Winter World

People ask the question: ‘What do you actually do?’, often a summer question from visitors, when answered about Summer work,  the question is asked again: ‘But in the winter?’ and it always amuses me. Winter is probably a busier time than the rest of the year. It is maintenance time, planning time, web work time, holiday time, there is so much to get done in the long winter especially trying to fit in outside work when battling against weather. Or with the added problem of the weather adding to the workload. It would be nice to sort photos out,  tidy the computer, read a book or just chill. But for me there is always something to do that takes me away from messing about! There is always  a project. This year a project we have talked about for many years and that is turning the two semi detached cottages into one. Or at least connecting them so that they can be used as one. To that end I stripped out the kitchen/living room in Seascape as an exploratory exercise and found an old press or possibly in the first place a passageway?

Seascape Living room Hidden press

It was possibly an original passageway as it had been blocked up rather than built as a press. Anyway it will make our job easier and by the look of the original wooden lintels not a moment too soon, they are starting to rot and one is pretty bent. But not bad for over a hundred years in place.

Skyescape Living room

Onwards with the project, a call to Ian our builder he was free for a week and I was happy to prepare for him coming.

Lots of prep’ as usual, behind the scenes work that maximises Ian’s time on Rona, he is used to it jumping from job to job, don’t know if he likes it, But!

Rotten Windows

Needs must when there is quite a bit of catch up to deal with.

Rotten Beads

The windows and beads have suffered at Dry Harbour with all the attention on the New House. But even although we were fully tied up building these past three years it was as much down to the weather rather than time which created the situation we have now, much painting and repairs to carry out.

Leaking Gables

The Gable on the Escape cottage developed a leak all those years ago, but it has been shoved to the back of the cue, not any more. We are going to pick some of it out seal it with plaster and paint on a waterseal.

Torrential Rain

With the weather this January past it is no wonder the gable at Escape is leaking, plus 90+mph winds don’t help. The field here is like a sponge, so wet.

More Gales coming

With more gales coming and no good days to strip the roof it was damage limitation time and best to tie down the debris, all now stripped and ready for putting back on. Soon.

Research and Development

In the middle of it all I remembered we had picked up some pie casings from my old friend Alastair at Kyle Bakery in Bonar Bridge, the idea is to try out making some venison pies for sale. We tried various recipes and they turned out really good but many lessons learned. The venison curry was probably the best although the mince pie was close.

Storm Damage

During Storm Brendan the tide was exceptionally high and the waterpipe at the bothy which has never had a problem before was exposed, a delicate job to replace the stone lies ahead.

1878 Lintels

Back to the cottage and the prep’ work goes on on really wet days quite a thing to consider that these lintels were most likely put into this passage in 1878 when the house was built. When we took them out they were not that rotten in fact I’m going to slice one to see how old the timber was and to make a plaque I think.

Out of the Water

With more gales coming it is not wise to have the boat out on the mooring, there is a problem with the hull to so the less it is in the water at this time the better.

Calm Evening For a Change

It is not all doom and gloom, there have been some calm days and clear (few) but when they come you really appreciate them. Bit of work to keep putting the boat in and out of the water but it saves sleepless nights.

Calm days mean trips to Portree and none more urgent than the sheep off to Portree.

It was a calm crossing and we made good speed

No glorious sunrise in the foggy morning but no less stunning.

It was good to get in early and find it even calmer in Portree, it was calm all day so no rush for once and I even managed a check up at the very good Portree Dentist.

Back to Rona late, all the bits and pieces for repairs packed into the new workshop, the Blue Container. It has turned out a good wood workshop so the window frame and beads will be sorted out here

Although a wee calm spell it was not long before another gale appeared and with the tide highest in the dark at 6am there was no other option but pull the boat ashore then.

Happy days.

Don’t know if the scaffold would pass muster but it was effective and very soon after Ian arrived we were through the wall, tonnes of stone removed and re-building.

For me (and my back) a few heart stopping moments but Ian took it in his stride. More pictures in the next blog. I am still playing catch up.

About Bill Cowie

I've been living on the island since April 2002, alone for the first 5 years, my partner L joined me in 2007. We manage the Island for a Danish family who bought the Island in the early 90's. Their hopes for the Island are to make it self sufficient supporting its inhabitants and that is where we come in. We look after the stock, 3 holiday cottages, machinery, boat and of course the visitors. It is pretty challenging but it is a beautiful place to live and work, we love it and strangely enough we love it even more in the depths of winter when all is quiet apart from the gales and rain. We do a bit of fishing, stock work, stalking deer and loads of other stuff. We have good support from lots of people whom we have met over the years and have become involved in the Island. Too many to mention here but keep an eye on the blog, they'll be there for sure in the future.
This entry was posted in Daily Doings, The Views and of course the weather. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Winter World

  1. Claire Calder says:

    Love seeing all your news.
    It doesn’t look like you’re planning on taking things easy anytime soon.
    Hope you are both keeping well and wishing you all the best for the coming year. Xx

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