via Evening Star
Helen’s latest painting – a water colour showing two roe deer amongst the rowans on our knoll looking down the pond and across Sound of Luing to the robust Isle of Scarba —
Helen has taken a bit of artistic licence with the placement of the star – but hey – it is coming up for Christmas after all 🙂
Sunday was one of those days when I thought I might dig over part of our vegetable patch only to find it water-logged from all the ‘weather’ we have had in recent months so I left it in the capable care of our resident roe deer buck —
and headed out on the 250 Rally with the intention of riding some of the farm tracks on the island —
The tracks were OK but when they ran out I found the grass covered sections to be just as water-logged as my garden —
Rather than cut them up I pulled out and cantered over on the tarry stuff to Blackmill Bay —
where I took a few ‘artistic’ shots of the remains of the old jetty —
that – as this old post card shows – had once been the main lifeline to and from the island —
But a red-blooded guy with a itchy throttle hand can only take so much of this before his mind starts to wander and thoughts turn elsewhere —
to the stony path running part-way up the cliff between the two slate quarries in the north-west of the island —
Stormy seas have washed out parts of the old track but there was enough left for me to get a pic or two —
and set the scene —
before heading back to meet up at the Atlantic Island Centre in Cullipool where my son Jim was celebrating his birthday with friends and family —
Not a bad day all round 🙂
Across the Sound of Luing our neighbouring Isle of Scarba has it’s cap of snow —
and our ‘big’ neighbour across the Sound of Lorn – the mountainous Isle of Mull has more than it’s fair share of the white stuff —
but here on the Isle of Luing it’s like a summer’s day —
if you give or take the occasional flurry of hail – sleet or snot —
So good in fact that I brought out the ‘surfer dude’ bike – the MSX125 Gorm and went looking for long distance Atlantic Breakers – only to find them a trifle benign —
No worries – as our near neighbours say over there on the Slate Isle of Easdale – ‘the nearest landmass when we look seaward is Brazil’ – that’s a smidgen under six thousand miles for an albatross so no doubt we will have many a ‘good blow’ before winter is out 🙂
‘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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
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.