Saturday, 17 June 2017

New Car day....again!

Well, we'll see how long this one lasts...today we collected our latest "new" car, this time a Jeep Patriot.  We've somewhat lost confidence in Landrovers, since the demise of our Discovery 3 after only 8 or 9 weeks.  So far so good...not as roomy or as luxurious, but still very popular with the whole family...and if it goes, that's the main thing.  It might encourage us to travel a bit lighter for a change...or take a trailer!  

Friday, 16 June 2017

Final Father's day push!

A much quieter day at work today, as the only order which will now make it in time for Father's Day are those who paid the astronomical Saturday guaranteed delivery charge...not many people were desperate enough to do that!  There were a few, though, as well as some stragglers who're just taking their chances on ordinary mail.  
Yair wasn't much caring about Father's Day....as long as he got his dinner, he was happy!

And I even started catching up on all the blog posts I've been postponing...well, some of them anyway!

Sunday 4th June - and relax!

Time for a chill out after a frenetic couple of days

Saturday 3rd June - Oban Mod

Day two of the Mod and my turn this time.  I was on the verge of withdrawing from some competitions but went for some frantic cramming of words instead the night before.  I was pretty glad I did, as it meant I got 6 firsts, a second and a third.  It was lovely to get such encouragement and therefore inspiration to keep going at it all.

Friday 2nd June - Oban Mod

A long but relatively enjoyable day was had by all, with Alasdair competing in his first Mod...he came away with two gold certificates, while Ealasaid got a silver and a bronze.  Suspected tonsillitis meant she didn't do her usual million competitions, so she had a much more relaxed day than usual.  Hope it doesn't become a habit!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

A trip to the shore

With a houseful of recuperating invalids, we didn't make it off to church today, but we did manage to get out and about in Lismore, with the highlight for dogs and children being a trip to the shore at Point...I think it's safe to say the adults quite enjoyed it too!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Work, meetings and painting

A busy day!

Wednesday without internet!

It started as a normal day, but Wednesday soon became a rather challenging one, as the broadband on the entire island went off at 10 in the morning.  There was much consternation all round - hard to run an internet business without being able to access any orders; hard to submit assignments to the Open University without internet access; hard to find out if there are bookings for your holiday cottage when all bookings are made online...the list goes on.  And that's not even touching on the fact that there were countless families on the island forced to actually hold real, live, face to face conversations with each other!  Disappearing engineers and not very helpful call centres meant a lot of rather disgruntled BT customers on Lismore today!  Still, the passing Glensanda boats were oblivious to the issues of the Liosaich, as they got on with their own business nearby.  

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Old friends

The first old friend to feature today was the good old Kia...I honestly think we were all a lot more upset by it's impending demise than that of the newer cars.  However, the old girl had other ideas...a few tweaks here and there and Colin managed to get her going...Herbie rides again!

There's so much I would like to say about another old friend, but all I'm going to say here is how lovely it was to spend the evening talking with my dear friend Rhoda and how much I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more of her in the not too distant future.  I hope Lismore is ready for this...there's a Muileach coming to town!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Cars should be banned!

So, we dealt with school as usual, work as usual, some garage tidying as usual, Mod practice as usual...and yet another car break down as usual.  This time it's the poor wee reliable Kia that's given up the ghost...something tells me it's time to get a horse instead!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Communion Sunday

It was Communion weekend in our Church, which was a lovely time for all.  Slightly spoiled for Colin as his pager went off in the middle of the service though - not a lot he could do from Oban though.  Much excitement for the boys, as we went home on the "Captain's Boat", i.e. the car ferry.

Rainy Saturday

It's not often we greet a rainy Saturday with unadulterated joy, but today was the exception.  Happy plants, full water tank...happy people!  It also meant we actually achieved some stuff inside the house, rather than disappearing out to the garden at the first opportunity.  And I finally got round to making bread again...it's been a while!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Greenhouse preparations!

I think it's safe to say one of the most exciting things about today was that Colin started work on building my new greenhouse.  He decided it would be better to design and build one from scratch himself, after the disastrous experience we had with the kit one we bought a few months back.  He's almost completed the four sides of the frame in just one afternoon, so looking promising.  Other excitement today included me setting up and trying out my new flame gun...amazing but scary!  Definitely something to,use when there are no children/ dogs/ hens around!  Oh, and we have baby beetroot and parsnips!!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Produce sale preparations

Today's exploits after work included making lots more spice mixes and wild garlic pesto, with a view to finding some new stuff to sell at this year's plant and produce sale.  I even started back to crocheting a few wee things, and I've been thinking through some new photography ideas.  Anything to make my stall a bit more interesting, eye-catching and therefore saleable...we shall see!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Quiet Wednesday

After such a hectic day yesterday, today as much quieter.  Work as usual, then back home in time to shepherd the parents off on the boat with Ealasaid and the Kia. Made some wild garlic soup with some of the results of my foraging yesterday.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Achuaran blitz

After work today, I headed up to Achuaran to assist in the garden makeover underway there.  Before long, I had attacked some fuchsia (as usual) and had started a bonfire/ inferno...as usual!  Even with only one day of work, the garden is looking much better already, with the hedge licked back into shape, the grass given a first cut, various bushes tamed and lots of garden debris and other rubbish burned.  Even managed to photograph so e wildlife and pick lots of wild garlic in some spare moments.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Work, cars and bonfires

