Friday already! I can’t quite believe the week has zipped by so fast. We had guests in for five nights this week, which always makes the week go faster somehow. You get to know them, chat and laugh with them and hear what they have been doing each day. The rush to come and go and get things done is removed with a longer stay. This group of three were photographers who live in Ireland and a lovely bunch they were too. We were sad to see them go coz after five days they have become friends and you hope they will visit again to regale us with their adventures and travels with their trusty cameras. Last year we had some guys from Ireland (seems to be a pattern developing here) who had spent time in Glen Etive on their way to us, and lost track of time as there was so much to see and take pictures of. Daz Brown takes the most amazing photographs, I love the moods he manages to capture in his landscapes – I am dead jealous!! Another reason for that photo walk with Landscapes365, if we ever get any decent weather that is.
There’s a ginger dog whining on the front doorstep. She was only nagging me mercilessly a few moments ago to go out – she was desperate! It was a matter of great urgency that she go outside – and now, less than five minutes after I relented, she wants to come back in. Well I know why! It’s raining and she dislikes the rain, even if she has her coat on. But I suppose if we went out in the rain in a thin shirt we wouldn’t like it much either. You see, Lila is a Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla. The smooth variety has no undercoat, although they seem to run hotter than other dogs (bit like my Audi really but that’s another topic), but when they stand still they get cold very quickly. Such is the life of a dog, it’s all based on impulses, comfort and moods. Talking of moods, her mate – I use the word loosely – is a Black Lab with deep brown accusing eyes. When she wants something she sends the other one to ask, coz Lila is more vocal and more “in your face” than Tali. ‘We’re hungry, it’s gone 5:30’ – “Yes” says I “by 30 seconds, you can wait a bit I’m busy”. So with a big sigh, Lila will lie down near my feet and wait, teddy in mouth, paws duly crossed. When we finally appear, Lila skipping along in great anticipation of the food long awaited, we are greeted by these big brown accusing eyes, ‘What took you so long? I send you to do a simple job and here I am with my belly cleaving to the sides of my ribs and you finally appear ten minutes later as if you’ve achieved something’. There’s no gratitude in those eyes, just a lot of huffing and puffing and ‘I’ll get you back for making me wait, just you wait and see if I don’t,’ attitude.
As I stare out of my office window waiting for the muse to strike, my mind begins to wander. It’s strange how, despite the rain and the chilly winds, plants are sending out fresh juicy shoots. The Honeysuckles I planted in the autumn before all hell broke loose in the shape of our soggy, dreich winter, are now sending out fat healthy green shoots at intervals along their woody stems. In no time at all there will be new tendrils winding their way through the netting and then buds and flowers where bees will gather pollen. All this, where two years ago there was nothing at all but grass. It’s a pleasing sight and one I never grow tired of.
You know I never noticed before just how long Daffodil flowers last when the weather is wet. They seem to go on forever, waving their yellow heads, bowing gracefully in the gales. I am never quite sure whether they get pollinated or not. Mostly they grow from bulbs and the bulb regenerates after flowering by taking goodness in through the leaves giving you more flowers the following season – hence the reason why you shouldn’t cut or mow the leaves before they have died down – but what about those that grow by the side of the road, those that haven’t been planted as part of a scheme to brighten up the roadside? If you think about it – and I do when I have a few moments to waste gazing at the gentle drifts of yellow heads in the garden – there aren’t that many insects around at this time of the year. Oh there are big fat Bumblebees that come out on a warm day for the few hours when the sun shines warm enough for them to fly at all, but their focus is usually on the spring flowering heather in our garden and the gorse that has also started to bloom. There are however, all manner or other winged insects that rush in and out of the bright yellow trumpets thereby unwittingly pollinating the flower, such as small flies and at night the fat brown moths that we see shimmying up the windows trying to get at the source of light.
The weekend is looming and the weather reports all say something different but basically we’re in for more of the same tomorrow, southwesterly winds and of course more rain. However, Sunday should be nicer, drier and less breezy – maybe. Well that won’t be difficult, it’s rained here in Glen Drynoch since just gone 10:30 when low, menacing clouds rolled in over the Cuillin. Trouble with weather reports is they’re not always that accurate and when you live in the shadow of the Cuillin you are at the mercy of all sorts of divisive anomalies so we acquire this ‘suck it and see’ attitude – if it rains we won’t be doing any gardening, if the sun shines we’ll bask in it and I’ll get loads done, if it’s blowing a hooley well, don’t go trying to hang the washing out – I’ll be chasing it all the way to Sligachan.
As a quick aside before I sign off, I’ve just been told there are people running on the Dunvegan road, are they mad? I am assuming this must be the much talked about charity run around Skye by Alistair Macpherson who is covering the 125 miles today and tomorrow in aid of Cancer research. As we watch, three runners escorted by two vans have just gone past our house in the rain and the wind – it’s flipping freezing out there this afternoon. Funny, in our glen you can hear them talking as they go by. Strange that, coz the road isn’t close to the house it’s about 150m away but sound carries here rather like it does at sea, you can almost hear every word. Good luck to him and well done!