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Author Archives: Don

Seamus the Free Range Tabby Cat

I wasn’t the only one walking on the wild side this morning – Seamus went out about 07.00hrs while it was still dark. I saw him later from the bedroom window in daylight hunting up on the hillside. I don’t know if he caught any mice but he was certainly enjoying the hunt as he leaped and danced amongst the long grass and dead bracken fronds.

He met me by the gate to the old steading as I returned from my walk but I have Helen to thank for these lovely pics as he ambushed her out there later —

He loves to patrol the old stone wall —

The mice like it too as it gives shelter and cover from the many birds of prey resident on the Isle of Luing —

We occasionally have golden and sea eagles visiting from Mull and I can’t help but imagine what they would make of our Seamus.

He made the most of his day in the sun and was so tired when he arrived home after sunset that he didn’t even make it onto the big chair – simply dropped on the carpet by the fire and observing us through half shut eyes —

But he did recover and came up to join me later – adopting the imperial position on the well cushioned sofa where we enjoyed another film from Netflix πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Sunshine on Luing

Deffo a day of all things bright and beautiful – wall-to-wall sunshine brought me out for a hobble over the rough ground beyond the house —

I would usually be sinking ankle-deep and more into mud and rushes at this time of year but with temperatures below freezing we have a frozen ‘tundra’ out back —

Walking poles help keep me upright but can be a bit of a nuisance when it comes to using the binoculars or taking photos —

No worries – the views to a snow-clad Isle of Mull over Cullipool and across the Sound of Lorn are well worth the effort —

Great stuff! —

If only we could have more of this hard frost – getting around would be so much easier πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2017 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks

 

Cat in My Chair!

With winter here Jackie Frost is forcing our mice into hiding around Bardrishaig.

Our ginger tabby cat Seamus is spending more time indoors and now with poetry taking over my blog I’m obliged to join in and have my beef in prose – here goes —

Oops! – I started my rhyming too early πŸ™‚

CAT in MY Chair!

I had MY chair
I no longer have MY chair
the chair is still there
but all I do is stare

Our cat doesn’t give a toss
that I think I’m still the boss
my mind is at a loss
perhaps I’m not the boss

Where once I was the lord-or
kept my life in order
I’m more than a little pissed
to have fallen down the list

I light the fire and carry coal
I’m slightly lower than the mole
Cat doesn’t care
He owns my chair

Roll on Spring πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Seamus our Ginger Tabby Cat

 

Night Light

A poem from Helen at ‘Find the Wildlife Within’on WordPress

Find The Wildlife Within

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Waking, I look first from the window
for the three lights in a row on the island
showing they’re at work on the lobster pond.

There’s a time of night when stars line up
in a row of three too; lofty
companions to Fladda Lighthouse.

Then there are the lighthouses on Colonsay,
and the Garvellachs – smaller stars skating
across the sea’s blank mirror.

Waking from a dark dream, I am fortified
for the day ahead by these nine lights.
Three on land, three aloft and three a-sail.

Night light, star-light, sea bright.
Looking out, I’m reassured by this
constant constellation.

Night Light

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Posted by on December 9, 2017 in out and about

 

Caroline Caps Ben Cruachan

It was grim and more than a little blustery around here yesterday when a storm called Caroline blundered through —

but we held our ground and even found a gorgeous freshwater pool formed by rainwater dripping down from the cliffs above —

In fact beauty in abundance one minute —

and glowering storm clouds next —

Today was much the same leading to snow – especially on top of Ben Cruachan —

where Helen caught this shot of the snow-capped mountain from the roadside while on her ‘Santa’ run to Oban this morning πŸ™‚

 
 

Yamaha FJ1100 in my Shed

A few years back I had a big workshop with not-a-lot happening in it. Modern bikes are pretty reliable and unless you are using them for something they weren’t mean’t to do they don’t take much spannering. Yes winter boredom had set in and I fancied a project.

A ‘friend’ spoke of an 1984 Yamaha FJ1100 ‘going cheap’ that would make a good project – especially with my long interest in the Yam XJR1300 which uses the same motor. I found my FJ in the middle of a D&G forest and of course paid too much for the bike which had been shut in the guy’s logshed for a number of years. She started up with the aid of a set of jump leads as the battery was duff and on the whole she didn’t look too bad.