Back to work as usual, this sunny but windy Monday.  It's getting busier at Seahorse, so there were plenty of orders to get out.  Still managed to get home at lunchtime though, which meant I could burn the last of the garden rubbish from our clear up last week.  It took a few attempts due to the windy, but my pyromaniac skills won through in the end, so we now have a rubbish free garden.
It was a day of cars as well...the new discovery made its way to the garage to try to find out what's wrong with it.  The Kia came over to the island to be the second island car again to make life a bit easier.  The terrano had some work done on it by Colin and is now operational again...which I suppose technically means the poor wee Kia didn't have to come over. And, most importantly of all, the front of the van was cleared out for the boys (and miss Ealasaid as well, it has to be said!) to play around in.  There was much delight at this and various Dukes of Hazard style moves going on.  My poor wee van!!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Church and a quiet day

We headed off to church this morning as usual despite rather strong winds.  Made it there safely, followed by a lovely lunch with Grandma and Seanair, then back home again in even windier conditions.  We even had to forego our usual trampolining session as it was too windy to be safe.  Still managed to sit outside in beautiful sunshine having some chilled family time in the only sheltered spot in the garden.  Ended the day with an extremely windy walk down towards Salen...I was definitely sporting he windswept and interesting look when I came back!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Fèis and photography

We started today with a trip over to the fèis in Appin. A good time was had by all, thoug the boys could hardly keep their eyes open at one point.  I then headed off back to the ferry, when car disaster struck...the new car started making a horrible, grinding noise, then ground to a full halt.  We won't know anything more till Monday though, so we'll be crossing everything till then.  
Photography club came next, with  lovely day photographing the oyster farm at Laggan, followed by lots of experiments with water pouring on to an umbrella.  

Friday, 5 May 2017

Garden complete...for now!

Well, having been in the garden for over 12 hours today, I think we can finally say operations are complete for the moment at least.  A few millions seeds have been planted, grass cut, bushes and trees pruned, raised beds built, the fence fixed, a new path built...and we even managed to get the new gas barbecue going as well!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Polling Day

It was work as usual to start with today, with lots of orders going out and lots of work getting done in the kitchen.  Then we headed off to the polling station...ie the Hall...to vote in the local elections.  Duty done, we thought we'd get a bit more done in the garden, including having a barbecue, but the rather windy conditions put paid to that idea.  Managed to plant some more seeds, but gave up pretty quickly.  We did plan out a few more raised beds though.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Another gorgeous day

A glorious morning made the walk to work even more special than usual.  Some of the lambs I met en route even deigned to pose for photos...or was it maybe just that it was so hot they couldn't be bothered moving?!  I also took portraits of some of the fences I met...no, I'm not mad, just trying to meet the photography club's latest challenge! 
Lots more outdoor fun when we got home...grass is now cut, more seeds planted, including 3 different varieties of carrot, a new raised bed built and more crazy trampolining fun completed with kiddiwinks.  A relatively full day! 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Back to school and work

The good news was we woke up to a dull, cloudy day, so going back to work and school wasn't so depressing as it could have been.  Mum and Dad came over mid-morning, so Colin was able to come down to Port Castle with me.  Nicky and I got on with Seahorse stuff, while Colin and Simon worked on the kitchen floor.  The old floor is now just about all lifted, so they're hoping to get on with laying the new one soon.  
Back home, and we got a bit more done in the garden...some more flowers planted in the new flower bed Ruairidh and Colin built yesterday and some rubbish burnt up, despite it being a tad too windy for such things.  And of course there was time for some more trampolining fun...it'll either get me fit or kill me!  

Monday, 1 May 2017

May Day holiday fun

We couldn't have hoped for better weather for today's holiday from school.  I had the day off work too, which was a lovely surprise.  French leeks have now been planted, as well as the second tier of my gutter garden - lots more lettuces.  I've put a few lettuces in in the polytunnel too, so it'll be interesting to see if there's any difference in their growth.  Colin managed to do his ladies and still clear the garage out...there's a bit more to be done in it, but it's getting there.  He also built our new gas barbecue, though the gas canister we got didn't fit, so we ended up barbecuing tonight's dinner on a bog standard disposable barbecue - not quite what we had in mind!  After dinner activities included Colin building a walled planting area in front of the garage, a game of football with a visiting local dog, while she waited for her owner to come pick her up and nearly an hour of trampolining fun...there were four of us on it at one point, which was, erm, interesting!   Could have been worse though - Ruairidh was trying to persuade the dogs to join us as well!  

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Fitbit day 1

After church, we had to pop in to a couple of shops for a few things.  The most important was some entertainment for the hens...a big success so far!
I then popped next door to Argos, where Colin insisted on buying me a fitbit...well, ok, I've been after one for ages.  So, obviously the rest of my day was spent playing with my new toy...managed to fit in a  visit to the parents too though.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival

We had a disgustingly early start today, but after that, things most definitely improved.  Despite sore throats and blocked noses, we all trooped off into Oban to this year's Highlands and Islands Music and Dance Festival.  Ealasaid only sang in two competitions this year, coming first in the Scots song, with Skyscraper Wean and second in the song from the shows, singing Tomorrow, from Annie, despite her voice disappearing fast by that time.  Alasdair was taking part in the festival for the first time too...which meant there was no way on earth Ruairidh wouldn't be participating too!  Their rendition of Ten Little Squirrels was one of the highlights of the festival, according to at least one person - it was a unique, fun-filled, enthusiastic performance, which got the biggest cheer of the day in the hall.  It wasn't the best musical performance in the world, but their sheer joy at taking part was wonderful to see and promising for their future.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Polytunnel and planters

Well, yes, it is more gardening!  This time, the polytunnel got a makeover, with all the accumulated rubbish and mess being cleared out.  We're now back to basics, with several empty raised beds waiting for contents and the strawberries and the fruit bushes sheltering happily from the birds.  Lots of planters have also been cleared out of weeds and topped up with compost.  They're now positioned all around the garden, instead of being rammed together inside the polytunnel.  And my new flame gun and hedge trimmer have arrived, so lots more garden fun awaits!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Guess what? Gardening!

