Monday, 30 April 2007

Sorry it's been so long.

So long since I have written anything (you know how it is: - once there is something that you know you should really get on with and do and don’t then it gets put off again and again until it becomes a really big deal and any old excuse will do) and life is bursting out all over the place. The swallows and house martins have arrived in Mid Argyll..Ours a little later than some other places but on Saturday we saw the former swooping in and out of the mill and the latter beginning their customary abstract decoration of the outside wall of the porch. Another seasonal resident has arrived too, also a little later than usual but not so eagerly watched for…THE MIDGE…Yup, the little blighter is back for the summer and we have the midge magnets up and running to deal with the fresh supply of beasties. I was feeling a bit down at their re-appearance until I paused to reflect that although they can sometimes be a pain, they do not actually pass on diseases liable to rob you of your grip on life or maim by giving you blood poisoning (not unless you really scratch) so we are not too badly off. I was reading a Australian travel guide (an alternative one I admit) and am now feeling actually quite smug that at least we do not have huge reptiles waiting around every corner panting, nay salivating at the thought of ripping off an available limb or two, plus I understand that they have some pretty heavy weight flies and insects (don’t get me started on spiders) themselves. I consider that the lack of flora and fauna that can render one partner left in a position of being able to claim the price of the return ticket home back and stowing the other member of the relationship in the aeroplane’s hold along with the not yet lost luggage to be a very big tick, a very real plus in the box regarding the choice of holiday destinations. The idea of returning from one's holiday with all four limbs (attached that is, rather than one of them on ice)is a very appealing one. So, now I have offended every antipodean visitor let me pause to say that it is mostly jealously and given half a chance I would be off on a world tour of my own to all those wonderfully named places and beaches…just might not go swimming tho’ cos I have heard about these sharks…… I know you can all take it. Australians are amongst some of our nicest guests so keep on coming! Okay, about the pictures, we had a sausage sizzle on Sunday down on the shore. The first of the season and it was a good un. The sausages were burnt to a tee, the exact requisite covering of black, the eggs were hot enough to sear the skin on the roof of your mouth, coupled with beans so thick you could stand the spoon up in them…Perfect!!!! Of course, as you can tell some of us were too engrossed to help cook.

Ps It’s Freya

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Leacainn Forest Drive by Toby

On Thursday April 5th we went to Auchindrain Open Air Museum to see a new scenic drive being opened. It was opened by Alison Hay, our councillor by cutting a green ribbon around a signpost. The weather was grey, but nice and warm. There were about 50 people there. Before the opening Auchindrain had provided us with a free lunch for us all to eat, it was very scrummy. Freya fainted during the talk (editors note: - but she is fine now!) so when it started she had to be taken home so Mum didn’t see it. We started off from Crawford’s farm. The road was very sandy and we went with John in his car. The track had some really good views on it and it was made so the log lorries don’t have to go on the main roads. The first stop we had was a viewpoint, you could see for miles. There was a convoy of vehicles. Then we set off again. The hill went up and down. There were lots of sand quarries. We got to the next stop, that was a bird hide but we were too noisy so the birds got scared and flew away. I had a camera and a pair of binoculars. We got back in the car and drove on to the deer trail. We didn’t get out here because it was too cold and Dad was on the phone so we stayed in and then we drove home along the side of loch Awe. I would recommend it if you have enough time. It is 12 ½ miles long.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

"Old Wine and friends improve with age"(Italian proverb)

Well, we did not get a chance to test out that theory relating to the wine this weekend as there was no danger of any of it aging beyond the time it arrived in the house but it was fantastic to see old friends again (and to make new ones) with The Quinns up to visit from Leeds. I worked with Wendy many years ago on the ICU at St James’s in Leeds and although she was not here it was very special to have time with her three gorgeous girls and their Dad, Peter and his son Harrison. Into the equation came a friend of Peter’s and his son and daughter (the oh so very cute and gorgeous Hannah) plus a pal of the Quinn girls too. The weekend lurched from one activity to another as we entertained and fed a huge quantity of folk and, as suggested above drank vat fulls of wine. Amy had a horse jumping lesson with Dilla (Argyll Adventure) and enjoyed it immensely. Every one was tempted onto something at the outdoors games (also A.Adventure) despite the teenage hormonal issues that were evidently surging through everyone between the ages of 11 and 14 in several ways. The weather was just fantastic and the highlight of the stay was a trip to the Seafari off Easdale Island on Monday. I missed out (well, someone has to make the beds) but apparently it was great. Because Toby went we have pictures, we are so rubbish at
1) Remembering camera
2) Actually taking pictures
3) Downloading results.
There was also a trip to the beach to enthusiastically collect mussels and limpets (there was a slight detour to see a dead fox but that is another story) for tea which Amy then spent an hour cleaning. Predictably only Toby, our resident survival expert (does anything for a dare!) tried them along with the Army ration packs that were on offer for tea that night (cooked on army stoves in the garden, Peter is ex TA and so has endless sources of such fascinating products).They all departed Tuesday lunchtime leaving a quiet house and the need to book into a detox centre for the rest of the week.