Tuesday 28 June 2016

Skye's Roadside Verges

Cupar-the-Collie gets his early morning stretch along the main road that runs by Roskhill. I say 'main road', because it is the A863 which crosses the moors from Dunvegan to Sligachan, but Skye is so traffic-free, we seldom see more than half a dozen vehicles in our 30 minute walkies.

So, every morning, wandering along with occasional pauses for a sniff (Cupar, not me), I gaze at the view (stunning), at the clouds (usually plentiful) at the birds (meadow pipets and sedge warblers most likely, plus crows, seabirds and occasional snipe) and at the roadside verges.

Just now, the wide verges are at their most resplendent. Lush swathes of waving grasses are tall and delicate and dotted throughout by yellow, blue, purple and white wild flowers. A close-up of nature at its awesome best.

But I have noticed a difference this year. Some familiar flowers are very few in number, and others seem to be missing altogether. We are used to seeing orchids (marsh and spotted), but the few that have flowered this year are small and widely scattered, while in contrast, the birds foot trefoil is absolutely everywhere. And there seem to be none of the magnificent huge spear thistles at all.... I can only assume the success or otherwise of wild flowers varies in much the same way as any other living thing. Temperatures and weather conditions vary every year, and no doubt this has an effect on some plants (and presumably on insects/animals as well).
Here are a few photos of some of our local wild flowers... (and I'm cheating a bit - I took these on 25th June, last year).

As ever in this blog - click on any picture to see it bigger and view a gallery.

Birds foot trefoil

Marsh orchid

Spotted orchid

Ragged robin

Tufted vetch


Red clover

Ox-eye daisy

Marsh thistle


Tuesday 21 June 2016

A Frustrating Wait...

Over a week ago, I excitedly posted on Facebook that I had bought the new 'toy' that I have been promising myself for a year or two.

And I have, indeed, bought  a stunning 2007 Jaguar XK 4.2 Coupe in the rare colour, Winter Gold, complimented by a gorgeous interior in caramel soft-grain leather with walnut trim. Here it is:

My new car, alongside Sue's C3, at PPM, Milton Keynes, just after my first drive
The car is a recent import from southern Ireland, where it has languished, little used, covering only 15,700 miles from new. All the history of the car checks-out fine, and I have been in touch with the Dublin Jaguar dealer who has serviced it.

Now the frustrating bit - the dealer in the UK who I am buying the car from, and who imported it, had applied to the DVLA for UK registration, but made a mistake on the forms, so the DVLA has sent the whole application back to the dealer, who has had to re-apply. This is leading to an agonising wait of at least a couple of weeks before I can go back to Milton Keynes and bring the car home...!!

However, it will happen soon, and I'll then get my new PS55 KAT registration on the car, and take some pictures with Skye in the background!!

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Every Man Should Have A Shed

Sheds are great – big cosy cupboards where the contents are comfortingly familiar, but with everything muddled in a kind of chaotic confusion. The dirt and cobwebs don’t matter; indeed they are an essential ingredient to the ‘essence’ of the shed. Stored in the shed are: ‘I’ll keep that it may come in useful’ items, things that are ‘too good to throw away’, and broken things about which I think, ‘I’ll fix that one day’, plus of course all the vital household and garden tools that have no possible home other than ‘The Shed’.

I have never bought a shed, managing to cope with the sides and walls of my garage to fulfill the shed role. (I am a firm believer that garages should be used for the parking of a car, but there is still a huge amount of space around the parked car that, with imagination and ingenuity, can be utilised in a shed-like way). However, here on rural, agricultural Skye, where the suburban garage is not a common sight, we have inherited a few sheds…

The Barn's Garden Shed - more of a prop for the clematis really...
The Barn Allotment Shed - cutely ugly
The Barn's Decorating Shed - still looking uncomfortable, squeezed in at the back of the Barn . It was moved to here when the Barn's garage was built.
I must do something about those steps...
Summer Cottage Garden Shed
Note the net curtain at the window... we inherited that along with the shed
Summer Cottage - The Ultimate Shed
This is huge, with lights, power points, and.....
...yes... its own fully functional wc and wash basin!