So I decided that "work from home" meant complete said work before Monday, but not necessarily today.  Well, it was a dry, mainly sunny, not too windy and not even too cold day, so what else could I do?!  Tier one of my gutter garden along the fence is now complete...just waiting for Homebase to oblige with a delivery of more clips so that tier two can also be completed.  A lovely, long row of lettuce is now happily ensconced in tier one, which I was filling at one end before Colin had finished attaching the other end to the fence.  He was pleased!  Now I'm just hoping that the plants and soil will have a firm enough grip to withstand any gales or other severe weather.  
The hen houses were also given an internal makeover, which also meant I gained lots more manure for fertilising my raised beds.  
Colin had even more fun though, digging out my old raised beds, using the waste from there to fill in gaps along the fence so the dogs/ hens/ children can't escape.  My garden makeover exploits will either get him fit or kill him...watch this space!  I gave him moral support as he did all that though, if sitting at the table planting millions of seeds, passing comment now and again on his digging technique counts as moral support....I'm sure it does!  

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

More Garden Exploits

After work today, I grabbed a quick lunch and then headed straight out to the garden.  Dad and Colin were also having lots of outdoor fun, picking up the remains of the dyke wall, which had collapsed into the road.  Thankfully no one was injured during the collapse, which could have been kind of fatal to anyone unlucky enough to be passing at the time.  They've made not too bad a job of the repair, though Colin wants to add a bit more fencing to make the garden a bit more secure.  
I avoided the rocky weight lifting and got on with some planting instead.  Three bags of potatoes are now planted, plus a couple of planters and a tray of lettuce.  I have also finally got two wall planters I bought several years ago actually attached to the wall.  They're now filled with lobelia and petunia, which will hopefully play well together!  Colin also lined the edge of the stone chip area, where it meets with the lawn area, with large stones, ably assisted by Ruairidh, who even built a wee wall at one bit.  Operation polytunnel is scheduled for tomorrow!  

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Camera experiments

I was quite chuffed yesterday to find a couple of lenses for my camera that I'd lost a while back.  So, apart from work, plus a trip to the cafe at the Comann Eachdraidh with Nicky, the main highlight of today was playing around with the lenses, trying to get used to them again.  The macro one is working well, but I think I need to do a bit more practising with the wide angle one...seems fine at some points but a bit fuzzy some of the time.  Hopefully a good clean will sort it out though.  Interesting to fit so much more into a photo than is normally possible though, or on the other hand, to see so much more in a tiny bit of detail.  

Monday, 24 April 2017

A sunny spring day!

Woke up to beautiful sunshine streaming through the windows...but by the time I was ready to go out the door, hailstones had started falling, closely followed by snow!  It was definitely an interesting day weather-wise.  Gales meant several ferries were cancelled, so Mum and Dad weren't able to get over till the 4pm ferry, instead of the 11am one, despite the valiant efforts of the ferrymen.  I'm just hoping my poor wee plants which have only just gone outside will be able to survive this delightful pre-summer weather.  The hens are most disgruntled with it, as are the children, though for slightly different reasons - the kids were hoping the snow would lie, whereas the hens were hoping for an end to this nonsense and back to their nice, spring sunshine.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring...!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Garden Plans

We were up a lot of last night with poor wee Alasdair, who had a really nasty cough, so we didn't make it to Church today.  We did manage to get off the island a bit later though, to continue my great garden makeover scheme.  Lots of planters and plants later and I'm all set for makeover phase two.  

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Garden Day

Having been absolutely knackered after spending most of yesterday in front of the computer, I decided to avoid it for most of the day today.  Still slightly knackered, but at least it's a different kind of tiredness today, after a pretty productive, outdoors day.  
All of the French plants are now planted up...not sure how they'll cope out in the slightly chillier weather than they're used to, but fingers crossed.  Lots of tidying up done as well, so the garden is starting to look almost respectable.  Colin's also been busy, making a couple of gates to secure one of the patio areas from rampaging hens.  Looking good so far, though they've still to be painted...that's a job for another day though.  

Friday, 21 April 2017

Friday Fun

A day off for me, although Colin was working as usual this morning.  Lots more competitions, Etsy listings, photos and even a bit of cooking made up most of my day...the excitement never ends!  Colin also managed to achieve the virtually impossible by getting the last remnants of the France packing put away.  Must be time to start packing for the next holiday...mustn't it?!  Glad to say the mainland car is now back where it belongs, having been here since bringing all the luggage back from the holiday.  Following a road and boat trip by Colin and Ruairidh, it is now safely parked up on the mainland again...far too risky keeping it here, as it would very quickly die on the deplorable roads on the island.  The poor wee Mazda isn't so lucky, as it's now back on island duty...ho hum.  

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Work from home day

It's a quiet time of year at work, so a good chance to catch up with the kind of things we otherwise never have time for.  One of those things is stocking Nicky's new Etsy shop for China Betty...something I could do from home just as easily as from work.  Made a good start on that, but also got inspired to look at my own wee Etsy shop again for the first time in over a year, so trying to get that going again too.  I even managed to get back into doing some competitions, including looking for some photographic competitions to enter.  I could get used to this working from home thing!  

