It is a strange time, we are normally planning ahead, trying to meet our deadline for guests arriving, dealing with enquiries and getting a little stressed as the days pass all too quickly. This year is completely different. In fact it feels like we are in limbo, it is different from last Lockdown, in fact I would say it is quieter. Even on the sea and in the sky above us, the birds and animals seem to be locked down, apart from the Hen Sparrowhawk that flew into the window first thing this morning. She lay there for 20 minutes stunned, no camera unfortunately, only when I went to feed the sheep did I came across her and she immediately flew off.
The deer are looking good despite the poor weather this last week and continual heavy rain. It is cold and snowing to-day in between sunshine but I am sure it will not lie.
We missed most of Storm Christoph, but overnight it never stopped raining, it was a surprise to see the sheep there all present and correct first thing.
Thinking on weather I am reading this book just now, published by retired Factor Richard Sidgwick, it is £25 but worth every penny. The stories are really fascinating and it is a window into a lifetime in the Badenoch area. Not to mention a brief visit made by the author by invitation of a Stalking tenant to India which again is an eye opener. But Finlay MacKintosh’s description of the weather and living conditions at that time in Scotland are a valuable reference. Anti deer people would benefit from reading it for sure. As it is not available on Amazon or elsewhere just now if anyone is interested I can pass on information for ordering a copy. I do not want to post the email address here.
We read an awful lot just now and because of the ever expanding bookshelf I have been issued with a ‘Kindle’ for Christmas (it is not the same). But I have re-read three John Le Carre books so far since Christmas. I can say I think I read faster on the Kindle?
The thing about this time of year out here is that you have long periods of Grey, then we get a half day or even a few days of glorious sunshine and the grey days disappear. This half day was exceptionally clear and cool last week, the poor days become a distant memory.
But all too soon we are back to normal, Storm Christoph certainly missed us but the Northerly wind was quite fierce. I think the new fishfarm directly across from Dry Harbour had a hard time with a huge swell testing the anchors, not to mention the one at Portree which has lost a lot of fish due to Seal predation and the nets getting burst by them.
Repairs carry on here too, the JCB is going to be a horrible repair as it is right under the cab and trying to determine the length of the pipes to replace the solid (rusted) steel ones is proving difficult, as well as the cost!!!!!!! with 8 to replace. First of all I have to power wash it and have not had a suitable day to do so.
Repairs are a daily occurrence, with the amount of machinery and kit here no wonder, I lent across the batteries in the Lodge generator shed to check the water level and this lead came away in my hand. Panic. I had no idea what that would mean but the power stayed on so I could at least see. A quick call confirmed I had two strings of batteries not just one but I had to hurry up and replace it. I had to hand a longer lead so that did the job. Another lesson in electrics (my least favourite job).
Our winter project continues but now with no pressure. The February guests, we had a full house for two weeks, cancelled so no worries. However the work still has to be done and most nights when at Dry Harbour we work till dark or 5pm.
We are turning the two smaller cottages into one, something I have been wanting to do for years.
Lorraine is busy shifting seats, settees and pictures from place to place, not my forte I’m afraid.
I’m more hammer and chisel!!!
Wednesday our ferry arrived, loaded with mail and stores, belated Christmas cards and a couple of presents which were lovely to get.
Ewen our ferryman dropped of some langoustines for Christmas, very welcome when we cannot get out ourselves to fish. I cooked the lot yesterday and froze them down. Apart from a bowl of them for tea last night, yum.
I had made an outdoor kitchen (it has been called a mud kitchen?), I had hardly used it so it was pressed into service and worked very well. Especially the quality control to see if each batch was cooked, that meant eating at least one per batch. Which was probably not a good idea given I had my first Gout attack last weekend. The list of foods to avoid are everything I eat, not so good.
Finally to-day it is a paperwork, computer day. It is snowing outside now and lying. Tomorrow I’m heading North so hopefully the weather will be kind, I am looking forward to the walk and trying out my toes.