Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Is It Hard To Live Somewhere So Remote...?

I am sure every reader is well aware that the Isle of Skye is a thinly populated island just west of  the even more thinly populated Scottish Highlands. We are a long way from everywhere. The nearest 'proper' town is Inverness (80 miles from the Skye Bridge), while Glasgow is 180 miles distant, and London nearly 600 miles.

I know I had a moan in my last post here about occasional difficulties obtaining fuel - but that is a pretty rare occurrence. Generally - we do not suffer any lack of public services - not that I am aware of, anyway. Our shops - even the local village shop - are stocked with fresh bread, fruit and vegetables. Our postie and courier guys make daily deliveries, and cheerfully bring us the kind of items that it is not so easy to buy locally. Our bins are emptied regularly.

We see on the TV news that people in many parts of the much more densely populated south have to book days or even weeks in advance to see a dentist or doctor. The police are rushed off their feet and won't turn out to 'minor' issues. And as for the queues we hear about at Accident and Emergency in hospitals....Argh!!

It's not like that here. A doctor or dentist can usually be seen the day you phone for an appointment. Our police do not have much crime to deal with here, and are available to help whenever needed.

As for A&E - we have some recent personal experience...

While walking one morning, Sue was caught out by a patch of ice, and unfortunately fell heavily. The immediate pain in her arm was a pretty clear indicator that she had broken it. I phoned the local medical centre for their advice, and a doctor (yes, a real doctor) recommended I took Sue to A&E in Broadford. OK - Broadford is a 36 mile drive from here at Roskhill. You may have an A&E closer to you if you live in the south, but once there, I don't believe you would get faster or better service. Sue was seen by a doctor within 15 minutes of our arrival. She was then sent for an x-ray, which took place about 10 minutes later. We subsequently had about a 40 minute wait before Sue was called-in to see the doctor again, a cracked humerus confirmed, her arm was strapped into a sling, and we were sent on our way, just over an hour from our arrival.

Yesterday, we had to return to the hospital fracture clinic for a progress check. Sue was seen by a doctor at the precise time of her appointment, had a further x-ray, and saw the doctor again for an 'all going well' report, all within the space of 15 minutes.

So, you'll never find us saying that we wished we could return to live in the traffic-jammed, polluted rush of the south. For everyday living - far from it being difficult to live somewhere remote - there are if fact, significant advantages...!!!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Petrol !

Ok, in a couple of years from now the entire world will be creeping about from power point to power point trying to recharge their electric car batteries using electricity most of which is generated by coal, gas or nuclear fusion. Hmmm...

In the meantime, Sue and I have gone half-way to being responsible citizens, and Sue now drives a petrol car. (My daily-drive is diesel - almost all 4x4s are diesel, and owning a 4x4 makes a lot of sense living where we do...)

Now, as it happens - this winter, the busiest petrol station on Skye is being totally rebuilt. It closed in November, and won't open again until March-ish. All the other (very few) Skye petrol stations are privately owned, so they make up their own prices for the fuel they supply - no doubt based on supply and demand. As demand on the little Dunvegan garage has significantly increased, so have their prices... But better than that - last week - THEY RAN OUT OF PETROL...!!!

So, the other evening, I had no choice but to drive Sue's little car 24 miles each way into Portree (our next-nearest petrol station) in order to pay an inflated price to fill her car up so she could do her care round for the next couple of days.

You lot in the softy south don't know you're born...😉

Skye's busiest petrol station...
Not so busy just now...

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

The Tree-Man Has Been..,.

It's yet another wild and wet winter night here at Roskhill....

The Barn pretty-much faces straight into the prevailing wind direction, so we are grateful for the short row of spruce trees (and one spindly birch) that provide us with some protection from the worst of the not-infrequent gales.

However - over the years we have become increasingly concerned that the largest and closest spruce was getting just a bit too big, bringing the risk that if it were to come down (or the top break off - which is another possibility) it would almost certainly do damage to our house.

So - we have recently enjoyed the services of a tree surgeon. We asked him to do what he could to maintain the appearance of our biggest tree, and the protection it provides us, but to make it less likely for the tree to fall or break. He cut off a lot of branches, and reduced the height by over 8 feet. He also 'opened up' the tree, so it offers less resistance to the wind. He assured us the end result would not look a lot different to before, but that the tree would be considerably safer.

I will be interested to see how the newly trimmed tree grows in the coming years... 

As it was...
Tree man at work - look carefully...!!!
As it is now...

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Buying Furniture

It has been a very long time since we have had to source furniture and furnishings for a house. We came to Skye with a substantial collection of our own bits and pieces - and then were lucky enough to buy two properties which came pretty-much fully furnished, so aside from the occasional need for a new mattress or carpet, we haven't been customers of any home furnishing stores for many, many years.

Until now....

The purchase of our cute little property in Strathpeffer bought us an empty building. It had quite attractive wooden venetian blinds at all the windows, but otherwise, the cottage was bare. We still had some cutlery, crockery and kitchen bits, plus a number of rugs and a few small pieces of furniture in our wonderful storage shed at Summer Cottage - so they have all come in handy. But mostly, we are having to re-learn what it is like to furnish a home.

We are finding the exercise to be both fun and exciting! Because the Old Bakery in Strathpeffer dates from the late 1800s, we are keeping well clear of most modern-style furnishings. We are also keen to avoid spending shed-loads of money! Thankfully, Inverness has a few sensationally popular charity furniture stores, and we are becoming one of their best customers.

We are now 'nearly there' in terms of furnishing the Old Bakery. We are still looking for a few items, but we now know that every time we pop into the shops, new items will have arrived. It is also good to know that when we buy from a charity shop, our money is going towards the causes they support.

This was delivered today. It is beautiful!
It will stand in the hall and house books and a few bits of glass or porcelain.
We just could not resist this wonderful dressing table.
Now we are seeking a pair of single headboards
and a bedside cabinet to compliment it...!