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Fire training and high school training

A normal day at work for me, but for Colin it was a day spent playing, I mean working, with the fire truck. Despite being deputy crew commander and a former HGV driver, he hadn't ever been put through his training to be a qualified driver of the fire truck.  Today was his first day of intensive training to put that right...round two tomorrow followed by an assessment.  So far so good, though.  
Ealasaid was delighted to discover that the Rector of Oban High School, along with some of the Guidance staff, was giving a talk in Appin school tonight, aimed at P7s who'll be heading up to the High School after the summer.  Not only did she have to sit and listen and even answer some questions, but she had to miss her beloved drama for it.  At least she enjoyed the shortbread!  
A final bit of training for today was mummy sheep teaching her new lambs how to stand in the middle of the road and make any passing cars slow down to as near to stopped as they can possibly achieve without becoming lamb chops...can't start that lesson too early!!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

First day back at work

Well, what more can I say...it was work, and it was the first day back at it.  The end.  Seriously though, it was lovely to catch up with everyone again, especially Florence, of course!  Lots of wee lambs jumping about all over the place now, though none were too keen on posing for the camera.  I'll get them yet!  The beautiful spring flowers were slightly more obliging though.  The children were delighted to be back to school (honestly...I'm sure that's what they said...!) and even more (genuinely!) delighted when Grandma and Seanair arrived over for a couple of nights.  Normality has returned.  

Monday, 17 April 2017

Last day of the Easter holidays

First full day back at home after the holidays...lots to catch up on!  Apart from the unpacking and trying to find spaces for the million and one things we seem to have brought back, we even managed to get some work done in the garden.  One main part was planting up the first batch of the plants we brought back from France.  Looking good so far, but I thought I'd better take some photos quickly before the hens move in for the kill!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

One more sleep!

Well, that is assuming we get any sleep at all, of course!  Two very excited boys are still struggling to get to sleep.  One quite excited girl is still organising herself (too cool to be really, obviously excited, but we know she is really!) so she's not asleep either.  Colin and I are still catching up with the million things we have to do before we leave, so no prospect of sleep for us anytime soon either.  Still, we did manage to achieve quite a lot today, with a load of work done at Achuaran, including putting a number of my photos on display there for guests to buy if they like them but mainly to brighten the place up a bit.  We left some of my cards there too to see if there will be any interest.  Fingers crossed!  

Friday, 31 March 2017

2 more sleeps!

Two more sleeps is the only significant thing about today, as far as certain small people are concerned.  So Daddy did the most amazing amount of work this morning and afternoon.  So it was the last day of term, so cool things were bound to happen in school.  So Mummy went to the hairdresser's and came out with drastically different hair.  So we went to visit Grandma and Seanair.  All that matters is that it's 2 more sleeps!!  No holiday obsessives here.  Nope, none at all.  Don't know anything about that kind of thing.  Nothing whatsoever.  Yeah, right!!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Photography

It's a good job I like photography...today was spent entirely engrossed in photography work.  I've lost count of the number of products I've photographed and edited.  Trying to finish everything off before we leave on holiday is such fun!  Meanwhile, Colin is frantically packing all around me, trying to get everything organised for the holiday.  Everyone else's bags are pretty much ready to go into the car...I've still to start on mine though!  Ah well, there's always another day....just!  

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A day off

I spent most of today at home, catching up with all the things I need to do before we go on holiday.  I achieved a lot more than I expected, given how good I am at procrastination.  Even managed to finish ploughing through all of the Celebrate photos - cut nearly 600 down to 100, so it took a while!  We spent a brief time at the school too, seeing the work all of the children have been doing and enjoying some tea and cakes.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The countdown begins...

Today was an ordinary day at work, except for developing some new products.  Colin managed to fit in a lot to his working day, with his ladies, some gardening, a changeover, some more gardening, some electrical work and a slight element of childcare as well.  Come the end of my working day though, I discovered that I will be working from home for the rest of the week, so suddenly it felt like the countdown to the holidays had properly begun...happy days!  Hope the weather in France is as stunning as it has been here these past few days....it'll be hard to beat some of the views here, but I'm sure France will make a pretty good effort!  

Monday, 27 March 2017

Quiet, yet hectic...

At first glance, I thought today was quite quiet really.  A warm welcome from Dougal and Flo was followed by a pretty relaxed day at work, although we did get lots of orders out.  But then again, we did achieve lots of other stuff too, so not so quiet on the work front.  Colin had his ladies, followed by a changeover, then lots of work at the house, sorting out the hen runs and houses and probably doing a million other things at the same time.  Then it was time for fire training, and for the kids and me to head home...only for the kids to head straight back out again to rampage around the countryside while I prepared dinner and then hosted a Community Trust meeting...so I guess it didn't turn out to be quite as quiet a day as I thought!  

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mother's Day

After a lovely family service in church, we all headed off to Piazza for our Mother's Day lunch.  As ever, we had wonderful service and gorgeous food, all in beautiful surroundings.  The children and I also enjoyed several wanders around the pier looking at the boats in between courses.  Then it was off back home on the "big boat", leaving Ealasaid behind to go to a birthday barbecue for one of her friends.  She and the boys still managed to fit in lots more wandering in the hills when she did get home though!  

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A day in the garden

You could almost believe it was a summer's day today...beautiful weather, warm and sunny with just a gentle breeze.  We all spent just about the entire day outside, Colin and myself in the garden, the kids sometimes in the garden, sometimes careering up and down the road on go karts and sometimes roaming the surrounding hills.  Safe to say they were never quiet, no matter where they were!  
Between us, we managed to transform the garden and the garage from their previous slightly (!) untidy state.  We even managed to fit in the first barbecue of the year - much to the delight of the hens, who are rather partial to sausages!  

Friday, 24 March 2017

It's Friday!!

