Happy 21st Birthday!
Yes, another couple of big birthdays this summer
Adam and Jenny celebrate their birthdays
with a boat trip round the Oa
on one of Gus Newman's boats from "Stormcats"
"If You think it's going to be bad...then it will be bad!"
A phrase from a wise woman when I struggled to get my optimism back this summer. I am glad to say I'm better, thanks to listening and learning again. All our lives we can either learn from our experiences and move forward, or we can let opportunities pass and stay as we are, wherever that may be.
We are living proof that with a bit of optimism, belief and a lot of hard work, you can change your life and many others around you.
Be brave take a chance, change your life!
Let the light in!
Watch the wonders around you...
Nigel and Nick moving a heap of gravel...
Create art with what you have...
...and the work goes on...
Some people seem to have a boot problem this morning...
Concreting the last floors...
Jenny mixes and Adam lends a hand...
These are for Uncle Pete to show Tom and Adam
do actually do some work!
Tom helps Nick store the wood inside.
Gary builds another wall...
Jenny mixes more cement...
Acro props support the beams
while we wait for concrete lintels...
The North end, which will be Sandy and Tom's utility and shower room, needed a lot of repair and is reinforced with another big beam 4 x 9" x 3" lengths of wood.
Gary and Jenny strip and repair the last bits of roof to be re-slated
Then Nick uses his fibreglassing skills again to make the valley
The slates have to wait!
In between fibre glassing the valley Nick prepares the Oak fireplace surround, bought on e-bay in Weymouth, collected by Angus and brought up in Gary's van in February.
It looks fantastic...watch this space!
The last bit of separation as the stud walls go up in the porch.
Jenny unloads more wood
Gary has created these wonderful window seats
and sills with the Oak flooring.
There's still lots to do...
This is my amazing Mum, Pauline,, who shared the birthday boat trip with Jenny and Adam actually on her birthday 16th August. Next year she is 80, but really behaves as though she is 20 years younger. In September she went up with Nigel in a hot air balloon. What on earth will we do for her big one next year, the sky is obviously not the limit!
The Oa is dramatic and beautiful, you could be anywhere in the world, but this is Islay!
"Happy Birthday Oscar"
This young man is Oscar
and while he was on holiday on Islay it was his 2nd birthday
Imogen made great friends with Jenny and Cassie after being quite worried about dogs. Cassie didn't disgrace herself often!
This is what all children should be doing at every opportunity.
Dad helped with the presents, being on a building site we got Oscar a tractor and a digger, he now has enough machinery to build a mansion...
The men play party games on the beach.
Birthday sausages cooked on a beach fire.
We have been waiting to remove this lump of flotsam, blown away from some roadworks on the mainland in a storm, for a while now and Ian was the ideal person to help Nick and Nigel!
Nick takes Jenny and Imogen for a paddle.
Ian was grateful to borrow Tom's boat,
as it's one he wont get stuck in.
as it's one he wont get stuck in.
A young Swallow...
A flock of gulls...
... an Osprey flew over the Dower House beach...
A Heron at dusk.
Cassie loves communicating with the baby seals...
Flotsam and Jetsam
Jenny caught this little seal on camera as it came out onto the beach at The Dower House one morning.
Cassie was too excited and it didn't stay long.
The Islay Show
It's said to be the end of summer,
but this year it was the beginning!
The Islay Show was a great success due to it being the first hot day of the year. It is a really good day out for all the family, unless you get bored easily and don't like whisky!
Nick didn't make it this year, I can't remember if it was whisky the night before or a normal headache that kept him away. We got him a sample dram or two anyway.
Sandy and Sue take a walk on the wild side of Machir...
Happy Birthday Pauline
Coffee and presents on the terrace for Pauline's birthday, before the boat trip.
Jenny, Adam, Tom, Heather, Jay, Emily, Nick, Pauline, Nigel, Sandy... Tom must be hiding, but he was there!
Heather and family's first trip to Islay, hopefully not the last.
Sandy and Tom
The American monument marks the sinking of the Tuscania and Otranto in 1918, you'll have to come to Islay and look for yourself if you want to know more!
