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Category Archives: Isle of Luing

Tea Growers Anonymous

An interesting article in our local Oban Times last week listed many of the tea plantations currently operating in Scotland – everything from The Wee Tea Company with 14,000 plants growing on high ground – formerly a sheep farm near Dunkeld – to a new plantation with 500 bushes planted at sea level recently on our fellow Lorn Island of Lismore.

There are also small operations in Invernesshire – Peebles – Orkney – the Isle of Arran and our nearby Isle of Mull. If their reporter – Sandy Neil -had looked over the wall above Fladda Cottages here on the Isle of Luing he might have seen OUR mini-plantation where Helen and I have six healthy plants of the green tea producing Camelia Sinensis variety growing happily in our south sloping garden despite their recent exposure to several degrees of frost —

The Lismore growers find their biggest challenge is to fend off the legions of voles which burrow through the roots of the plants. Voles shouldn’t be a problem here as our Seamus does a great job of keeping them and their sort in order – no —

Our public enemy No.1 is the roe deer – they just love to munch on tasty fresh green tea leaves —

Yup – here she is – early in the morning outside our bathroom window casing the joint – hence the security detail of Daleks which did a great job of protecting our young fruit trees in 2017 – this year they are on Camelia Sinensis patrol —

Oh yes – what of the Nepalese Prayer Flags – just a personal touch to make our Himalayan tea plants feel more at home 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2018 in Gardening, Isle of Luing

 

Mad March is Over

Yesterday was April first – April Fool’s Day – we had our own ‘Fool’s Day’ mid-March when we joined the Mad March Hares and had our first barbie of the year down the old slate quarry to celebrate my 76th birthday —

The ‘Beast from the East’ was in full flow so the old quarry on the western shores of the Island provided most shelter from the howling snow-filled gale force winds that were coming our way from Putin’s Russian Steppes —

with the added bonus of a view out to Fladda Lighthouse and the islands beyond —

once the smoke from the burning oak logs had dispersed —

and the sausages were browning nicely in the frying pan —

M-mmm — can’t beat a bit of carbon on a bap —

and even Helen looked happy although she was chilled to the bone —

Seamus couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about and his demeanor says it all —

He is such a clean cat —

and insisted on having a bath to wash the smoke out of his fur when he got home 🙂

 

Skye – the latest Ferry Dog

It comes with the job – it would appear that being a ferry skipper is not complete without a version of ‘Man’s best Friend’.

Here she is all ready to cast off the good ship Belnahua at North Cuan – our latest refugee from the dog pound —

Wait a minute! They say dogs look like their masters —

Maybe that’s why my missus would like to bring Skye home with her 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2018 in boats, Isle of Luing

 

CRF 250 Rally get’s Gold

No we haven’t been taking part in the Winter Olympics – better than that – the Rally has been elevated to the ‘go to’ bike and is the one that comes out every chance I get. She can’t exactly swim from the Island over to Easdale this weather but she can do almost everything else I ask of her.

So-o – what better accolade than to fit her with the alloy gold Renthal bars that have graced many of my bikes over the past twenty years during which time these bars have visited France – Andorra – Spain – Portugal – Belgium – Holand – Germany – Luxemburg – Austria – Italy – Croatia and several other Baltic and East European countries plus almost every nook and crannie of the UK.

They are the perfect width for me – with bent arms coming parallel from the shoulders they are less tiring on a long day in the saddle than others I have tried.

The bends are spot on too – my hands fall naturally on to the grips with no strain on the wrists – again unlike some I have come across.

The Acerbis brush guards – bought for off-roading in Wales back in the nineties have lasted well and I was pleased to find them in one of my many boxes of bits out in the shed as the Toys r Us guards that come fitted to the Rally as standard are neither use nor ornament.

Yes – she is a much better bike than I expected her to be and well deserves her Gold Bars 🙂

 

 

 

Home is Where the Heart is

‘Home is where the heart is’ – I’ve heard that one before. In some cases it’s had a hollow ring to it but not always.

Our ‘Home’ stands foursquare and it’s just as well considering some of the weather it has had to withstand recently —

The view across the garden isn’t bad —

and Tammy the Tamworth piggywig hasn’t much to complain about either —

Not with all those trees and brush to explore —

even if it is a bit on the cold side when you aren’t exactly blessed with a fur coat – bristles leave something to be desired when it’s like this —

Henry the horse in the field across the road comes better equipped with his neat winter coat from Harrods —

as he admires the view —

to the snow-covered hills in the distance —

Even the sunsets – currently over Lunga – are to be cherished —

Wherever we may travel —

morning noon or night – there’s no place like home 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2018 in Isle of Luing, out and about

 

Over the Rooftops

Living in the highest house on Luing has it’s downsides – mainly the road up to it which is deemed impassable by the Royal Mail and most other delivery services but we are nothing if not self-sufficient in that regard —

Being almost on the same level up here as the mains water reservoir and it’s gravity supply system means we are the first to run dry when the level drops – but hey – what is bottled water for if not for such an emergency and if that runs out —

there is always the spring water by the roadside at the bottom of our farm track. Many of the long term residents on the island swear by it and prefer it to the ‘new – improved’ mains water.

Looks like summer – but it was only yesterday we had the wall-to-wall sunshine —

it’s a bit different today with temperatures below freezing and icy rain storms rattling off the windows —

Seamus has taken the sensible option and kept his nose dry indoors all day 🙂

 

 

 

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

 
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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 🙂

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 🙂

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

 

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 🙂