The end of a busy week...and a productive one too.  Quite chuffed to have got all the orders out, despite being on my own at work all week except for when Colin was free to come in to give me a hand.  We had a lovely end to the working day too, with some more quality time with the horses and the most amazing sunset as we drove home.  Sadly, we were a little to knackered to make it to the 10th anniversary evening at the Comann Eachdraidh, to celebrate just over 10 years since Ionad Naomh Moluag opened...and as for having the energy to make it to Fort William for the An Comann Gaidhealach AGM, well, that just wasn't happening!  

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Beautiful, horsey day

It was a busy day at work, with lots more orders made and sent out, but by far the best bit of today was the time I spent checking up on the horses.  Great excuse for some quality time with both them and the camera on what was a beautiful, sunny day.  Just as well really, as Cass had killed her rug - she was quite grateful for the warm sunshine on her back until we found her a replacement victim...I mean...rug!  

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Beautiful wintry day

A cold but beautiful day...no snow falling, but plenty to see on the surrounding hills.  It was a productive day at work - five sacks of mail went out despite there being a distinct lack of staff this week!  The upside to the clear, wintry day was that there were beautiful clear skies come night time and it was apparently a great opportunity to see the northern lights.  The downside to the wintry part of the day was that there was a howling gale, so I spent half an hour on the hill behind the house trying to remain upright, while the camera did its best in slightly challenging circumstances!  Don't think I managed to capture any stunning images tonight...maybe next time!  

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A mixed day...!

So, today started with a brief snow fall and ended with bright sunshine.  It started with work as usual, perfectly healthy, and ended with me crawling into bed feeling rotten and missing a Hall meeting.  Definitely a mixed day!  We also had some quality time with the Port Castle horses....fun and games at feeding time!  Anyway, having been vaguely upright for a few minutes, I think it's time to crawl back under the duvet....bring on tomorrow, if tomorrow brings better health.  

Monday, 20 March 2017

And breathe....!

After what can only be described as a frenetic weekend, it was time to slow things down a bit and breathe!  Work as usual, school as usual, fire training as usual...really nothing to report, except some major battery recharging.  I think it's safe to say the weather was the most exciting thing today, with mist and wind and rain assaulting us on all sides.  No ferry issues, but tomorrow promises to be even more interesting weather-wise...watch this space!  

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Uncle Ian's 70th Birthday Lunch - Andiamo, Giffnock

Despite our late night last night, we were all up bright and early to head off to Glasgow on the first boat.  The first excitement happened as we got off the boat, when we all got our first sight of the new car.  Needless to say, the boys were just thrilled with it...and the rest of us were quite chuffed too!  Lots of space for everyone and everything, drives beautifully and it's high enough off the ground to cope with most driving conditions.  
Off we headed to Andiamo in Giffnock, where we had lunch booked for all eight of us.  We'd been to the Andiamo in Milngavie before, but this was our first time here.  I have to say we did much prefer the space and light that the actual restaurant building in Milngavie has, but we were still in perfectly pleasant surroundings in Giffnock.  The staff were lovely - very friendly and helpful, even in the face of three pensioners, two frazzled parents and three tired but still lively children.  Nothing was too much trouble and we were served promptly but were not rushed.  The food was lovely - we all had different dishes and every plate was cleared.  Even the children ate everything that appeared in front of them...the boys even took some chicken goujons that they couldn't quite finish at lunchtime and had them for their dinner when we got home.  All in all, it was a lovely day for everyone.  

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Celebrate Saturday

A chilly, misty morning, so a good day to be indoors printing off the last few photos for tonight's event.  Not so Colin - despite the weather, he decided to go out and do some car repairs.  The ancient Terrano and the equally ancient Discovery (not the new one!) are therefore currently undergoing surgery.  We might even have a car each to drive down to tonight's Celebrate event at this rate!

Friday, 17 March 2017

New Car and Celebrate Prep

Well, we still haven't seen the new car, except for Colin, who drove it all the way back from Manchester today, but it is now residing in Port Appin.  It's not easy for the boys trying to remain patient until Sunday, when they will meet it for the first time!  
Most of today was spent scanning and printing lots of wonderful old photos to put up in the Hall for tomorrow night's Celebrate event, followed by an evening making bunting and generally decorating the Hall.  It all looks pretty good so far! 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Another busy day

Today started as normal, with children going off to school (and their swimming trip to Oban) and Colin and myself going off to work.  This did involve an impromptu spot of fencing for Colin, as we discovered that the horses must have been partying during the night and had had a slight altercation with one of  Nicky's fences.  Fence and horses all back to normal now!  
We arrived home from work just as Grandma and Seanair were also arriving on the island...accompanied by two excited wee boys who had "found" them on the ferry.  We were then regaled with Ruairidh's swimming prowess...he has now been in the pool twice, yesterday and today, and is already swimming around on his own with a float and is an expert on the slide.  That boy just doesn't know what fear is!  
Colin and Dad then disappeared off on to North Connel, as they are off on a road trip tomorrow, both of them as far as Glasgow, then Colin is travelling to Manchester by train to pick up the new car...rather them than me, with a lovely 5am start.  A lovely rainbow appeared just as they were leaving to guide them on their way...not that the photos can do it justice.  
The final act of today was the Lismore Public Hall AGM, followed by a short Directors' meeting.  Quite a good turnout and several new Directors, although we will greatly miss our retiring Chairman, Anita Bachuil, who was a wonderful asset on the Board.  

