Thursday, 14 June 2018

Delighted to have storm Hector last night - we were getting really fed up hosing the garage roof. Unfortunately it coincided with a day that the electricity people decided to disrupt our power for the day to do maintainence.So for the poor souls in the cottages, not only did they have to wander off to find heat and light on the first of our greyer days, but the electricity was 2 HOURS late coming back on so drenched and starving they had to wait ages before there was any respite. AND they missed the Scottish News. Here's hoping they had all been visiting the distillery. A stiff letter has gone to the Hydro Board and a lot of use that will do. But huge apologies all round.

We are delightfully sheltered at the Mains, but not so just up the Glen and poor Judi, my trusty assistant, got held up coming to work by a fallen tree.  A fairly common occurance round here and it is miraculous how quickly a few experienced guys with chain saws can clear it all away. At least the trees are all well in leaf now , so not as much damage as a gale earlier on. Our cousin sailing back to Ireland this morning had a VERY bumpy trip, and most of the ferries were off but for once the Ardrossan-Campbeltown ferry has managed to sail.  If I rush up now to the balcony I will see it on the horizon. Or not.

One of our hens is sitting ( for about the twentieth time so we don't hold out much hope) so we are hoping for chicks. They are rather special Rhode Island Red bantams, and though we started off with 6 we are now down to 3 , so the egg supply really needs replenishing. One year we had a hen who produced 20 chicks from a shed at the bottom of the garden in November. She solemnly walked them all up to the house over the gravel. We rescued most of them and they ended up at the farm next door.

I will keep you posted....

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Who would have thought of it. For once while it is floods and thunder storms down south, we are basking in our second glorious week of sunshine. So much so that we've been out watering the garden and the farmers are (of course) worrying about the barley crop. But all the way to Campbeltown the bright green landscape shows us that the silage is in and already en route for a second crop.
A lovely afternoon spent indulging myself in a spot of sunbathing down on the bay. Two other groups of people there happily splashing around and a couple of yachts , and  that was it. Apart from hordes of gannets up from Ailsa Craig and having a splendid time swooping into the sea.

The ridiculous new path from the Hall to the village is now complete with lights so no longer can dance goers justify falling into Dougie's field - what spoilsports the Government are. But visitors to the cottages will not even need a torch as they wend their way home. Will it spoil my  stargazing from our balcony? That remains to be seen, but for any would-be astronomers amongst you we have an almost perfect 'dark skies' area here, and once we're over the longest day it will soon be out with the telescope again.

Time to go and have a taste of my first strawberries of the year from the hoop house,although sadly the gooseberries are looking very sad  - that's gardening.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

I don't know what happens to the blog over the winter - we still have people coming and going, we still have bookings coming in, but basically outside it's damp and cold and there are no leaves on the trees and the place just doesn't look inviting! But it is, it is! Since I last wrote we have had dances, concerts, the terrific little Music Festival (worth coming to next year ) , the Kintyre Way Ultra with runners and cyclists whizzing past the window, and now the huge excitement of re-roofing the Village Hall and a mammoth and ridiculous path project from Hall to Village which involves about 50 men, cranes, diggers, road rollers and huge trucks -  all of whom trundle down the single track road from Lochgilphead. So much for austerity! And all we want is a few of the potholes filled in.

But this means that you will be able to walk very very safely as far as the next dangerous corner. 

Now, I know you will be wondering why I'm showing you this dreary picture instead of the bright green young leaves of the beeches and limes of Carradale, BUT, this is very special. Because this is the start of our green roof.

As we sat on our balcony and looked at the tatty garage roof which leaked like a sieve, we knew something had to be done, and I hit on the idea of planting the roof and making a garden. We got very enthusiastic and then looking at all the pros and cons we sort of gave up. However a Christmas present of 'How to plant a green roof' did the trick, and about 2 years later (and a lot poorer) we have just completed planting the roof with 'Seascape plug plants for green roofs'.

It is a very tedious process - very strong joists and wood followed by waterproofing then a serious liner, than a fabric liner, then 5 tons of special soil carted up (mainly by Mike) in bucket loads, and then planting 203 wee plants (mainly me) and then letting the whole thing get going. but even after 6 weeks it is thriving and we actually have 6 flowers! 

I will keep you posted.

