Wednesday 9 November 2016

Let’s Hear It For NHS Scotland!

I received a letter the other day, inviting me to attend Portree hospital for a screening scan for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurism. All men aged 65 in Scotland get this letter. The accompanying information leaflet told me that about 1 in 20 men aged 65 have an aortic aneurysm. Small and medium aneurisms may never need treatment, though they will continue to be monitored. Large aneurisms can rupture, which often leads to death, but if spotted soon enough, may be treated to prevent rupture.

But enough of the health-scare stuff…

My appointment was for 2.40pm. I arrived at the little Portree hospital at about 2.25pm, and was greeted by a helpful receptionist who showed me towards the upstairs reception, where the patients for scans were registered. ‘Do you need the lift to get upstairs? I was asked…OMG – I must be beginning to look old…!!!

A further friendly and smiling receptionist at upstairs reception took my details and pointed me to a seated waiting area. Just one other person was sitting there, among about a dozen empty chairs. I took off my coat and was about to sit down when a nurse called my name, and showed me to a treatment room.

‘I’m Christine, and this Is Janice’, said the nurse, showing me into the room. I was given a little information as to what was about to be done, and asked if I had any questions. I did not, so I lay on the couch and my abdomen was squirted with a rather chilly jelly. A few minutes of ultrasound scanning took place, and I was then told by Janice that my aorta was well within the ‘normal’ range, and I was filled in with a few further details by Christine. I was then ‘free to go’.

I wandered out of the hospital and back to my van (parked in the hospital car park, right outside, and for no cost, I should add), and as I turned on the ignition, noticed the time was 2.37pm.

Yes – I had attended my appointment, received top quality treatment, and was back out of the hospital BEFORE the time I was due to even be there.

I award 10 out of 10 to Portree Hospital, NHS Scotland, for their friendly and efficient care.  Thank you!

Portree Hospital

Saturday 5 November 2016

Historic Roskhill

Ever since buying Roskhill Barn, we have been fascinated to learn more about the history of the building and the local area. Very little has been written down. Our deeds provide the names of two previous owners, going back to the 1950s, but we are pretty certain that the Barn was built towards the end of the 19th century. There appear to be no written records to confirm this. The oldest map of Roskhill I have found dates from 1877, and certainly shows buildings on the site of the Barn and Roskhill House (which was the farmhouse to which we are the barn), but the footprint of the buildings is not quite as they are today - so there is no knowing if they are the same buildings.

1877 map - the Barn is under the pink dot.
A new road was built in the 1960s, which bypasses us and the sharp bend at Vatten Bridge.
Note the Erd House (at the foot of the map).
This would have been a bronze-age souterrain - there are several on Skye.
The Roskhill one has long since collapsed and no sign of it remains today.
As for the slightly more recent history - we do have some first-hand tales told by elderly local residents. One recalls the days when the Barn was a cattle shed - probably about 1950 - and one night, the building caught fire, destroying the roof and sadly killing some of the cattle. Charred timbers were found in one of the walls when our rebuild was undertaken. At some time, possibly in the 1920s, the farmhouse next door opened a shop with a petrol pump outside. It was also a Post Office for a while. Our postman's sister worked in the shop in the 1960s. The Barn was then used for storage and for anyone buying paraffin oil, a trip had to made from shop to Barn where the oil was stored. The doorway of the barn was in what is now the back wall, and the wood lintel is now visible inside, being the beam above our kitchen window.

In the 1970s, the Barn was converted for residential use as two flats. These were let as holiday accommodation. The roof was raised slightly, and an outside staircase built to provide access to the upper floor. Another local resident used to do the turn-rounds. She visited here recently as was able to recall the location of the ground floor kitchen and bathroom, which were in quite different places to what we had expected. She was also surprised to see how much the trees around the building had grown - I guess trees do a lot of growing in 40 years!

We have found just two old photographs which show the Barn. They are both undated, but our best guess is that they are both from the 1930s. I'll post them below. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get a modern comparison view today because of the growth of the trees.

The Barn stands to the left of Roskhill House.
Today, the ground to left of the river is planted with sitka spruce.
We think this is a later picture than the one above.
It looks like the deciduous trees in the river gorge (in front of Roskhill House) are beginning to grow
though the sitka are yet to be planted.