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Work, Car maintenance, Chicken Landscapes and Celebrate prep

It was a mixed kind of day, if you hadn't guessed!  I was at work, which included some innovation, as we developed new products.  Colin worked with his ladies, then worked on the old Terrano...it's not moving yet (due to only having three wheels attached at the moment!) but it started, so life is good again!  
The hens now have an almost completely landscaped area...their paths are done and there's only a tiny bit more gravel needed to make it perfect.  Now I just have to find chicken proof plants to put in their planters and we're sorted!  
This evening was spent ploughing through old photos and information which we can use for this weekend's Celebrate Event...now trying to get them into a presentable form for display on the night.  

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Stormy Day

We woke up to a rather windy morning...didn't seem too bad really, but it was uncertain enough for the school to decide to cancel today's trip to Oban.  The children weren't overly happy but not too disappointed either, as they'll hope to get to go tomorrow.  
I was at work as usual while Colin spent a large chunk of his day running back and forward to Point collecting gravel and stones for the landscaping efforts happening in and around the hens' enclosure.  It's really starting to take shape and is looking much better, not to mention being a lot safer, as it's no longer so slippery with mud.  

Monday, 13 March 2017

Manic Monday

Ok, so not that manic, not for me anyway.  Colin had the joys of driving the school bus today, so that kept him on his toes, as did all of his usual Monday morning jobs, not to mention having a big training session at the Fire Station this evening.  Ealasaid and Alasdair had the excitement of a trip to Oban with the school, for swimming and a visit to the police station.  They both really enjoyed it, though Alasdair was shattered after the day's exertions.  Ruairidh was not impressed to be missing out, but it looks like he's getting a chance to tag along tomorrow, weather permitting.  
Due to Colin's school bus shenanigans, I finished work early to go on child-watch.  We headed down the hill from the school to Achnacroish, where Ealasaid and Ruairidh went rock climbing...I thought Ealasaid was exaggerating when she said that's what they were going to do, but when I glanced over after taking my eye off them for a second, I realised she was being scarily accurate.  Quite adventurous wee people, the darlings!  Alasdair, of course, was sensible and stayed with me in the car park, only joining the maniacs when they returned from their adventure.  
We stopped off to say hello to some cute locals on the way home.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Quiet Sunday

We all headed off to Church in Oban, where we arrived as the Minister was welcoming everyone.  Hope he wasn't too distracted by Ruairidh yelling hello to Seanair and Seanmhair and waving madly at them!  After church, we went to drop off Dad's car at the garage for its pre-holiday service...fingers crossed it gets a clean bill of health.  Then it was up to Port Appin, to catch the 2pm ferry...much misery ensued as Ruairidh realised that Seanair and Seanmhair weren't coming over with us...not a happy bunny!  However, he was slightly pacified by the news that we do seem to have finally selected our new car...well, new to us anyway.  Unless it turns out only to have three wheels or something, we should soon be the proud owners of a Discovery 3...not the most up to date model, but no point getting anything too special, as it probably won't last 5 minutes in Pot-Hole-Ville aka Lismore.  Still exciting for little people though...and also for the big people, it has to be admitted!  

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Mainland Saturday

No long lie for us this weekend...we were off the island on the 9am ferry, so that I could make my 10am hair appointment.  Colin and his three amigos went off to do the shopping, then after I was finished, we headed out to North Connel.  Colin was soon hard at work fixing the floor and laying new tiles in the back porch for Mum and Dad.  The children were all hard at work ransacking the garden.  Thankfully, the flowers that are coming through somehow managed to survive the stampede.  
Back to Lismore and it was time to go check the horses at Port Castle.  Colin, Ealasaid and Ruairidh trooped down the hill, while Alasdair and I waited up top taking in the beautiful sunset, followed by moonlight from a perfect full moon.  

Friday, 10 March 2017

Lazy Morning; Photographic Afternoon

I had the laziest morning ever...can honestly say I achieved absolutely nothing!  The dogs had an equally hard morning...it's not easy being them!  


The afternoon's activity promised to be a little more productive, with the latest meeting of the Lismore Photography Club taking place.  

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Car Maintenance

One of the most significant things about today was Colin's efforts at car repair.  Well, I say repair, but I suspect major surgery could be closer to the truth.  Still, he is hopeful that he has found what ails the Discovery at least...looks like with a bit of luck we might get one of our vehicular invalids back on the road in the not too distant future.  Let's just not mention the others though...!


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Photo Day and Excursion Day

Today started depressingly early, as the children were all going off on a trip to Taynuilt Primary School today, even Mr. Ruairidh.  We were especially glad that he was getting to go too, as part of their travel was to involve a train journey from Oban to Taynuilt - Alasdair and Ruairidh had never been on a train before, so it would have been a shame for one to get to go and not the other.  As it was, they seemed to take it all in their stride - I think I get more excited going on trains than they did having their first ever trip on one!  The further excitement of the boat they were meant to return home on being cancelled and them having to come back a different way also failed to capture their imagination.  And as for gaining any insight as to what they actually did all day at a strange school - still waiting to hear that they did anything other than play!  

My day was spent taking and editing more Seahorse photos...not all plain sailing, but I'm hopeful that I'm now on the right lines and have produced something useful.  We shall see!  



Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Work and photos

A normal morning at work today, with today's orders completed along with tomorrow's and the next day's.  This gave Florence great joy, as it meant lots of post for her to oversee.

It also meant I could head off home early to work on the photos of the new products Nicky's working on.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Fire Truck Fun & Games!

An ordinary day at work for me, but definitely out of the ordinary for the inmates of the primary school!  Today was the annual visit to the school by the island's fire truck and crew.  Much excitement all round, especially for Alasdair and Ruairidh, as Daddy was driving the fire truck.  Even the older children who were really too mature and sophisticated to be overly interested in visiting firemen managed to work up a fair degree of enthusiasm when they got the chance to chase their teacher with the fire hose!  

