Wednesday 13 October 2010

Sue and John on Skye

My sister Sue and her husband John, in the garden at the Barn.

Sue and John left the Barn this morning after a week with us. We've had a brilliant week - the weather has been especially good, and we have been out walking to some of my favourite places every day - the kind of places most Skye visitors never find!

They came up in the little trials car that John built himself. He built it to compete in Classic Trials - events where road going cars tackle impossibly steep, bumpy and muddy hills to see if they can get to the top. (The bodywork is all hand-formed aluminium, including the double-curvature panels - the car was very much a labour of love!)

John was so pleased with how the car drives on the road that he likes to use it for other outings, and now it has been all the way to Skye! We wish Sue, John and the car a safe journey back home to Devon.

Monday 4 October 2010

Long distance deliveries

We have bought a couple of large 'household appliances' in the last couple of weeks.

First, a tall freezer was ordered to replace the worktop-height one we originally had - we needed extra space to freeze some of the allotment produce! This came from Curry's Online, who advertise free nationwide delivery. Everything to do with the purchase went like clockwork. I was given a delivery date when I placed the order, and the day before this date was telephoned with a four hour delivery 'window' during which time I was promised the delivery would happen. And, yes, it did! Top marks to Curry's.

Next, our washing machine went 'pop'. It was five years old, and has a pretty hard life, so we deemed it not worth having repaired, and I searched online for a replacement. This time Curry's couldn't match a price offered by online electrical retailer TribalUK. This company also offered free mainland delivery. We know from experience that Skye is often not considered mainland, in spite of our toll-free bridge, so I tried placing my order half expecting to be told that delivery would cost ££££'s extra. But the order was accepted, and within 24 hours I had an email telling me that the item had been dispatched. Again, a telephone call was received confirming the day and approximate time of the delivery.

Mid evening, the day before delivery was due, the phone rang. It was the delivery driver - "Would it be OK if we deliver your item at 6.30am?" Now, that's pretty early, but as Sue gets up at 6.15 for work,  it wasn't a problem to us.

We were woken next morning just before the alarm went off by a van pulling up outside. So by 6.15 this morning, our new washing machine was unpacked and standing in the kitchen, and the driver was thanking us for accepting the unusually early delivery. I asked the guys about their early delivery. "We do the Highlands once a week" was his reply, "We're up to Ullapool next, then Inverness, then Aberdeen, then back to our depot in Leeds. When we phoned last night we were just setting out".

So full marks to TribalUK and their couriers, too. Now that's service!

I ponder over the size of the profit margins... How can these companies offer a free delivery service - all the way to Skye -  as well as prices better than in any High Street/Retail-Park? But I'm not complaining!

Sunday 3 October 2010

Visitors and Raasay

The busiest part of the holiday season is drawing to a close, so we are now eager to have friends and family come and stay with us before the winter weather takes a hold. We've just had a long-time friend of Sue's stay for four nights, and my sister and her husband are due here shortly.

It's nice to have visitors - taking them out means that we can become tourists ourselves!

Sue's friend was keen to visit the island of Raasay. It is a small island off the west coast of Skye with a resident population of around 200 people. It is reached by ferry from Sconser on Skye. I have been determined to visit there myself for ages, and never managed it. Now at last, I have been, and I am left keen to go again.

If you think Skye is quiet - try visiting Raasay...!!

The Cuillin (on Skye) from Raasay

Brochel Castle

The road to the north of the island