Sunday, 30 March 2014

Embarrassing Incidents and Progress.

Having started writing this and then left it over 2 weeks ago, I am loathe to delete it and start again, so I'll post this one and then let you know what's been going whilst Mary-Ann and I were away.

My cousins just accused me of neglecting the blog so I thought I had better remedy that and post an update. The reason for the silence is that with Gary coming back for a few days to kick start- and pretty much finish!-the stud walling, I've been quite busy... Anyway, I am heading south tomorrow for the week, meeting Mary-Ann in Glasgow where she has been with my Aunties Ruth and Lucy for the weekend. 

This is basically just a selection of photos from the start of March. Both in and out of the house!

This may have been posted already but never mind. This is Mary-Ann laying the front hedge with her new pole chainsaw!

We've had some pretty amazing skies over the past few weeks. In the photo above you can see the seaweed that's been washed off the shore heading back out.

This chicken is getting too adventurous for her own good. I'm going to have to block up the holes in the fence before the otters come back to the bay.

If you live in Britain, you may have heard about or seen the northern lights a few weeks ago. I hate to say that I was a little slow of the mark to notice that my twitter feed was full of pictures and consequently, we didn't get out until 11pm. We drove up towards Gruinairt, via the high road, but no luck, it had clouded over. Still can't quite believe we missed the opportunity. But, on the bright side, we did at least see this owl on the way home. Photo courtesy of Dan, it was on his side of the car!

Chicken, leak and potato pie on Friday night at Topsy's.

Cassie is so long now!

We have a beach at the bottom of the garden, but the weather has been so foul through January and February that this was the first day we could have a beach fire. I insisted we take the opportunity as it was a Saturday, but as Gary was coming that week Mary-Ann, Nick and I were working right through without a weekend- very disappointing! 

I cooked..

Cassie dug.

And Nick bounced around on a washed up traffic barrier.... naturally.

Having my breakfast outside would be a lovely morning start. If there weren't so many beggars. Go away you horrible animals!

This could be a problem in summer.

We totally emptied the upstairs rooms, 7 and 8, ready for Gary to start us off on the stud walling.

With the early morning sun, came an incredibly hard frost. I would have happily stayed in my shed that day.

Cassie is supposed to be clever...

What a handsome cockerel.

Mary-Ann cutting the insulation, a nasty job, which I somehow avoided. Oh wait... that's because I was filling up sawn holes in the top of the floor joists. Possibly the most frustrating job I've ever done. Well until I started fitting noggins in the ceiling, but that's another story, for a later date.

Nick removing nails from the floor joists in preparation for the bathroom partition wall.

Um... should I mention the view this piece of wood is obstructing... 

In seriousness though, this allows you to level the top piece all away along the wall. 

It has been cut away now...

Gary built us some brilliant window seats in each room. Five in total. 

Unfortunately, this meant we got through quite a lot of screws, so both days, when we ran out - conveniently just before lunch break, both times- I was sent off to buildbase (in the rain) on my motorbike.

A nice trip you might say. Decent roads, brilliant views, lovely wildlife... Really, I should be thankful for this task. What you haven't taken into consideration, however, is the fact that I ride a 1998 Suzuki GN125 (which probably means nothing to most of you) it has had 9 previous owners, and is very tempermental. Less so these days I have to admit, last year I was doing a 45 mile round trip every day all winter and through until June, which is fine. Except I think it probably rained about 60% of the time. On average I worked out that I was breaking down roughly once every 2 weeks. Mostly on electrical faults, lights, fuses etc. Being constantly skint - not a bad thing, I don't think- I had to rely on my friends to help me fix it (meaning that I usually observed... Although I did replace the exhaust totally by myself!) Here I should thank, Adam, Tom, Andrew and Uncle Mark, without whom I would have been stranded. And Mary-Ann of course who ferried me around quite regularly.. Anyways, enough babbling. Back to Buildbase. I arrived on the second day, smack in the middle of lunch break, went in bought the screws and was out within 30 seconds, just in time to make it home for the end of lunch. Went to start the bike... nothing. After a few minutes the man from the desk came out and asked if I was ok, so of course I threw out some blase remark about it being temperamental. When it still didn't start however, it became clear that it was not just being temperamental, it was having a bit of a tantrum about being forced out in the rain. At which point another of the workers, Ben, (thank you, by the way) the only other not on lunch break (who were all i the office with a brilliant view of me making a prat of myself out of the window, great.) came out to help me, obviously, he knew significantly more about motorbikes than I do, and taught me how to bump start it. Frankly, I found the fact that it turned over without pressing the start button quite incredible. Embarrassing to admit, having been riding for nearly 2 years but... Anyway, we spent the next.. it felt like a long time, but probably wasn't actually that long, with him pushing an increasingly frustrated, squealing, cursing, me around the yard trying to get it to go. Eventually, on about the sixth attempt, it started and I was off, thank goodness. Unfortunately, I hadn't asked him to elaborate when he said 'when it starts you have to go, you can't stop' so drove the 15 or so miles home at about 70 miles an hour... Going through Lagavulin at 50mph is not something I will ever repeat. 

To top this all off, I then had another 'incident' in Bowmore the next day. I was standing outside the co op with two full trolleys, in gale force winds, waiting for Topsy to bring the car around, when one of the trolleys, which in my defense were very heavy, got caught in a gust of wind and blown backwards. Into me. Of course. And naturally, knocked me straight over. So to the man walking by at that moment who laughed, that's not very nice. But you're forgiven, because, it must have been funny. 

I have not yet plucked up the courage to go back to either place. 

First layer of insulation in the roof. 4 inches of Xtratherm, to be followed by a further 2 inches.

Its a little bit dusty up there..

Dan testing out a window seat.

Topsy's partner Roderick, turned 65 at the beginning of March. I made him a sheep cake as he was a sheep farmer on Oronsay.

Cassie has some odd habits.

I went for a walk around the Fairy Hill a few weeks ago. These buzzards hung around for ages.

Very warm, but very misty.

Mating toads are everywhere.

Buzzards over the Dower House.

I cut down the fushia hedge leaving just the raspberry canes and the fushia to shoot up and bush. We're going to fence down the boundary line eventually.

A few of the new stud walling.

It is not warm enough to paddle. 


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