There was even more excitement to be had later when Grandma and Seanair arrived over...lots of snuggles, playing and general quality time for everyone.  

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Chilled Sunday

Despite someone evil and wicked (i.e. Colin!!) waking everyone up an hour early by mistake, today was quite a relaxed and chilled day.  We made it to Church in plenty of time, although the parents didn't make it today, due to Mum being up all night coughing.  So much for her new course of antibiotics and steroids!  After Church, we headed off to see Grandma and Seanair...lots of fun, playing and soup (that last bit was Ruairidh, of course!)

Managed to fit in some photography as well...this week's challenge is upside down, so lots of reflections.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

March Fèis

A blustery day gave us slight doubts that we would get off the island today, but there were absolutely no problems with the ferry at all.  Off we headed to this month's Fèis.  Fèis Bheag for the boys, with lots of singing, dancing, whistle, chanter, crafts and general playing.  Ealasaid had clarsach, group work, music tech and Gaelic song.  They all had a wonderful time as ever, with Ealasaid particularly loving her group work and music tech.  She then did some more socialising, this time with a friend in Appin...lots of outdoor fun, which is always a good alternative to too much iPad or laptop time.  And of course, the first thing she did when she came home was to head straight back out for a run!







Friday, 3 March 2017

Half and Half Day

Friday is usually my day off, but due to fire trauma training, Colin and Simon were otherwise engaged all day, so my morning was spent at Seahorse, helping Nicky with today's orders.  With Florence to help us, we got through everything nicely...it's amazing the contribution a Collie pup can make to making and packing orders!  She's a great post dog too...we just couldn't manage without her to help!  

My afternoon involved one of my usual conflagrations...the rubbish evicted from the office yesterday is no more.  Much fun was also had by Alasdair and Ruairidh, as Grandma and Seanair were here for the day too...Miss Ealasaid was out socialising, so she wasn't home till late.  Not good when she's got a better social life than the adults!  Ruairidh definitely takes today's prize for adventurism though...he should really come with a health warning!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Busy day off

I had a day off work today, which was a great chance to get lots of other stuff done.  The changeable weather meant that we couldn't get anything done outside, so it was the turn office's turn to get a makeover.  It was getting to the ridiculous stage in there, with piles of, erm, important paperwork and equipment...ok, so I mean mess...everywhere.  A few hours later and the transformation was more or less complete...and I have a good start for my next bonfire.  

Managed to fit in some photography after our fun and games in the office...this week's challenge on my photography course was pancake day related, so Colin had to crack about a million eggs and sift half a ton of flour and sugar so that I could play with shutter settings.  We now have industrial quantities of fairy cakes to eat, as we didn't fancy pancakes after all that!  



Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Beautiful Day

It was another beautiful winter's day here in Lismore.  Ok so some people were saying that since it's now March, it must be spring, but the hailstones that were falling this afternoon suggested otherwise!  That said, they did only last five minutes and were very localised...that rest of the day was indeed very springlike.  Wonderful photos opportunities again...definitely a day to let the camera do the talking.






Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Wildlife and Scenery

While today was an ordinary work day, the walk to and from work was just stunning.  The birds were out in force all over the place, the snowy mountains were so sharp on the skyline and the burn above Port Castle was in full flow.  I took the chance to play around with some camera settings to try to master the art of capturing "smooth" water...not the most spectacular photos, but I think I may finally have got the hang of the concept.

There were various birds of prey hovering about, mainly just out of range of the camera lens, plus what seemed like millions of crows.  It was definitely a day to inspire you to get out and about with the camera more often.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Manic Monday

Today ended up being quite a busy day, despite initially seeming like a quite uneventful one.  A lovely walk to work, punctuated by several fly pasts by the local geese, led on to a productive day at work, which was followed by Mr. Colin heading off to fire training, where they apparently got through lots of stuff...so they claim, anyway! Miss Florence was also in attendance at fire checks, so at least they had someone sensible in charge!
The sunset on the way home from Port Castle was really quite spectacular..,.the hills looked as if they were on fire.  


I arrived home to discover that the parents had made it over to Lismore, against all expectations.  Lots of happy children were to be found fussing over Grandma and Seanair!  A busy evening was spent doing "my numbers" (Alasdair) and "grrrrrr....MATHS!!!!!" (Ealasaid), with Ruairidh contributing by eating gargantuan quantities of ice cream!  I then set out to make a quick dinner, which ended up being the kind of feast that would have taken a Chinese restaurant several days to prepare...I felt it was well worth the effort when Dad, who isn't a huge Chinese fan, commented on my Chinese efforts by saying, "I could eat that".  He wasn't even kidding...he was being majorly complimentary!  

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Thinking Day Parade

Today saw this year's Thinking Day Parade being held in St. Modan's Church, Benderloch.  Ealasaid was lucky enough to be chosen for the Colour Party, so there was much excitement this morning - on the part of the adults, that is, as Miss E just takes it all in her stride.  We actually managed to arrive more or less on time, which is quite miraculous for us.  Ealasaid went off to collect her flag and the rest of us trooped into the church.  It was quite a tight squeeze, all six of us in one rather short pew, but at least it gave the boys less wriggle room.  
The Colours were brought in during the first hymn.  The Guides and Cubs all did their jobs very well, like mini professionals.  It was a lovely service, with Jeff MacCormick, the minister, captivating the children as usual with his address.  The children are learning more and more about the traditions and practices of bearing the Colours as the years progress - the Colours were lowered during the National Anthem at the end of the service, something which they weren't always aware of in previous years.  Lovely to see so many of the children singing the National Anthem too - again, not many of them knew the words a year or two back, so they've learned a lot recently.  The poor things then had to stand out in the pouring rain while the congregation left the church - they were remarkably cheerful about it all though.

