Wednesday 27 March 2019

Broadford Co-op

Excitement doesn't happen all that often on Skye. Spotting a pot-hole repair team at work is the number one top highlight, but second to that is the re-opening of Skye's busiest (and only 24-hour) petrol station following a total re-build. The work has been completed in an incredibly short space of time, minimising the inevitable disruption to local people, businesses, and even the emergency services.

This smart fresh petrol station is in Broadford, adjacent to what may be the ugliest supermarket in Scotland in one of the most scenic locations. The supermarket is also being totally refurbished along with the petrol station, and a new entrance and wall cladding has been added, which prettifies the building a tad.

That really IS pretty exciting for us!

Supermarket-wise - the Co-op continues to have a monopoly on Skye. There are two other Co-ops on the island, both in Portree, but no other supermarket has a base here. However - Tesco operates a very popular click-and-collect service, with its vans coming over from Dingwall. Shoppers have to meet the Tesco van in pre-arranged locations.

Supermarkets aside - a number of tiny independent village stores do a fantastic job of supplying a very wide range of food and other essentials to the island's small and far-flung communities.

Broadford Co-op - before refurbishment

Broadford Bay - the Co-op is rather prominent...

The new petrol station - opened today

For anyone who may be interested - I have posted a number of pictures taken during the refurbishment on Geograph. Please follow this link:

Tuesday 19 March 2019

How Dark Is Dark?

You get used to the status quo.

Sue and I take Cupar out for his late night walkies every night, and without a thought, we clad up in whatever clothing is appropriate for the weather at the time, then we pick up the torch. It's just what we do.

On the rare occasions when there is a clear sky and a big moon, the torch may not be needed. But mostly, the darkness is total.

However - on a clear, moonless night, especially in winter, we will often find ourselves standing motionless, gazing heavenwards, in complete awe. How can there be so many stars? And then the Milky Way paints a pale, glittering stripe across the blackness. How big is the universe? How small can we feel?

That's dark!

Just recently, I have been spending quite a few nights at The Old Bakery in Strathpeffer. There are lit-up houses here, and street lights. It still gets dark, but it's quite a different darkness, and it is quite reassuring to be able to walk with some confidence that you can see where you are stepping.

But given the choice - I'll take Skye-dark every time!

That little dot at the bottom is The Barn
No caption needed...!

Saturday 9 March 2019


We lost someone very special last week here on Skye.
We had to say 'Goodbye' to our very dear friend, confidante and Auntie
- Anne Nicholson.
I first met Anne and her lovely husband Roy in 2013 through Home Care.

The happy couple at home on Roy's birthday on 1st September 2015 .....
I made a banana and walnut cake to celebrate!

They were both completely dedicated to each other
and nothing was too much trouble for Anne - 
as she always cheerfully made Roy's later years as comfortable as possible.

Very sadly Roy passed away peacefully in his sleep
on Friday 11th November 2016.
Anne was bereft but out of her enormous grief
there blossomed an amazing strength and a will to carry 
on with her life for a while.
With encouragement we managed to persuade her to venture out 
into the outside world again.......

Anne contemplating tackling Afternoon Tea at Skeabost House Hotel in 2017!
She absolutely loved it too......

Anne also came to our home at Roskhill Barn 
for Christmas Dinner on two occasions -
the first in 2016 and then again last December 2018.
Both times she thoroughly enjoyed her time with us.

Anne, myself and Cupar, our potty pooch
by our er...... miniscule Christmas tree in our lounge at home -in 2016.

We also managed to tempt Anne to come out and about on occasions.
She, our friend Shona and myself popped over to The Stein Inn 
for lunch a couple of times, - enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery en route.....

Shona and Anne smile for the 'cameraman/chauffeur' in The Stein Inn,
after enjoying an extremely satisfying soup and sandwich Summer 2017.

Anne admitted to me one day back in 2017 just how
much she had enjoyed our tea at Skeabost House together several months before.
As a surprise I took her there the following year on 12th September 
as a belated birthday treat.
The photograph below is my favourite one of her....she looks so contented....

Anne sitting by that wonderful roaring fire at Skeabost just before
she made VERY short work of an amazing Afternoon Tea!

My final photo is another of Anne with her beloved Roy 
taken way back in 2014. 
It was Anne's own personal favourite and simply illustrates 
the closeness and love this devoted couple both enjoyed.

Thank you Anne for all the kindness and love 
you gave to everyone who had the pleasure to know you.
We all miss you so much.  

Friday 8 March 2019

Waiting For Spring

I don't doubt the feeling is much the same throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but here on Skye, where winter seems start in September and end about May, one can get a bit edgy when looking for signs that spring is round the corner. It's definitely a case of, 'are we nearly there yet?'

Yes - we have had drifts of snowdrops, which are now all over, and currently the early slightly tattered daffodils are putting up a brave fight against the wind and rain, while others remain in bud, hoping for a calmer period when they can delight us as they bob in the breeze. As for the birds - several feisty robins look like they have sorted out the pecking order around our feeders, and we are now left with what we take to be a mating pair. The local blackbirds are doing their best to serenade the morning dog-walk as they cling precariously to the upper twigs of the tallest local trees.

But closely inspect the trees and shrubs, and there is barely a glimpse of new leaf to be seen. The ground is very wet just now. It will be a while before I can don my wellies and take a fork to the allotment beds.

But we know that the weather changes quickly here. A few days of dry weather, sunshine and a dry breeze will have the soil in a fit state for turning.

...And then the grass will start growing, and it will be time to play the game of  'can I get the mower to start?'...

...And then the bluebells will all come out...

...And all the other wild flowers..

...And then all the visitors will begin to arrive...

Any lambs yet...???