Since February The Dower House has said hello and good-bye to so many people that I have lost count and most of the time can't even remember where I was, let alone who was with me!
By the end of October we will have owned the house for a year and the transformation already is amazing. This week the slates reached the ridge and as Jenny explained we have had a hard time finding and dressing enough to keep Gary working, he has the patience of a saint at times as we apprentices cause havoc trying to grasp the right way the dress, hole and measure a slate.
We are getting better and now thanks to quite a few very helpful people on Islay we have enough. After Donald delivered a load we still needed more and yesterday, after a lot of haggling, we took delivery of about 6000 slates from the fire station in Bowmore, delivered by Gordon Currie's men on a lorry and unloaded by a tractor. We are so so lucky with the advice and help we are getting all the time here. You just pick up the phone and call and miraculously whatever, or whoever you want arrives on your doorstep.
"One step at a time", is my motto and we have spent the last 3 months taking the roof step...we are getting close now and the next step, the windows are being made as we speak. Step 4 will be making the inside habitable, many people would balk at our living conditions, but you only have to look out of the window in the morning as the sun rises over the skerries and the sea to know that you would put up with worse to live in paradise.
Jenny left, having completed the bunkhouse for workers to stay in, and of course dressing and sorting slates many thousands of slates.
Katie and Dan arrived to take over the dressing and start pointing among many other things. Bob and Jan our friends from Milborne had been with us for a month, but are now heading home and Rick is here for the duration. Many hands are supposed to make light work, but at times the work seems anything but light! I am sure I didn't ache as much when we were training for the DW all those years ago, but perhaps I'm just a bit older. ten to fifteen times up and down the scaffolding ladder a day, who needs the gym?
We had some new arrivals as Jenny said 6 chickens acquired through our great friend Topsy. Jenny named them and we are all hoping it wasn't Betty, who went to Heaven this week! On the bright side we still have 6 as we took possession of a great handsome cockerel today, who is now strutting his stuff in the chicken house instead of being served up for Sunday lunch! Perhaps he may inspire the hens Betty, Bronwyn, Becky, Bella, & Bryony to lay an egg!
The otters have had us racing out with cameras for the last month, when the 2 young ones swim close to the shore catching crabs and playing, while the young seals leap out of the water like dolphins, then bob up and down by the shore to see what we are doing.
So all in all life is as it should be at the Dower House, happy most of the time, very tiring all of the time and moving forward 1 step at a time.
Thanks to Gary, (couldn't do it without you), Peter, Roland, Gordon, Willie, Donald and others....who keep us on our toes and moving forward and Topsy who keeps us clean and well fed on a Friday!