We had a tea and coffee in the Hall after the service, followed by a lovely soup lunch in the Victory Hall.  The Guides did all of the serving themselves - they were excellent waitresses and all showed remarkable confidence and composure.  It was then time for a quick rush for the 2pm ferry, as there was another storm forecast, so we couldn't risk waiting till the 4pm.  So far so good, but it was still good to get home early and have a relaxed afternoon and evening after a lovely, but busy morning.  

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Windy Day

Thought I'd better get on here early today, in case we're all blown away by the wind later today!  It's a tad stormy here...especially spectacular sounding upstairs in our houses, where you would think the roof was about to take off.  The first couple of boats have already had to be cancelled due to the conditions and the Calmac boats are on amber alert.  Any poor soul who has to put their nose outside the door today has my sympathy!

As it turned out, the storm wasn't quite as bad as it could have been.  Still didn't venture outside to do any gardening - stuck to some indoor gardening instead, potting up the off-shoots of a plant that first belonged to my Gran, or maybe even my great grandmother.  The main plant is over 40 years old now.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Preparing to Celebrate

No work today, so it was a good opportunity to meet up with some Community Trust colleagues to get on with the next stage of preparations for the island's "Celebrate" event.  We have received funding to hold a party to thank all those who have contributed in so many ways to island life over the years...decades, in fact.  Maybe not the first choice of event for a veggie, but even in spite of the Hog Roast bit, it should still be a great party!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Meetings Galore

It was another delightfully soggy day for most of today.  Lovely to wake up to discover that Doris has so far left the hens' enclosure relatively undisturbed...extra struts have been added just in case, as she did manage to weaken it slightly the previous night, so fingers crossed she doesn't come back with a vengeance tonight.


Work as usual in the morning, with lots of orders made and sent out...a most productive Seahorse day.  I had to escape early though, for the first of tonight's meetings.  This was a Comann Eachdraidh one, where a lot was discussed.  Delighted to hear of the possibility of more Gaelic being brought back into Comann Eachdraidh life.  Looking forward to developments on that front.  

The second meeting of the evening is a Community Trust one...could be an interesting night!  Hopefully, we will be able to focus on the positives of the recent Bachuil Project feasibility study - even though the project didn't go ahead, a lot has been learnt which could benefit the island in the future.  Watch this space!  

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Shearing Day!

No...no sheep were harmed today!  For some time now, the boys have been in dire need of a haircut.  It was getting to the stage that I was about to choose baubles to put in their pleats or pony tails!  However, Daddy was banned from going near them with scissors or clippers due to what happened last time...he accidentally left the guard off and Alasdair spent several weeks impersonating a convict.  We eventually had to give in though, when they couldn't see out any more.  Think they're quite chuffed with their new hair styles!







Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Farewell to an old neighbour

I'd a day off work today, but not one I really wanted.  Today was the funeral of Heather Smellie, who was a neighbour from the next lane in North Connel for around 30 years.  While it was a sad occasion, it was also a happy one, as so many memories of the fun, loving and caring person Heather was were shared.
It was lovely to see her family too, despite the sad circumstances and also to see so many former neighbours from the North Connel area.  As always on such occasions, it was a timely reminder to not lose touch with friends, old and new...all too soon, it can be too late to get back in touch.  Next step is going to be introducing the boys properly to North Connel...they know Grandma and Seanair's house and garden like the back of their hands, but they don't really know the rest of the area the same.  Operation familiarisation is imminent!  

Monday, 20 February 2017

A rather soggy Monday

Monday morning and not exactly the sunniest of days.  I squelched my way down to work at Port Castle and was very thankful that I didn't have to put my nose over the door step for most of the day.  Cass was equally unimpressed with the weather...she put on her most plaintive and appealing face to try to persuade me to open the gate that would get her closer to the stable and the feed shed.


Plaintive, appealing looks and food were to the forefront of Collach and Liosach's (so called!) minds...they just knew we were too full up to finish dinner!


Sunday, 19 February 2017

A normal Sunday

For the first time in ages, Sunday actually went pretty much as planned.  Well, there was one minor (!) glitch, when the island car was reluctant to start then made a nasty, potentially terminal, sound and refused to participate any further in the day's activities.  Especially unfortunate as it's meant to be going on its holidays to France in the not too distant future.  The mainland car is now giggling gleefully and humming the Marseillaise to itself, as it looks out its passport in anticipation of the demise of its sister vehicle.  

After a quick car swap, we made it to the ferry on time, made it to church on time, I survived creche duty with no major scars, we picked up a few bits and pieces in the shops then made it to Grandma and Seanair's on time for lots of quality time, coffee, playing and hugs.  

Not many photo opportunities today though, due to the thick mist that followed us everywhere.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Another busy day

After a leisurely start to, we had another productive day...don't know where on earth we've suddenly found a bit of energy!  Colin braved the somewhat intemperate weather to do some more tidying in the garden.  The poly-tunnel has been cleared a bit more and there are now some planters arranged along the outside of the hens' enclosure.  The idea is to draw the enclosure into the garden a bit, so it's not just sitting there looking slightly out of place,  The main challenge will be to find something hen-proof to plant in them - once they're back out and about again, most poor plants won't stand a chance!  

I did a bit of planting indoors...the back porch has been transformed into a temporary nursery, until Colin gets a chance to build my new greenhouse.