No one said building a house would be easy and for sure it adds another dimension to our busy life out here, but we love the challenge!! I can picture the day when we are sitting on the balcony sipping a wee glass of something, bring it on!!
In the meantime for the last months house building click on: The New House.
Trips to Portree have been pretty regular this month, been good for stores, mail and a paper. But important to keep feeding the tradesmen. We maximise the load every time.
Not a bad way to go to Rembrandt/Jewsons and MacGregors who have been very good at dropping things on the pier for us.
It has been a calm month which made for easier trips, but wet, which means, ‘ Midgies’!!!
And when you have breakdowns, lying below the tractor has not been much fun, we have had quite a few burst hydraulic pipes, diesel issues, punctures and on going faults that are sent to try us.
However even in the rain it is nice to look out and see this large family? group walking quietly past Rona Lodge.
Yacht numbers are almost the same as last year which is surprising given the weather. Not so many foreign visitors. We thought that after we closed the Lodge/shop to visitors word would have got round and we would have had less yachts, but not so. The guy on the boat runs Dan’s chip shop, Chubba who is Hungarian. He makes the best chips in Portree!!
The cottages have been busy, with quite a few return guests, nice to see Andrew, Wendy, Josh and the dog.
Fay and the kids enjoyed a sunny day catching a few Pollock despite the glorious sunny day. Nice to get a calm day.
Sadly one day sun then a few days of rain. This morning it is very like a January/February morning with a full gale, pouring rain and dark.
Hugh was away in the middle of the month so I thought I would do a bit of clearing up myself, I’d just finished and was rather pleased with myself when the track came of. I got it back on and thought I was doing well. But did not notice the other one was off, until Hugh’s return and he pointed it out!!!
Another breakdown, this time central heating, Calum was called and I needed an old tap so I got the kitchen sink too. The central heating is not the best and with four systems on Rona there is always something needing attention. Seized pumps, leaking valves, rusty fuel lines, there is plenty to keep an eye on.
In between house building, looking for a dry day, the sheep needed to be sheared. Leaving them too long because of the weather and waiting for a shearer meant that they are open to fly strike. One of our old ewes suffered an attack and that prompted me to shear them myself. My back stood up to it which was a surprise, some of the earlier clipped sheep I did resembled the ‘Specsavers Add’ but the second lot were a lot better, I’m pleased to say.
Off to Lochmaddy on family business just for one night only, good to see my old haunts, 9 years ferrying back and fore on the original Hebridies in the late 70’s early 80’s then its successor made for a nostalgic trip. Too brief though.
I was intrigued at the body lying on the deck of this boat, turned out it was a training dummy.
Called at Dunskellar for a Morag breakfast, good to be back in Sollas and ‘quickly’ catching up. I spent many hours here in the 80’s happily roaming the Machair with Iain shooting rabbits, seems we did have an impact, there are very few now. But hundreds of geese, maybe time for a return?
Back to Rona on the Monday and quickly into house building.
Craig was up from Cailness to help out for a while, we had a good week and on Sunday we had an early morning prowl to check out the stags for the coming season.
When crossing a steep ditch the trailer back came up sharp and caught Craig on the lower back. It was a bit sore but we carried on. However, it became apparent that all was not well and with him in a lot of pain and seizing up we decided to call the lifeboat. Better to be safe, I was not comfortable taking Craig for a check up as the sea was a bit bumpy, it could have been spinal. But it turned out to be a badly bruised kidney.
In the middle of the mayhem we had a visit from Alan Squires, his family and relatives.
Sadly I did not have as much time as I would have liked with them, but it was a good day and I’m sure they enjoyed Rona, seeing the house where it all started.
As well as many trips to Portree, I’ve been back and fore to Arinish to pick up Hugh. handily he got stuck in the wet ground above the pier but Paul was at hand to pull him out. The bonus was a box of welcome, Raasay pork from Paul, good sausages!! Check out Paul’s blog
On the way home we lifted the lobster creels and had a bit of luck, better still I saw some nice stags very wary at the South end.
