Friday, 23 November 2012

five k challenge day one

A little challenge flung down by a fellow inveraray jogscotland member to show support for a friend of hers undertaking to do 7 ultra marathons in seven days commencing with the ice marathon yesterday which...he won!! To coin a phrase far too young for me but so fitting...Awesome! So we in our modest way are going to do 5k a day for 7 days starting today...and mine is done despite one runaway dog, several massive puddles and a man apparently photographing his own feet in the for lunch now!

Find more Run in Tullochgorm, United Kingdom

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Rites of Passage

The milestone markers are whizzing past now with Toby achieving his long awaited ambition of being able to legally buy alcohol...never mind that nonsense about being able to vote etc...We are settling into winter life here with less B and Bers and more time but somehow the latter still streams away from me in an orderly but accelerating fashion. Garret is working in Aberdeen at present which is odd after being together most of the time for that last twenty or so years but the thought of some money coming in does help to level the balance of negative versus positive...Another weekend at Centre parcs in Cumbria has helped to create some more good memories of badminton, the dreaded flumes, squash and Kir Royales. Back home the battle of the broadband is still on with a switch to BT making no difference whatsoever and an inability to access anything on the old system is my addresses as I was too stupid to realise that the two accounts wouldn't overlap. Time out yesterday from all things electronic to ride the beloved Lewis along a beautiful Loch Fyne..good for the sole and the back muscles.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Life and sweet sixteen.

Busy times recently despite the slow grinding to a halt of the B and B season. Life reinserts itself into the gap left by the lack of bed making and bacon cooking. Rosie has reached her landmark of sixteen with many cakes, many designs and much love. Bonfires and cakes... Traditional way to celebrate a rite of passage. This was all done during the small slice of time allowed away from applying her nose to the grindstone of Higher Course work.
I am gradually getting used to being a university mum. This seems to consist of constantly being on the alert at the end of a texting device through long periods of inactivity just in case and then adjusting to the return of the prodigal for the weekend occasionally to rest his liver. The quietness erupts and the dynamics rock at his return in a typical family teenage way. There are nuggets of delight and, lets be honest, slight conflict as siblings readjust. Memories will be treasured of a country walk with Toby on Sunday. He, Holly and I and the great Argyll countryside... Until we got stuck mid- tree fall. Holly and I went round ( most of) it.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Portavadie cycle

I love my B and Bs, I really do but in compensation days like this are fabulous. A loose Facebook plan hatched by a fellow Mid Argyll Triathlon club member last night looked grim this morning at 7:30am as I hauled two bikes from the hut in torrential rain, the resulting foot soaking stayed with me all day, and racked them on the car. A hasty breakfast for Freya and I,then more bike hauling when the skies cleared and Mr Fair-weather cycle decided to come along. Down to Lochgilphead and then Tarbert to meet with friends and catch the ferry to Portavadie for a 20 mile cycle through lovely scenery peppered with convenient coffee shops. Happy day!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Triathlon time ( again)

Five Corners, five bikes, two colds, a toothache and several sore joints headed down to Lochgilphead on Sunday for the annual triathlon. Wonderfully this year all five of us took part, despite fears that cellulitis in his knee would halt Toby, and more crucially all finished safe and sound. Everyone did themselves proud and we bought home five prizes.. 1st MJ and fastest T2 ( Toby), 1st FJ ( Freya) 2nd FJ ( Rosie) 3rd FV ( Fee). The thrill of competing together was addictive and I hope there are more moments like this to come. No rest or time for celebration at home though as University Mum had to deliver Son back to his other home... A looooonnnnggg drive home alone.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Autumn times

In the full throes of the heaviest cold I have suffered for a while...the joys of having chills when suffering simultaneously from hot flushes is not to be missed...if you are masochistic in any way (I am not). So, the exercise has tapered but that was the plan anyway with the annual triathlon at the weekend. Son and heir is surviving in Glasgow, still intending to come and compete on Sunday en famille so no dropping out because of a snivelly nose for me....not that the idea had entered my head. Swimming is a bit painful right now so it is to be hoped that the small irritating creature inhabiting my head and banging around sinuses and ear canals has succumbed to Lem-Sip, Sinu Tab and whisky by Sunday.
Argyll at its mellow best at present...dropping night-time temperatures and red raw rowan berries amongst the yellowing, fading leaves.hedgerow blackberries for the taking. The roads are quietening and the evenings darkening..I love the autumn! Took the Leicann walk with my pal Lyndsay and her two Labs today...soggy underfoot but beautiful and cleansing for the mind, soul and body.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Red Hot Swimming Hats.... Or something

