A Dog is a Man’s Best Friend

‘A Dog is a Man’s Best Friend’ – so they say – but in this case ‘they’ have got it wrong. Young Rory pictured here many months ago is actually family friend Diane’s best ‘friend’ —

But even I managed to shelve my reservations and fiddled with his velvety ears for a few mins in a Callander cafe on Sunday to give Helen and Diane peace to drink their coffee —

It actually looks as if I’m getting more out of the deal than a now grown up Rory 🙂

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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks


CRF Rally etched with Crinan Canal and High Couture

Etched? I have to call it something and I’ve forgotten what my ‘puter called this proccess —

I’m not sure about the result – but – Helen likes it and that’s a plus. Her V-strom is black for starters so I don’t suppose I can improve it in photo-shop —

mmm’m – not bad.

Saturday had us Christmas shopping in Lochgilphead – a few nice little shops there and you either find something – or you don’t. I found everything I needed in 30 mins flat but it took Helen slightly longer —

No worries – we still had time for a walk by Crinan Canal – I can see us taking the bicycles down there and cycling the whole seven miles of it sometime soon —

And – what about the high couture? The one that got away – the hat that didn’t make our wedding back in June —

I still can’t believe this lovely lady married me —

and introduced me to a life of peace – contentment – and occasional sunshine 🙂


650 V-strom finds the Wild Rowan Cafe

The Wild Rowan Cafe wasn’t exactly lost but nestling on the quieter shores of Loch Awe it’s a bit of a hidden gem. I usually head that way with the agile CRF250 Rally but having extolled the merits of the wee cafe once too often we were two-up on the V-strom today.

No use pointing that-a-way girl – we’ve just come from there —

Thursday was supposed to be a day of work but by lunchtime we had both accomplished most of our allotted tasks and with the prospect of a dry afternoon ahead we were soon booted and suited then skipped over to South Cuan where we caught the last ferry before lunch to Seil and the mainland —

Now we have the direction of travel sorted we leave Loch an Losgainn Mor to it’s own devices and head due east by Loch Avich before dropping down from the hills to the shores of Loch Awe. Greasy single track roads through the mixed forests needed a little respect as they are used by forestry extraction teams and civil engineering outfits who are busy rebuilding bridges and constructing a community funded hydro-electric scheme on the River Avich.

No matter what your business is in this remote area – all roads lead to the Wild Rowan Cafe – shop cum Post Office in the tin-roofed loch-side village of Dalavich —

It’s a veritable Tardis —

Two-chinned givit needs to leave the cakes alone —

Even if he does claim to have been buying some locally knitted Beanies —

There’s one each —

plus a couple for H’s two grandaughters in Japan —

Very fetching Helen 🙂


Sunshine and Showers with CRF250 Rally

More or less what we can expect early in November – it’s a case of wrapping up warrm and getting out there —

Today it was over the hills and faraway on my lonesome with the Honda 250 Rally —

With a smidgeon over one thousand miles on the clock she is running as sweet as a sweet thing should —

Not a single complaint from the bike or from me for that matter —

Her knobbly Bridgestones hook up well wet or dry —

On road or off —

Here in the Western Hielands the weather and visibility – or lack of – can change by the minute —

Just horse on and the blue skies will come again 🙂


Beaver Moon brings out the V-strom

The Beaver Moon — she was a beauty —

Following a wild and windy Saturday with more than our share of rainbows —

That old moon may have come shining through our back door a bit rough around the edges but she cleared the clouds away by morning giving us the first decent view we’ve had of Scarba all week —

With the final cut of grass done for the year – I hope – there was nothing else for it but to bring the V-strom out and make a leisurely start to the day as the first ferry on a Sunday goes at a tardy 11.00hrs.

By that time temperatures had risen to around nine degrees in the sunlight dropping to six-ish in the shade. No doubt there had been groundfrost earlier and a two-car prang we came across on our ride could have only been caused by black ice – or a sleeping driver.

Snow glistening on the distant Ben Cruachan for the first time this year formed a pleasing picture —

While our route would go that direction we were well below the snow-line and pulled over for a shot or two down Loch Awe —

A lovely young Oriental lady popped out of her van and insisted she take a ‘Mr & Mrs’ photo too —

A nice blast over the hill to the Green Welly found the ‘Biker’s Cafe’ closed for the winter and queues of tourists from the visiting coaches hogging the main restaurant leaving nothing else for it but coffee’s to go from the machine in the fuel station kiosk —

Can’t quite make out what ‘Sir’ is saying but it will most likely be sumthin or nuthin —

No worries – he recovered in time for a pleasant blast over Rannoch Moor to Glen Coe where the mountains were at their most photogenic.

You will just have to take my word on that because winter ferry times on the Lord’s Day don’t allow enough for a long ride leaving us little time to stop for pics as the day drew to a close 🙂




Tatties Galore 2017 – a Poem

I first dabbled with poetry for a pleasant distraction from working twelve hour shifts as a plant fitter in the dangerous hard rock tunnels being cut out of the hillside for the North Bank Power Station at the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River from 1969-72. As if the fissured rock we were tunnelling through leading to deaths of colleagues wasn’t tough enough – the fact that the dam itself stretching 173 miles along the border between the warring nations of North and South Rhodesia brought extra friction to life including an unwanted introduction to landmines.

