The Mouse

Weather: Light winds and sunny periods becoming still, relatively warm, clear skies.

This morning we awoke to a different kind of reality. Back in Newcastle the view from the bedroom window is mostly of other people’s houses and of the cars parked in the street, or of neighbours and other people going about their business. Here, there a sea loch fills the view from both bedroom windows at the rear of the house and the light sparkles on the surface of the water with the gulls crying whilst soaring overhead. The wind has died down and the air is still. It almost feels warm.. It was a wonderful moment, and made perfect by the arrival of a cup of Yorkshire’s finest brew (that is non-alcoholic). I counted 8 seals basking on the rocks in the loch (why they are always described as ‘basking’ I am unsure, they sit uneasily and carelessly on the rocks as if they cannot be bothered to arrange themselves more decorously)


I navigated the rutted driveway to the house in the van and dropped Nicola off at the Arts Centre, where she had a meeting relating to her forthcoming teaching. This accomplished I went to the house in Lochmaddy to make some phone calls. Before returning to the Art Centre I collected some fuel for the wood burning stove in the new house. There are few trees left on the Outer Hebrides so most of the fuel available in the local shop is coal or smokeless coke. These are relatively expensive and burn quickly. Our friend Keith Dawson understands this perfectly and has offered to give us some of his own peat supply which he is delivering tomorrow. This will make a real difference and we are delighted with his kindness.


After our lunch we visited Hosta beach. This is a small beach enclosed by sand dunes. The light was beautiful and caught the jade coloured sea and surf, which is prominent and celebrated here. Later we visited a Bronze Age chambered cairn (sadly the entrance had collapsed so entry was impossible) and walked up to a small stone circle on the hillside overlooking Loch Langais. There are amazing views in all directions from here. Heather covers much of the foreground and the lochs are like holes in a sponge, disappearing into the distance and glittering like mirrors in the still air and the evening sunshine. By the time we were back at the cottage and in the kitchen preparing dinner, the sky and loch surface were shot through with subtle pinks and purples as the dark encroached and the endless stars became visible.


Ange and Gabe have truly arrived! I have never seen them so excited and animated. Having been moved around numerous, mostly urban locations, the land around this cottage is truly full of exciting sounds and smells. No sooner does the security blanket of the house envelop them they want to be off exploring again. Gabe cornered a field mouse yesterday but despite his murderous intent it managed to slip away this time, into the undergrowth to live another day.


One thought on “The Mouse

  1. Ahoy John and Nicola!

    Just wanted to let you know that Karen and I are very much enjoying the daily blog updates.

    The setting looks wonderful, so much so that I’m feeling inspired to get up to the north-west on a motorcycle again (John might be suitably taken aback at this news…).

    I am particularly interested in sightings of birds of prey; you’ve already spotted a Merlin and I’m hoping for reports of larger silhouettes so keep scanning the skies.

    Looking forward to seeing how your time in Scotland unfolds as the project progresses.

    Pat and Karen

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