Just this weekend we were blessed by some really lovely sunshine, warm winds and yes, finally – spring weather. We had loads to do in the garden, weeding out the bricks in the back patio (Stuart’s self imposed lunchtime task) and emptying several tonnes of top soil that Jewsons very kindly and expertly delivered on Friday. Their driver is a whizz with the crane on that lorry, she’s just a tiny little thing but my goodness that massive beast is well under control, with the touch of a couple of buttons she’s delivered all sorts to us over the past two years as we’ve had a shed and wood store built, fruit frame constructed and now soil for my new project a series of raised beds.
The raised beds are all constructed of bricks removed from the back patio (now replaced by Skye Marble in sections). You wouldn’t believe the number of bricks Stuart’s removed – there’s a huge stack of them out back. Rustic is what we call them, they’re not level, but who cares, I’m sure the Rhubarb that now nestles in the confines of one bed doesn’t. Anyway filling the beds was a bit of a mission, that unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I was unable to fulfil as I hurt my back heaving over a tonne of the top soil into the long neglected bed at the back of the patio a few days earlier. Silly woman, have to remember ‘I am no longer 30 years old – not by a long chalk – so I don’t have a: the stamina or b: muscle power to do what I used to do. Get over it, it’s a fact!’ Serious talking to over, we worked hard as a team, with several stops for tea breaks but a large chunk of the work was accomplished – so we both felt good if a little weary by the end of the day.
The goal is to grow mint – which has a tendency to run a mock – in one bed with Rhubarb, Gooseberries and salad veg in the other four. It’s the only way to succeed coz the ground gets very soggy when it rains and this will keep their ‘feet’ dry so the roots don’t drown. The beds at the back of the patio – there are two levels – one of which will be solely filled with Lavender – a herb I am particularly fond of and intend to use once it becomes properly established. The other bed – well that’s a work in progress, like the rest of the garden – as there are loads of tubs that need sorting with bulbs and plants that need relocating and this will be the best place I believe.
After all that shifting and raking, we really needed a walk as did the dogs – who probably think we are nuts running about with wheelbarrows and rakes – after all you’re meant to play if you’re in the garden aren’t you? A walk in Glen Brittle seemed like a good idea, the weather was a bit patchy by now chucking hail and whatnot at us, but we decided to go to the Fairy Pools. It can be relatively sheltered and presents a good place to carry out a bit of photo/filter practice.
One of my goals (there’s that word again) is to try out these new filters that Stuart bought me for my birthday. So after chatting to Andrew Woodhouse of Landscapes 365 to find out which best to buy, he not only bought me three filters and case, also very sweetly booked a photo walk – a lesson in photography, the date of which is still to be organised, being weather dependent – where we (Yes! Stuart & I coz I have the memory of a gnat) would learn properly, not only how to use our filters to best effect but also to learn about aperture and how to time shots etc. Mostly I am sure it is principles that I sorely need to learn to get the best out of the camera he bought me a few Christmas’s ago to replace our ageing Canon which had served us well for years.
That aside, there are waterfalls at the fairy pools, big gushing things and the afternoon sun – when it was out – should give us good light effects so we can practice getting the effect of the water right. Well we couldn’t actually get to the pools as the frequent downpours had swollen the burns to such a degree that even the dogs had a job getting across, so we hiked up hill instead towards a cascade of falls that were accessible but unfortunately the sun decided to hide. That said the effects are not bad – I am sure Andrew will instruct us on getting a better effect and I look forward to that.
Sunday brought more sunshine and mild temperatures, so we decided to go for a long planned walk. There are enough hours of daylight now to walk for at least 8 miles with a short break for a bite to eat and a rest whilst we take in the view. We decided some months ago to walk from Kilchrist to Boreraig, a large deserted village just south of the Red Cuillin Hills in an area called Strath Suardal. If you want to walk all the way to Dun Boreraig – on the far western edge of the village, from our starting point you end up walking around 13km in total, there and back. It’s a nice walk with fabulous views of Bla Bheinn (the huge notched munro soaring to 928m at its north summit), snow capped Beinn na Callich (732m) and Loch Lonachan to the east. The dogs loved it, there are rabbits a plenty at the beginning of the walk so there ensued lots of racing around chasing bobbing white tails, which resulted in much snuffling down rabbit holes and furious wagging of doggie tails. It also resulted in two very tired canines by the end of the walk.
Anyway, we had another go with the filters, looking at the sea with the sun glistening off it. Not bad, certainly takes the glare out of the photo and removes the haziness but I am sure we need to perfect our technique. Want some nice sunny days though now so we can book the walk (a 2 hour slot) so we can really get to grips with it all.
Talking of sunny days, as we were. Whatever happened to the forecasted 9 days of wall to wall sun? I don’t know how they can get it so wrong. Day one; fabulous weather, but by the end of day two; it was all going pear shaped again, with icy winds (with 30mph gusts that had the washing straining at the lines), and dark strange clouds overshadowing the blue skies, to be followed predictably by … yes you’ve got it…rain.
However as I type, what do we have but bright sunshine and balmy weather again. Mmmm….. let’s hope it stays this way for a few days at least.
Guests in tonight, so back to 6:30 starts yawn………