Friday, 22 September 2017

It can't have been such a bad summer after all - the fig tree in the Douglas Cottages sitooterie has produced masses of fruit - here are two nice specimens . In fact we have had a wonderful crop of apples and are still coping with pounds and pounds of tomatoes - there is only so much chutney you can make. Sweetcorn in the poly tunnel has been very feeble, although the cobs we get taste wonderful.
Grand finale for the Duck Race tomorrow - perhaps after 20 years my duck may actually win. An iffy forecast means it may have to be moved to the Village Hall again, which rather spoils the effect. And that, in theory, is the end of the Carradale holiday season, although our October calendar is filling up and promises of that elusive Indian Summer plus spectacular Autumn colours make thoughts of an Autumn break very tempting.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Next week-end marks the end of an era - the last duck race! For years now the church have been running their duck race down the burn at Dippen on the September week-end. People come from far and wide to take part, and  the fight even to get a duck leads to fisticuffs outside The Glen. Some brilliant names emerge  (there are prizes for everything from the winning duck to the wittiest name) , much barbecue food is scoffed, and many visitors who only see each other at this auspicious occasion go home delighted to have had yet another memorable September week-end. And this is the last! Here's hoping some other exciting event will take it's place - but the ducks were getting a bit weary.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

One of the surprises of living down here is that you never know quite what's going to turn up on the entertainment scene. A far cry from booking Fleetwood Mack 6 months in advance and just knowing you'll be watching it in a concrete arena with the band tiny specks in the far distance.
Anyway, an e-mail from Crear reminded us that the following week there would be a string quartet playing at their  wonderful venue at Kilberry. So as usual we got together a picnic and trundled off on the hour's journey on single track roads to our little spot overlooking Gigha and Jura. Nicely sustained, we arrived at the venue for the most marvellous concert by the Gringolts Quartet. What a treat. A wonderful crowd of people sitting around tables listening to outstanding music with a brilliant view in the background. AND tea and buns at the interval!
Sadly the Crear Concerts are being discontinued, but no doubt something equally surprising will take their place.
And so to Carradale's treat last Saturday. Word got around that Lachie and Sheila were doing their 'herring thing' again. Fortunately we got a ticket as, arriving at our usual last minute, we found the hall packed to the gunwales (appropriate phrase). The presentation is the most unusual and fascinating mix of slides and video of the old herring fleet days interspersed with poetry, readings and music. Chris Stout, Carradale's favourite fiddler, just happened to be staying in the village so better and better. Tatties and herring were somehow doled out to everyone in the interval - a real loaves and fishes effort - and it wasn't until 11.30 that the show finished. A few stalwarts stayed on for music and dance afterwards.
So the moral of all this is that if you are staying in the village and see some event advertised , then don't miss it. It will probably be unexpected and very good, and you'll be made incredibly welcome.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Wonderful news for the village - Heather and Johnny have taken on the Paterson's shop.

When Angie decided to sell there was gloom and doom - would the village be without a shop? would we have to cobble together a Community buy-out? (in Carradale!), but no, these brave youngsters are going to run it .

Heather is one of the extensive Mackinnon family (2 of whom work for us here in the casting business) and old hands will remember the wonderful days when Mum, Josie,  ran the Network Centre cafe. Amazing  baking - what about Effies' Heavy Stuff........?     Heather then went off to Catering College, and the next thing we know she's running 'The Green Room' above the harbour. More wonderful baking. But that closed and off she went to Glasgow, only to return with Johnny and a wee one!  Some girl.

So they took over at the beginning of August and  - breathing a sigh of relief - we all wish them great success.

As well as that excitement we had a busy time last week. The ladies in the church ran their bi-annual flower festival and this year they really excelled. The theme was 'Musicals' and we had everything from 'Singing in the Rain' in one corner to Les Miserables setting up the barricades at the end of the pews. Huge imagination and a lot of hard work made this a terrific display and it seemed a shame that it has to be so short lived.  

We then had the Camera Club's annual exhibition and again we saw just how talented so many members of the community are.  A great cross-section of ideas and subjects and over the years it seems to get better and better. While some Clubs in the village come and go as enthusiasm dies, the Camera Club seems to go from strength to strength  - if only the Bridge Club had been as tenacious.