Weather: Strong winds and driving rain, later becoming sunny with light winds.
Truly this is an Island of contrasts. The changes in the weather are so sudden. Just when you think that to venture outside would be foolish, the sun appears and the wind changes direction. Today we started slowly, the wind was noisy and from the North. It was cold and we had trouble getting out of bed. Deciding to seize the day (old Sunderland motto) and catch up on some menial chores, we washed some clothes. By the time these were ready, it had stopped raining although the wind was blowing hard. Nicola attempted to hang out the washing in the garden using the special reinforced Uist proof pegs. She fought the wind and the wind won. The clothing was flapping so wildly it was threatening to damage itself or Nicola and had it escaped the line, would have been well on its way to St. Kilda by lunchtime. As it was we gave up for then. (a day later the washing is still in a damp heap..)
Meanwhile the ongoing struggle with the heating system in the cottage continues and we are frantically feeding it wood, coke, coal and peat to make the living room, at least bearable.
We have had some further suggestions as to what needs to be done so are working through them one by one. Burning ten pound notes doesn’t seem to work but leggings worn under trousers are good.. We decided to venture forth eventually having had a fortifying lunch. This decision was happily co-incidental with the sun making an appearance, so we went to Langass (English spelling) Woods to see the famous sculpture of Hercules the Bear. This bear is much esteemed in these parts having escaped when on the island filming a commercial (what will they think of next?). Hercules was buried here next to a large wooden sculpture celebrating his likeness. For the full story see Hercules –The Bear We had a pleasant and interesting walk around the mostly Sitka Spruce plantation, which reminded me of The Forest Kielder Northumberland .
By this time, fluffy cumulus clouds had appeared and we took the opportunity to take some photographs of the peat cuttings and the public sculpture (by Liz Crichton) that we had seen yesterday. Before driving down to Benbecula for a swim in the public pool we stopped off to view another public sculpture entitled Reflections by Colin McKenzie. We found this artwork complete with a sign informing us that it was indeed a ‘Sculpture’ in case of any doubts as to its provenance.
As previously, our swim and sauna were excellent. Returning to the cottage in the semi darkness we encountered numerous deer on the road back to the House. They raise their heads at our approach cautiously sniffing the air. Their colouring is close to that of the dry heather that surrounds them and it is difficult to make them out from a distance. If the car slows or attempts to stop, they disappear into the background like ghosts. As it became darker a small herd of deer crossed the road directly in front of us. They are other-worldly and a majestic sight, a privilege to behold. Their whereabouts during the daytime is a mystery.
Ange and Gabe love this place, and now that the wind has dropped are deliriously happy in the garden and on the surrounding land. Newly chemically protected from fleas and ticks they are free to roam as far as they wish. When they want to come in Angie sits at the window certain in the knowledge that we will understand their every need. Such a life…