin and his wife are visiting. Edith
unravels her hammock to show where she sleeps - sometimes.
She's never in focus, as she never stops moving
but occasionally she sits for a moment and reflects
Robin signs the visitors book. Absolutely everyone who comes must sign it!
We sit outside in the last late burst of  summer sunshine eating cake and drinking coffee.
The plates and mugs are washed outside in the burn and drained 
on the draining board under the trees
It's the time of year when the hillsides and mountains take on a golden ginger tinge
Coming back down to earth, we pass Edith's garden shed next to
her 'real' house. It's thatched in heather.
I do love coming up to Lexies. You never quite know what you'll
find here and Edith, as always, is the perfect hostess. I
do love her enthusiasm - long may it continue.

Thursday 23 September 2010

More on the edge!

My two little boys like to go
It involves lots of hanging about
and waiting
They work as a team
and help and support one another, 
albeit in a somewhat competitive manner
at times!
They wear special shoes
and have harnesses hanging with hooks and wires
Dad, videos the proceedings to be watched and
dissected later.
I'm immensely proud of them. I love living here and love
that these two have developed a passion for a sport they can share together
in the vast area of the Scottish highlands.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

On the edge

Last week I went to the opening of an exhibition in Ullapool at the Macphail Centre
Textiles from the edge of civilisation
I went because earlier in the year I started a project with two women also from the Lochside with the intention of producing a piece of work - a wall hanging that would be put in the exhibition.
Unfortunately due to various other commitments we didn't actually get very far with our project.
The exhibition was of course excellent and such a high standard. Maybe it was just as well we didn't get finished with our offering!
The rabbit, on the edge looking in, was Jan Kilpatrick's contribution.
The women had interpreted the edge of civilization in many different ways. This piece, inspired by flotsam and jetsam washed ashore.
Netting, plastic carrier bags, pipes - our pollution found on the edge.
Our wall hanging, started, one cold winter morning in February with fire burning, cups of coffee and cake. It was to be the story of Culverts, and how without them there would be no road along the lochside, no community, and no little white houses perched along the  edge
 I sketched a culvert, some sheep, some water
 some rocks. It would have been a big wall hanging, starting at the culvert and following the burn (stream) down to the water's edge at the loch
I was interested at the exhibition to see the use of textiles for the rocks and water, the different textures and effects. There were some brilliant and innovative ideas.
Of course we should have carried on and finished our work but even here in the highlands the workload can be heavy and there are many distractions.
 Mr and Mrs Beach Bum from the edge of the seashore caught my eye. I was certain I'd seen them before, they reminded me of someone.
and then I remembered!
  Gill on a recent visit and Niels at Inverewe Garden.
Some people just cannot go into a National Trust shop without trying on the hats!
I'd say these two are on the edge!

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Living off the land

The dream
The reality!
My sweet peas didn't flower either, but they looked quite pretty and green
twirling around the sweet pea sticks
The courgettes however, crossed their fingers and battled on.
They felt at home in the old danish wooden beer crate!
and after constant watching and waiting feeding and watering
we had three two and a half courgettes for tea.
No photograph - sorry, we ate them too quickly.
Ah well, there is always next year!

Monday 6 September 2010

The Summer Isles

Sometimes the weather and settings combine to make the most sublime of days.
The cruise on the Summer Queen to the Summer Isles was just one such perfect day
We left Ullapool
There were others , some under sail, some not
The Ferry to Stornoway slipped by
Look ahead, over to your left, the captain said.
And there in the sky a huge white-tailed eagle flew high above the boat
I had neither the skill nor the lens to capture this amazingly elusive bird of prey. It was a jaw dropping moment. Its immense size - a "flying door" in the sky. We could only lean over the boat rails and stare upward, open mouthed.
We arrive at the sheltered haven of Tanera Mhor, the principal and only inhabited island
in the group of Summer Isles
We sit in the garden overlooking the bay and drink fresh coffee and eat home made scones bought from the tiny
In the late 18th and early 19th century this Island was a herring fishing station, but the herring
fishing trade has long since died and now tourism plays a large part
 in sustaining this tiny community
We leave Tanera Mhor, meaning "Harbour Island" from the Norse.
A comorant swimming with back awash, and neck upright swims by
It's like a painting
The Summer Isles separate sea from sky
The Seascape leaps over the water. Quite a different day from my birthday two years ago
Divers bob up and down in the wake
Ullapool comes into sight
I can't recommend this trip out on the Summer Queen too highly. It takes approximately four hours and
the wild life is abundant (though not well caught on camera by myself!)
And just sometimes, on occasions the weather is truly amazing and the highlands and Islands can be seen in their absolute wonderful sparkling best.
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