Wild goats on the cliffs...
The scenery was stunning
Grey seals swimming give away to the skipper where the fish are.
Soldier's rock has a big cave next to it.
How to catch 8 fish on one line in one easy lesson!
Nick has a lesson
We had to move off as the sea was a bit choppy and we didn't want to spoil an amazing day...
Standing was a little challenging on the way back...and a bit wet!
Back at Tigh Cargaman
We joined Topsy and Sue, who had not been able to join the boat trip, for Nannies birthday cake, made by Jenny and bubbly to celebrate.
Jenny made the cake and Pauline blew out the candles at Topsy's as we celebrated with some bubbly.
...and the following day Isla' and I waved from Kilnaughton beach
as Pauline and Nigel left for Penrith and then Dorset.
It was great to welcome Heather and family for the first time on Islay
I took Heather and family on an island safari taking in Portnahaven en-route to see the grey seals.
A sparrow Hawk?
Did you know there are lots of cows on Islay?
Building Cairns at Claggan, which someone decided to destroy the following week, including all the writing in stones and a much larger Cairn that had been there for years...
Mmm some people have nothing better to do I suppose!
Diverting and damning the burn, one of many times visitors have enjoyed themselves this summer. Of course nature has the last word and within 2 days the burn is doing what it likes best again, no harm done, but a lot of fun!
Grayling butterfly, (always lands with it's wings closed)
Hen harrier female
A mystical hare.
Jenny and Nick have taken many of our friends out in the Canadian canoe this summer to see the seals on the rocks. Canoes and kayaks are a wonderful way to see wildlife without disturbing it and it is a unique experience for many. I will never grow tired of sitting in a boat drifting while seals, inquisitively bob around and follow the boat. One of those little treats that keep me sane!
Adam and Jenny with Heather.
...and at dusk the heron and the swans come to enjoy a bath and supper at the mouth of the burn
Kintra the beach of sunsets...
Walking at Kintra with friend and Reiki teacher Jane,
who came and set me straight.
The Cinnabar moth caterpillar, the only good thing to come from Ragwort if you have horses!
Kilnaughton looking across to Port Ellen in the sunshine.
Hector the bull, who may end up in a painting yet...
The Paps of Jura from Kintra as the sun sets behind us.
Cassie loves it when Isla' comes for the day.
Jenny shares her presents with Cassie
One night I couldn't sleep and from the attic window
I saw the light in the sky grow
The fallow deer explore the bonfire and probably ate my roses!
Silhouettes of seals on the skerries
...and when food is left out look who appears
in broad daylight up the road.
These are Pea chicks...not chickpeas....ok bad joke.
Another Kintra night...
In my box of treasures I have a small bottle with 100 cowrie shells from Kintra beach from 1994, just before Jenny was born, that's how long we have been enjoying the sunsets on Kintra beach...it is stunning as much of Islay is.
One of the few flowers the deer don't eat is daisies,
so I shall cultivate more in many colours!
Kintra the beach of sunsets...
Paddling in sunshine...
Jane and Walter, Jenny's music teachers and friends were the first to stay in our newly finished rooms. Jane and Jenny even got their violins out one evening.
Nick took Walter in a canoe for the first time and they saw an otter and Jane didn't so Jane will have to come back!
Cassie is determined to come and now has the
hang of using her webbed feet to swim.
...A week or two later Nick took Reiki Jane to drift with the seals...
That's probably enough for now, next time I will show you the amazing rooms we have finished in the Dower House. A few friends and family have stayed, looked out of the door at the moon and sunrise, watched seals, deer and otters and relaxed in the tranquility of the Dower House.
We will soon be able to welcome wheelchair users to stay in our self catering rooms, offer activities while you stay and even pick you up from the ferry or airport in our new minibus (thanks for driving it up Andrew) with wheelchair ramp...but that's another story that I'm working on.
Thanks as always to our amazing building team, Gary, Nick, Jenny, Martin, Lee... Oh yes Sandy, Tom, Me, without whom we would not be where we are today!