Forget about the registration number – it’s on my car now —

Previous owner and his dog are not impressed by my first offer —

but she ended up in my workshop and it bit-by-bit she came to pieces —

despite a few pauses to read the newspaper which always looks more interesting second time round —

Wiring? it’s all there —

Sixteen inch rims on the FJ —

with big fat tyres to compensate —

She originally came out as top of the range sportsbike —

then Kawasaki spoiled her fun with a neatly packaged (for the day) Z thou —

A good condition Z thou will cost a small fortune nowadays —

and while prices may be creeping up for an old FJ1100 —

spares parts are still cheap —

 

and available —

 

if you know where to look —

 

but they still have a long way to go —

to catch up with the Z1000 —

The FJ with it’s strong wrap-around front end —

handled well for it’s time —

A dirty beggar right enough when the plastics came off but cleaned up well —

she will make a nice bike when completed —

Just can’t make up my mind whether to go for the ‘Luing Scrambler’ look – build her back as standard – or – flog her as ‘an unfinished project’.

Labouring in a cold workshop doesn’t have the same appeal as it once did πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, Yamaha FJ1100

 

The Road to The Isles

It’s fully 16 months now since Helen and I moved to the Isle of Luing in the Inner Hebrides where the weather can be wild and windy one minute and quite benign the next —

The roads are fewer, rougher and tighter than those to be found in the rest of Scotland so it’s very much a case of horses for courses —

Helen and I have had to adapt in many ways but overall it has been well worth the effort —

Shopping – gardening – cooking and baking can be more of a challenge but the occasional success has it’s own rewards —

and with our second Christmas together on the island fast approaching we are looking forward to 2018 with confidence —

The photo was taken just a few minutes before Boss-cat dug his claws into my forearm to get my straying attention! He is a farm cat after all and is as much at home in the tumbledown steading catching vermin or out on the hillside with the deer and the ever-present threat of attack from above as he is on my lap in front of the log fire of an evening —

I blame Netflix where ‘Medici’ has taken us into devious Italian banking circles and ‘murrder’ awaits round every street corner – ‘old hat’ to some perhaps but brand new to ourselves here on Luing πŸ™‚

 

Love is in the air at Bardrishaig

I may be stretching a point here when I credit our wild roe deer with feelings normally associated with humans –

but – having watched our resident buck at close quarters for several months now –

and – our more timid females as and when they make their skittish appearance –

it certainly looks like there is a match made in heaven taking place on our doorstep.

But work came first this morning as our fine fellow trimmed the front lawn —

under the watchful eye of his bride-to-be —

Even our resident cock pheasant get’s in on the act as he sprints across the lawn to his position on rowan tree knoll in time to take his place as best man —

He had to be quick for the groom has smartened up and is on his way too —

How about that then – even the cock pheasant seemed a little envious – if a tad embarrassed at the speed the nuptials took place —

No doubt – all being well – we will hear the pitter-patter of little hoofs around here again next spring πŸ™‚

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Gardening, Isle of Luing, out and about, Wildlife

 

Ben Cruachan by CRF250 Rally

Temperatures around freezing don’t stop play when the sun is shining so once again our resident roe deer buck was left in charge of the old farmyard and out came the CRF250 Rally to make the most of the day —

With brilliant sunshine forecast for the day-Β  a snow-capped Ben Cruachan north of Loch Awe caught the eye from a high point twixt Clachan on the Isle of Seil and Kilninver on the road to Oban —

Possibly 25 miles as the crow flies but a chilly 40 plus by road – I will chicken out and settle for a distant pic and leave that trip for the V-strom with it’s heated grips on another day πŸ™‚

Β 

 

Dawn till Dusk with the Belnahua

‘Dawn till Dusk’ – ‘if only’ say the ferry men and women – yes we have a lady skipper too and they are all expected to be up at ‘dark-a-clock’ to take their turn (in pairs) to bring the Belnahua from it’s mooring in open water to the island jetty in time for the first run of the day at 07.30hrs.

She’s at the jetty now and you may board her – if you can find her —

One of the benefits of being retired is that it’s usually OK to travel in the second – or third wave of the day – drive on in daylight and enjoy the five minute crossing —

admire the snow-capped mountains on Mull glistening in the sun as we did today on the 10.35hrs crossing —

or keep an eye out for the occasional sea eagle – seals – otters and other wildlife that find food around here in abundance —

The ferry dog having made the crossing many times at half hour intervals over the years has seen it all and has been known to swim the tidal race on his own when boredom gets the better of him —

Our drive over well gritted roads in temperatures just above freezing to Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig went well —

but the short winter days meant it was dusk by the time we made the return crossing —

and there was the Belnahua waiting to take us safely once again over the narrows of Cuan Sound —

and home —

to Luing πŸ™‚

 

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in boats, Isle of Luing, out and about