Thursday, 11 May 2017

This and That

Works continues on projects throughout our little cottage, with many of them still in progress but here are a few.  Not a lot has been done outside as yet the mower and strimmer we have are not good enough for the sheer size of the garden.  We are in the process of doing some research into suitable machinery.  Definitely one for Gerard, boys and their toys, he is thinking sit on...  We have made a start of digging our way out of the cottage.  Yes, there are steps.  This little bit of work took us three hours.



 
We did want the satisfaction of doing the bulk of the work ourselves, we are now thinking we might pay someone to do the garden to give us a start.  You are some very wise women, advising us not to throw everything away and check what was in the outbuildings.  So far we have found wood to make a windowsill for the front vestibule/lobby.
 

 
A boot stand that was rusty that we have repainted with metallic black paint, it now looks a treat in the lobby.
 

 
There were two fold up wooden garden chairs that are in the process of being painted, in preparation for those balmy days sitting and watching the sheep.  I do seem to spend a lot of time looking out the window at them.
 

 
There is a long way to go but who knows what hidden treasure is lurking.  Works continues on our bedroom furniture, which seems to be evolving as we go.  Not quite finished but I am enjoying the process.
 

 
The dining room furniture from our previous home is too big for this little cottage, we have decided to keep the table as it holds so many memories of our children growing up around it.  We are going to change the chairs and have found some that suit.  They are not in the best condition and certainly need some TLC but with some work they will be perfect for our table.  Trust me...
 

 
The seat pads will be covered in Harris Tweed.  A good excuse to take another drive down to Harris, although in fairness there are a lot of weavers locally who sell their tweed.  They will have to wait to be finished as I am going to have a cleaning day today as we are going on a trip to visit the family.  I am so excited to see everyone, I have been missing my girls despite speaking to them daily.  Mum and Dad need some help with a few things as well so perfect timing.  I will catch up with you all when I get back.
 
See you soon.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Another Day Another View


The Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Harris are indeed joined and although often talked about as separate Islands both have their own distinct identity.  Harris has a much hillier terrain with spectacular views.  No need for hiking boots today, jump into the car and I will share the beauty with you.




 
We drove down to Tarbert and had a mooch about the Harris Tweed shop, it was inspirational.  There are certainly a lot of talented people on these Islands.
 
 
I tried my hand at weaving, it was harder than I thought and a great strain to the leg muscles.  It was a great place to learn about the looms and the history of the famous Harris Tweed.  The Act of Parliament passed in 1993 gave the Harris Tweed Authority guardianship of the Harris Tweed and the orb trademark.
 


 
We also had a tour of the distillery and purchased a few gifts.



We carried on down for a few miles and had a drive around the Island of Scalpay.  The Island is attached to Harris by a bridge which was opened in 1998.


 
Another beautiful Island 2 miles wide and 1 mile long, with a population of 291.  We did get out of the car and have a stroll along the pier and a look around the crafts market held in the old school.  The children are now bussed over to the school at Tarbert as the numbers were so low, such a shame.  It was good to see the buildings were still been used and once again some very talented people.
 





 
The seagulls were having a feast feeding off the fishing boats and we did smile at the sheep calling in at the Community Centre.
 

 
 
Hope you enjoyed our little tour, buckle up and we will call in for afternoon tea at the tearooms in Tarbert.
 
See you soon.
 
 

 
 

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Outbuildings and a Stroll

The weather has been glorious all week, long may it last.  We have managed to get a few minor jobs done but are taking things slowly, making the most of the good weather and taking time to chat to our new neighbours.  We attempted a stroll down to the sea but it was a little too much for Gerard, he sat awhile whilst I ventured down.  It was certainly a lot further than anticipated.  Put your walking shoes on and I will take you on a tour of the outbuildings and reward you with some magnificent views if you walk down the croft.

 
To the left hand side of the original outbuilding is an added garage which has been neglected and in need of some tender loving care albeit extensive.  This is the building that we intend to put a polycarbonate roof on and use as an indoor garden.
 
 
The doors are intact and are just laying on the ground.  We have since been down and lifted them up ready to reinstall and paint.
 
To the right hand side is a small store.
 

 
The paint on the door is peeling and there is no roof at all, but the wood is in good condition and can be repainted.  A lot of work and not for the faint hearted but it will all be worth it in the end.
 
The inside of the main building is a joy to behold with wonderful wooden beams and the original stonework.  It will take some clearing as the previous owners left a lot of paraphernalia which we need to sort out.  A neighbour is going to help us with the rubbish.
 


 
In the small store we found 10 large tyres which we intend to repurpose and make into planters.
 
Are you wearing comfortable shoes?
 
The ground near the fence is soggy so definitely worth looking where you are going.  I didn't focusing on the view and ended up with very wet feet indeed.
 

 
Once you get over the small rise, it becomes a feast for the eyes beauty in which ever direction you look.  It was breath taking, everything I thought it would be and more.  The photos do not do it justice.
 


 
I was surprised to see cattle in with the sheep, but they didn't seem bothered by each other.




Now the trek back but there will be tea and cakes as a reward, there is some banana bread and scones just out of the oven.  Hope you enjoyed the walk?

See you soon.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Intrepid Explorers

We are certainly getting out and about now that the weather has picked up and we have the beautiful Spring days that I remember from holidays past.  We work on the house for a couple of hours and then do a little more exploration of our local area.  The crockpot has become invaluable putting it on in the morning and just leaving it to do its thing until we are ready to eat in the evening.  It is so much more than stews and casseroles, the gammon joint was a huge success.  A great hit was chicken braised with red cabbage definitely something that I would do again.  I did it with 2 chicken breasts but the recipe suggests thighs or drumsticks.

 
Along with the chicken add 1 chopped onion
                                              500g cored and shredded red cabbage
                                              2 apples peeled cored and chopped
                                              4 fl oz red wine

Cook for about 6 hours, it was delicious.

 
I mentioned in an earlier post that it had not all been plain sailing, one of the issues with our move was that we couldn't get the wardrobes out of the old house.  During our 20 years there we had altered the bannisters on the stairs...the removal men tried everything but to no avail.  Needless to say our clothes remained in boxes making life a little difficult.  We managed to buy some wardrobes from the local charity shop and have painted them to match the other furniture.  They are a work in progress needing sanding back a little to give them more the look I am going for.  The chests have been repainted and I will  decoupage  the drawers that have the stag head handles.  A work in progress but at least it is liveable for now.
 



 
The curtains were the only ones that we had two pairs of in the same colour and will be changed when I find what I am looking for.

We have explored the local villages and found hidden gems, The port of Ness was a delight.  We sat there for quite awhile taking in the stunning views and simple beauty.  Next stop over this beautiful ocean America.





 
I feel blessed that I am living the dream and am so thankful for the glorious beauty that I am sharing with the love of my life.
 
The sun setting over the croft, does it get any better than that?
 


 
A lazy day is planned for today, catching up with emails and writing some letters.  What are your plans?
 
See you soon.