A whirlwind of a weekend after a week trying to get Toby into gear for Strathclyde university life. Duly delivered on Saturday and no communications since so I am assuming he is still alive. There is a strange Toby sized hole now so what to do? We filled it with guests and more guests, the Best of the West festival at the Castle featuring the best Stovies ( google it) ever and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers ( likewise). They did a set with the Inveraray and District pipe band ( Also worth a small wander of the google-ing finger) which was amazing, all very energy fueled and NOISY!! Sadly due to an impending chemistry test tomorrow Rosie and I had to bid farewell and head home to wrestle with some complicated stuff that frankly I have never heard of nor will ever have to. Six pm and I am
wading out to knee depth in Loch Fyne complete with wet suit, wet boots ( fill with water and weigh me down and then for suction reasons are IMPOSSIBLE to remove) and a wet hat Circa 1750....I am getting better, I must be but it was chilly!! Awesome... There was a cheeky, nosy wee seal tracking along besides us as the weather segued from torrential rain to rainbows as I reached the boat buoy marking the turning point. Still with the rain ripples marking the water the sun was bright behind my sighting point for the return making it hard to fix. I chose to sight on Richard who is determined to make me an open water swimmer somehow and followed him along the shore. I think I was steadier than last time counting strokes to ten before sighting... At one point fingertips brushed a starfish larger, much larger than my hand. The chill was manageable but I left Richard to swim
on and headed for coffee and a battle with the afore mentioned wet boots.Now sipping a little glass of Scotland's best to dilute the effects of swallowing some of Loch Fyne and a suspiciously sore throat.

Monday, 25 June 2012


Summer must be here as the TV is full of Wimbledon. Happy days and here come the excuses to stay in the kitchen and watch for the next two weeks... So far today home made rolls and soup being made for tea and lemon loaves ready for the guests this afternoon. The sun is shining over Claonairigh as well Centre Court where the grass is looking as lush and green as an Argyll lawn. Garret meanwhile on his way to work has become distracted ( see photo) with providing a better view from the double room and our bathroom. He has just watched a red squirrel release itself from the squirrel proof bird feeder....they seem to be getting braver around our house which is lovely to see.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Rain everywhere...

Except in Argyll. We have definitely had the best of it here recently. Whilst England wallows in burst river banks and flooded village/ town streets we are dusty and dry. Our field is a comparative desert... This is approved of by Poppy the goat but the new ducklings are not so keen. Great guests including some " off the road" Yipee!! These visitors have been a rare species in the last year or so but we are pleased to see them back, they are not off the endangered list yet but numbers are creeping up. Toby is enjoying a last few days of freedom this week before entering a few weeks of servitude at the Woolen Mill cafe for the summer. Last Sunday we all entered the same event at Loch Lomond Shores with the girls doing a 5k and boys the 10k. It was great to all be together at the end with everyone pleased with their times etc and all with a race story to tell. There were great goodies to eat post race... For a price but we succumbed anyway. Happy Family times...

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Weekend shenanigans

The big family race on Sunday became slightly smaller after it was unanimously decided by me that Garret would be potty (technical term) to run on a mending broken foot, Freya was on the verge of breakdown with a week of sleepovers and almost constant rehearsals for Grease.... She is first or second trumpet ( depends...).So Toby and I trundled off far too early on Sunday morning to Campbeltown. I drove, he slept. It is a great event with lots of locals and lots of friends taking part. Toby had a fine run doing the 10k in 38:03 and coming fifth overall, 1st junior.... I decided to hang back so as not to shame him and finished with my sore feet at 54 minutes. All friends very happy with their times etc and the goody bag was great!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Moth Man

It takes all sorts and the endless variety of interests we have is diverse and wonderful. In our time in B and B land we have only met two who have shared with us their interest in moths. Permission is asked to place a live moth trap in a discreet location where the bright attracting light will not bother anyone and left to do its stuff. Last night's moth enthusiast caught many, many midges and around 40 different moth varieties including two rarities... The Birch Mocha (bottom) and the Saxon (top).... I sound wise and knowledgeable in the land of lepidoptery but alas this is merely google acquired.

Other excitement last night included a trip to The George to celebrate the end of exams for Toby and Rosie, and Toby's girlfriend Fabienne. Shortly after I retired to bed post meal to read a wee bit of the excellent Robin Hobb the other guests discovered that leaving their car in Inveraray after a pint and getting a lift home from The George staff was a great idea until they remembered that their room key was in the car.... in Inveraray. Thank goodness for spares.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Hot Argyll

A very hot weekend on the west coast... At times the warmest in the UK which has to be a very rare the pigs found their own way of cooling off.... Poor child number two slogged on with revision whilst number one son partied and celebrated the end of exams. Such is life. We played a bit too escaping to The George for the Bluebell music Festival in the evenings. I am writing this outside the High School with a serene and happy Rosie fresh from her PE ( and final) exam waiting for Toby to shower post gym. Never was there a cleaner teenage boy! Celebrations at The George tonight!!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Cider with Rosie.. And Toby, Freya, Garret

......and a houseful of guests. Bed and breakfast life is never predictable and can be full of unexpected pleasures and surprises. On Thursday night we had more guests than we had bargained for when after a road closure following a bad accident first one friend arrived in need of shelter for the night and then another one with two sons and two dogs in tow. Fifteen souls and three canines in Claonairigh that night some in more comfort than others. Another out of the ordinary B and B moment came on Saturday night when one guest gave a taste tester session of Thistley Cross Ciders for us and the other guests from Scotland and from the States. We gave the first three a thumbs up but the strawberry cider was only a hit with those whose taste beds have been dulled by iron bru and alcopops. With a need to exercise off the previous nights excesses Garret, Freya and I cycled ( leaving the poor revisees at home in charge if the washing machine) along the A83 to the head of the Loch and along the Glen past Highland cows and ridiculously picturesque countryside and then back via the Seafood Fair at Loch Fyne Oysters... Lots of mussels, salmon burgers and enough tablet and cake to fuel Freya's homeward legs... Perfect!