Current day life on the Isle of Luing is peaceful in comparison – most of the time – but the physical effort required to prepare the neglected garden at Bardrishaig for cultivation was going to be a real test for the old body.

Tatties Galore 2017 – a Poem.

Spring is viewed with trepidation – choose enough seed to feed a nation

Weeds in abundance get there first – thistles – docks – briars are the worst

Garden fork – spade – a mattock too – times when nettle stings turn air blue

Blackbirds – chaffinch – robins arrive – birdsong brings the garden alive

Weeds all gone – I’ve flattened the lumps – leave slate blackened soil without any humps

Cakebreads calling – seed potatoes stocked – fertiliser scattered – growing season unlocked

King Edwards – Kerr’s Pinks – Home Guards – names to thrill –

Marris Bards – Marris Peers – Golden Wonders fill each drill

In two weeks or three – green shoots appear – bring joy to a gardener full of good cheer

Earlies – Seconds – Main Crops all show – cover them up – bring out the hoe

Spend many a day the straight drills admiring – leafy shaws blot them out – flowers arriving

King Edwards crop first to the gardener’s surprise – Marris Bard by the bagfull are next to arrive

Knobbly Pinks – Marris Peers – Golden Wonders spill to borders

Dig tatties – fill baskets – bring chaos to order.


Don 🙂

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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in Gardening, Isle of Luing, out and about


Talking Bull

Taking the road to the shore I pass two of the senior bulls (On our island full of bulls) The elder statesmen of the Celebrated cattle of Luing. They move neither to left nor right. Pay no heed to traffic or footfall. I can walk right up to the great heads. Only the eyes swivel […]

To see what I have to put up with read the whole poem from Helen via — Talking Bull — Find The Wildlife Within 

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Posted by on October 30, 2017 in out and about


V-strom meets the Vital Spark

The Vital Spark was the old Puffer or coastal steamer made famous both on the telly and in book form for it’s role with Parahandy the irascible skipper and his crew as they delivered coal and general supplies up and down the west coast of Scotland.

She still exists and is currently rusting away against the harbour wall at Inverary on Loch Fyne where we made the most of the today’s rare sunshine on a chill late October ride.

Now if that big geezer leaning against the barrier would just move over we might get a better shot of the puffer but there’s no point asking eight stone Helen to move him along. On closer inspection there’s no need – looks like he is doing his own version of the ‘Vital Spark’ —

We had better luck up the road with Ben Cruachan – there are no big geezers getting in the way of this shot —

H-mmm – spoke too soon – where did this big lump and his Strom come from —

He get’s everywhere these days  – at least he was smiling when the frugal Strom left him with half a tank of fuel after the 140 odd mile ride and enough dosh to pay for the ferry home across Cuan Sound as the late afternoon shadows lengthened on the day after the clocks were turned back an hour to official Winter Time —

We almost made it home before thecouncil gritters came scattering their road salt far and wide – almost – we were just a few miles from the ferry with temperatures hovering around a balmy twelve degrees when we were showered with the lethal rust provoking stuff. Hopefully a few minutes washdown with the hose by the backdoor will have saved the day 🙂




Colour in the Pot

Life is full of surprises – in one of her rare visit to my kitchen when she wasn’t tied up in the Edinburgh ‘Injun’ Shed —

where m’lady Helen has found a bike with a seat height that allows her to get both feet on the ground —

she chanced to spot my makings of a veggie hotpot and waxed all lyrical —

saying it had given her ideas for her new range of designer bags —

And I thought last year’s model wasn’t too bad – wimmen – I will never understand ’em 🙂

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Posted by on October 23, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling


V-Strom goes where Tumbling Waters Fall

Tumbling Waters? They are not hard to find in the West of Scotland but a quick shufty at the weather forecast on my mobile this morning came up with the info that for once our own Isle of Luing was to be the driest today and by sticking to the west coast between Tarbert Loch Fyne in the south and Ballachulish to the north we would have a four hour window without a great deal of precipitation.

I need a filler between the paragraphs – how about the happy eyes in the helmet while I wait for the real piccies to download —

For once the forecast was right although overnight heavy rain had caused considerable flooding on the roads which the well treaded Bridgestones on the V-Strom handled with aplomb. So well did she go that we were in Glen Coe village ‘Crafts n Things’ fighting for a vacant table while the ‘People who Lunch’ were still hogging all the furniture.

No worries – wee Helen sorted the seating arrangements out while I nailed the cappuccino’s and Fairy Cakes at the counter. Good coffee n cakes didn’t last long and the skies still looked okay up by Loch Leven by the time we were togged up again so we ventured that-a-way. We had seen waters tumbling off the wooded hillsides on the way from Oban and missed a few opportunities to dig the cameras out so we weren’t going to miss this one —

All that water after a coffee and something has to give – but – ‘here I am back in the picture with you’ —

H is made of stronger stuff and carried on clicking – at hills —

n more water —

Time to head for home – the wee Strom was singing well after her first service but we did manage a stop or two when the sunshine on the mountains across Loch Linnhe pulled us in —

C’mon ‘H’ – be sensible —

I know you want to take home a memento to mark this crackin’ day out on the Strom —

But – you will never fit that road sign under the seat —