Sunday, 2 May 2021

Waiting...

Today's media is full of reports on how close we are to being able to get back to normal life after the extraordinary coronavirus-plagued year we have all endured. Not long to wait then... (Not forgetting those parts of the world which are still enduring dreadful outbreaks of the disease, and my heart goes out to all those affected).

Of course, normal life never stopped going on for everything on the planet apart from human activity. We have had the best display of daffodils here for several years, and are now eagerly awaiting the emergence of the bluebells.

The allotment is similarly in limbo. The seed beds are all planted, but for now show no sign of anything growing. Pots in the cold frame contain the teeniest of brussels sprout and kale plants and we wait patiently for them to grow big enough to be planted out.

We are no longer waiting for the first cuckoo. We have been blessed with their 'song' for a week or two now. One bird amuses us, as it hasn't quite learned the tune correctly and frequently gives us a three-note cuck-cuck-coo. 

Over in Strathpeffer, we have continued to make progress with the small garden of The Old Bakery, and now feel we are finally getting on top of the profusion of weeds that had invaded the ground. The OB now awaits its first holiday visitors, who will be staying there at the end of this month.

We have opened our cottages on Skye as well, and Loch View is looking to be pretty-well full all season, with the first visitors there right now. Summer Cott will be a little less busy though. In previous years, the vast majority of our visitors at Summer have come from overseas, so we have to wait for international travel to recommence before we will see their return.

For now, Skye remains mostly quiet, though I don't think we will have to wait for long before we see a convoy of camper vans lumbering by.

The waiting is nearly over.

Slightly past their best - but more flowers than we've had in years!

Waiting to play...

Playing...!


Monday, 12 April 2021

So Quiet!

It is a very beautiful frozen world here this morning. We are still getting occasional snow flurries, and last night's low temperature left a very thick, furry frost on everything. There's not a breath of wind, and the bright sky is almost completely clear. It is so quiet! I love Skye like this.

But our peace is soon to be shattered. I can almost hear the engines warming-up. The world is buzzing with people who are longing to get away from the lock-down locations they have been enduring for months. And where better to come than the stunning Scottish Highlands, where fresh clean air is all the air we breathe, and the virus seems such a long way away?

Skye is a very special place. The hills, sea, cliffs, mountains and lochs, the light, the dark, the rain, the sun and the silence. Everything combines in a wonderful kaleidoscope of nature that so strongly appeals to the human soul - it is no wonder that people want to come here to experience Skye for themselves.

At first, virus rules dictate that only visitors from other parts of Scotland will be welcomed here. But soon after, travellers from all of the UK will be arriving in their cars and camper vans. There is no question that all the tourism-related businesses will be pleased to get back to earning a living. But I do so hope that the rapid influx of thousands of visitors will not mean the virus will be flooding back with them.

And I'll miss the quiet.






(Photos by Sue)

Sunday, 11 April 2021

A Thank You To 'Down Under'

 I have just received the delightful surprise of a late birthday card. The surprise is even more special because the card has come some 11,500 miles from New Zealand from someone I have never met or even spoken to.

A hand-written note in the card thanks me and Sue for this blog, and for our photographs.

So firstly - a BIG thank you for reading our blog and your positive comments, and secondly, and even BIGGER thank you for your kind thoughts and my birthday card!

We return warmest wishes to you with our love.

Richard and Sue

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Out Of The Darkness...

It's that time of year again when we whirl the hands of our clocks round an hour, and believe that summer has arrived. Altering the dial on our man-made time-measuring devices doesn't actually change anything else of course, but it makes us feel differently, when our clocks tell us it is seven o'clock in the evening and the sun is still high. On a personal level - it would be nice if we could tweak the weather in the same way, and dial-up a few weeks of mild, dry days so I can get the allotment in order before the dark days of lockdown are lightened.

If the vaccine and virus control measures are judged by our government to have been effective, it will only be a matter of a couple of weeks before UK-based travellers begin to flock back to Skye. There is no doubt that numerous small businesses here will welcome the new influx of visitors with wide open arms, but I know that with some sadness I will immediately miss the silence and peace that has flooded the island for much of the past year. I have to admit, though, that even I will be pleased to see our long-empty cottages once again occupied by excited explorers.

But is this not short-sighted gratification? Are we really coming out of the darkness? Very few parts of the world have had effective vaccination programmes, and by far the majority of the world population remains vulnerable to the virus. Unless international travel is totally banned - which is surely not going to happen - I can only see a future where new strains of the virus develop and re-infect the population of parts of the planet where we had felt we had won the battle.

I suspect the much talked about 'new normal' will have to become our way of life for the foreseeable future. The need for frequent booster vaccinations is already on the cards. Will we for-ever be wearing face masks in crowded public places? Will I ever again feel comfortable to queue for a drink in a busy bar, or sit in a packed cinema for a couple of hours to watch a film? 'New normal' is going to take some getting used to.

But enough of today's pessimism and woe. Look! The rain showers are passing, sun is shining, and spring flowers are blooming. There is a expression of hope on smiling faces we see on the TV news. People are booking holidays. I myself have made arrangements to soon travel south again to see much-missed family and friends. The days ahead are surely looking brighter.