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Claonairigh Animals

Just a reminder of who actually runs Claonairigh... the animals with their hard and fast feeding times and routines. Actually they are fairly flexible re breakfast but any delay in supper time and the accompanying lock in for poultry can lead to a significant reduction in feathered fowl.... Poppy the goat holds her own against unruly and cheeky upstart piglets maintaining her dignity which comes naturally to anyone with large curly horns which she is not afraid to use. Holly the pup is growing up but still tolerates a cuddle between pig bothering duties and the new ducks I suppose will eventually leave the hut and enter the whole wide world of the back field.... maybe.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A bird in the hand....

... Is worth a photo. Not too sure why this chap was so tame and hope that it wasn't an indication of ill health. He was re-located from the rather risky position mid drive to a nearby banking. The fine month-long weather has slightly broken with warm wet May days our lot at present... Good growing weather so the beans are poking up through the poly tunnel soil and the peas are in the "straggly in the seedling pots yet too small for the great outdoors" inbetweeny phase. I have nasturtium seedlings EVERYWHERE, legacy from last years plants that swarmed all over the place. Salad plants were starting to burst free from their primary leaves until a nocturnal slug took a midnight snack so more have been sown protected this time by crushed egg shells and left over coffee grounds.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Cosies for your breakfast eggs.

How lovely it is to be on the receiving end of an unexpected and thoughtful piece of kindness. Under the usual flyers suggesting that we a) sell our house b) insure it (again) or c) vote for whoever hasn't already showered us with unsolicited pieces of paper (note to prospective candidates in the upcoming local elections- we prefer non shiny paper for our mail shots as they are far superior as fire lighters) was a yellow box about the size of a book with a variety of pretty and, if the present prices here are a guide, expensive German stamps. Inside were the two egg cosies pictured sent by a recidivist guest. He was party to an ongoing manic search a few years ago and these will add wonderfully to my collection. Thank you very much Rainer!! X

Monday, 30 April 2012

Saturday stuff

A beautiful weekend in Argyll and a great saturday morning watching Freya and others doing a mini aquathlon. The enthusiasm was highly infectious and it was most definitely won and lost in transition and the tricky business of trainer application onto wet feet. Stars of the future every one of them.
Taxi duties occasionally, just occasionally have a silver lining. Holly and I had a wonderful walk around Loch Collie Bharre, about 45 minutes drive from Claonairigh,almost in the gloaming and totally alone on Saturday night whilst Toby wined and dined nearby. We saw no beavers ( released here a few years ago) nor other people. A perfect backdrop to walk and think. The decision made not to stress so much was taken and lasted almost as long as the walk, ah well.. My spots are far too deep to change now. Back at the car we moved to a suitable waiting place which has to have the following criteria when awaiting uppity teenager
1. Phone/ text reception
2. Discreet enough not to be spied by anyone at all connected with said teen.
3. Discreet enough not to attract attention cuddled up on the rear seat with dog watching a film on the Ipad.
4. Close enough to collect offspring at 30s notice but obviously taking into account point 2.
The night got even better when just as Johnny Depp was batting his Kohl laden eyelids the summoning text arrived and we were homeward bound.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Best sleepy face award....

....goes to the as yet un-named pup belonging to friends. Quick stop to say hello, welcome and " ahhhhhh".

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Exam Fever

Battening down the hatches here with exam time descending again. Rosie went off white faced and anxious to her first Standard Grade...English this morning...the things we have to go through. Does anyone realise just how tough this is for the parents? If I have to listen to Garret telling her just one more time to "read the question" I may explode...useful advice though it is. I have filled the anxious moments until I collect her with ironing,preparing tea, baking biscuits for guests arriving this afternoon and my favourite, pottering in the poly tunnel. The seeds are just starting to poke through, sadly showing my haphazard approach to sowing. We have plans, big plans to have a large vegetable plot in half the back field which unfortunately still has pigs running a round in it so well manured but not conducive to seedling and indeed plants of any kind. We could say that this is a very long term plan indeed especially as Mummy pig is looking rather portly, we are hoping that the boars did not leave us several presents before they "went away".

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Glencoe but not as I know it.

Skiing in April but not for me. Delivered Freya, Toby and friend Angus to the chair lift and conditions described as for good intermediate and advanced skiers and took off on foot. Glencoe is about an hour from Claonairigh and very worth a visit if only to drive through the lowering mountains and brooding Rannoch Moor. The latter is about 50 square miles of peat moorland scooped and shaped by one of the last ice fields to retreat. You can almost hear the Claymores clashing and the clans howling. Plus there is a good coffee shop at the Mountain resort... Excellent soup.....