Back into the harbour and I saw the type of boat I’d really, really like for Rona. Maybe next year, we’ll see. Got to build a house first. Anyway the interesting thing about this boat, it had a now common species aboard. The greater spotted WiFi hunter. This species recently emerged on Rona although I think they are common around the West Coast, especially at the Fairy Pools, Old Man of Storr area. Often seen holding a mobile phone aloft in the hope of attracting the elusive WiFi. Despite signs asking visitors to keep out of the house area, we found two specimens walking around. On asking what they were looking for they were very keen to see the Wifi and its subspecies, the password. As it was late at night we declined to help them, thereupon they toodled down to the bothy. Being keen WiFi hunters they called on Hugh who is resident in the bothy and got him out to see if he could help. Suffice to say he could not help them locate the password. Leaving two if not three WiFi hunters desolate at missing the chance to locate a live WiFi on Rona. Last seen heading to Portree where I understand there has been a real explosion of WiFi’s this year.
Remember the tractor, after many attempts at sorting the problem including a new battery it turned out to be a badly corroded ignition switch. A call to MacRa’s and a replacement was on its way. Good old Lucas.
We have had quite a few trying moments with the house but this must rate up there with the worst. We have to floor the building to give Ian a platform to work on, it is not the finished floor. We tried to get waterproof Caberboard but it is as elusive as the WiFi. We did get ordinary 22mm but we have to waterproof paint it. An easy job in the summer, not so. We have been dodging now for three weeks trying to get it done. But after two whole days of nearly dry weather we got it done, hurray.
Another job was to buy, paint and erect the new hen shed. After a bad attack of red mite and a collapsing hen shed there was no alternative. New shed arrived.
Old shed was cremated, red mites too.
We had an interesting visit from Paul and Wendy Roach our second Air BnB customers. Turned out he was originally from Wales but had lived in America for over 30 years. He sprung a surprise on us by getting me to join him in a radio broadcast from Rona all done by the ‘WiFi’ in Rona Lodge and with an Iphone, Amazing. Like all our guests it is always a pleasure to get a bit of time with them and to hear their story. Paul is a Minister in Fort Worth, Texas.
On one of the few very sunny hot days Lorraine spotted George getting the shade, the sheep (our mowers) had knocked over the bench in search of the grass below it.
It feels like it has been the worst August we have ever experienced weather wise, but there were quite a few good days and Paul’s neighbours at Dry Harbour, Andreas and Kasia had asked to go out for a fish. It was an enjoyable evening and we had quite a mixed bag including Octopus which I was going to throw back but Andreas went quite mad, so we kept them with him promising to cook them for me.
Into the harbour and Red Moon was at anchor enjoying the late sunshine.
The Octopus you can have but you must do the scrubbing, that was the deal.
Meanwhile up at the quarry where Hugh has spent an awful lot of time, the monsoon was scouring the ditches. I see that there has been landslides along the cliffs at Scorrybreac, no surprise.
Our next landing craft is coming soon. The windows are on it and quite expensive they are, so to try and make for a level delivery we have carted in the usual hundreds of tonnes of rock to make the shore level. At last.
Over to the Escape cottage for the seafood extravaganza and the wine did not disappoint.
Yet more wine and a lovely lobster bisque.
Followed by past con Polpo, excellent, almost meaty taste.
Just when I thought I was finished Andreas surprised us with this lovely dish. Well fed and a wee bit well oiled we headed for home, late.
It was a poor Tuesday so we decided at last to fit the flush loo to the bothy, at last we can have a toilet there with no ‘immediate’ worries, let us hope our system works.
Grabbing the chance on a calm Thursday I took Hugh to Raasay then over to Portree early in the morning. Unfortunately my car would not start. A light had been left on. A quick call to Micky at M2 Motors and I had a hired car. I lost an hour but no worries I got all my jobs done, hair cut and picked up fuel then back to Rona.
Always nice to come into the harbour, only one yacht in, they may have been WiFi hunters, not sure.
Saturday came, the usual piles of baggage coming and going but not a world record yet.
Hugh came back on the Saturday ferry with the part that had broken on the digger and once fixed immediately got back to finishing the road behind the house.
Great to have the ditches shedding the water off the road. Another ‘ At Last’.
Monday Mid Day: It has been a grim morning, I guess the whole of Scotland has it by now. Grey, grim, pouring and blowing a gale. We’ve had a busy wet morning with a dirty fuel issue in the digger. But all of a sudden it has become very bright. It has gone from February to late summer all at once.