Weather: Strong winds, overcast and cold with intermittent showers.
The wind is never far away from one’s thoughts in the Outer Hebrides. Often, as the saying goes – one only notices it when it is not there. Last night, the stillness hung like a curtain, a reprieve before the next movement. This morning it was 50 miles an hour, swinging around and is blowing hard from the North East. The difference in the days are astonishing, and not altogether welcomed especially for one who feels the cold in October and never really warms up until the following May (Nicola is much the same) It is very difficult to be motivated to venture outside.
Keith Dawson arrived mid-morning in his Land Rover to deliver the peat for our stove. He carefully explained the differences between the different kind of bags (age and stage of drying) and how we should best proceed. At the time of writing, I am sitting close to the fire which is happily burning this peat. The peat flares willingly and produces good heat, but sadly the stove is not as efficient as it might be. It does smell nice however. When travelling across the island it is interesting to see the many peat cuttings and the landscape that they produce. Previously my main encounter with peat was in deciding how much I wanted it to feature in my Whisky (east or west coast).
When we did eventually venture forth it was on an essential mission to the Veterinary clinic on Benbecula, about a 20 mile drive away. We needed to collect some anti-tick and flea medicine for the boys (they do sleep on the bed..) It was a fascinating visit and I was much distracted by the colourful tins of paint for marking sheep (orange especially good) chemicals for mitigating bovine, canine or feline smells, and the large pots of intriguing udder cream. We also picked up some worming tablets which will, no doubt come in useful. The receptionist at the Vet’s was extremely pleasant and helpful.
On the way back to the house via the inevitable Co-op shop, we detoured to view a piece of public sculpture located in the hills in the centre of the island. It was gusty and squally but we enjoyed it and appreciated it within its unique situation. It had been made by one of the students, Liz Crichton from the Fine Art course here on the Island. As ever, on arrival back at the cottage, there were things to unload that we had picked up from the other house, and the fire to build up. The smell of curry lends the house a touch of the exotic and provides a source of inner heat with which to counteract the North wind outside.
The wind is too strong for the cats to venture outside. Gabe and is the bravest, and gave it a try, but could only stay out a very short time before scratching on the front window to come in. Nicola had to go out and rescue him. Two heroes.