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November 24, 2012

It’s been a busy and refreshing few weeks, with a trip to Edinburgh and then up to Skye to do some Sawday’s Inspections. I love being able to go for jaunts and generally amuse myself off the island. Life here is pretty full on over the summer so the winter is when you can take things a bit more easy and catch up with life and friends on the mainland. Probably the closest I’ll ever get to meditation is driving… and the Scotland I know is the perfect driving country with barely a motorway in sight, endless quiet and swooping country roads and views to break your heart. And a big engined car. (sorry, I can’t be an eco-priest all the time…)

I’m enjoying the nights draw in. Soon after 4pm the lights are on, the curtains drawn and I’m beginning to think about a pink gin and a book in my armchair. My reading at present is about Bloomsbury, the Omega Workshops, Charleston and such like. Art as life, I suppose. I’m in the midst of Frances Spaldings biography of Vanessa Bell and something called ‘Among the Bohemians’ by Virginia Nicholson, which is about the early decades of the 20th century and how art and bohemianism intersect. I’d recommend both. What all this has to do with living on a croft on Iona, I don’t know -but that’s maybe the point.

I enclose a couple of photo’s of my sittingroom, including the glorious boat-bookcase that I made in the spring. (seemed like sacrilege but the boat was beyond saving)

The Hostel is holding up well for this time of year. Tonight we have seven guests and as I write I suspect Marc will be busy getting the wood-burning stove going in the big room. Marc and Nathalie and both well and seem to be surviving well -but sadly Marc is leaving at the beginning of December. He’s been here since February and I’m going to miss my friend and man-Friday. I’m sure we’ll see him back though, at some point ! Nathalie is staying over the winter (in part because she can’t bear to leave her beloved Snuffy and because an Iona winter holds no fears for someone from Quebec !) and in early December a good friend of hers, Fernande, is coming to help decorate the hostel for a month. A very nice French chap, Jean Christof, arrived yesterday and he’s booked in for a month to do some writing -so all in all we’ll have a good-going little community.

Marc and I have been working away on the byre roof. What with me being away a lot and then some quite strong winds, it’s been a bit tricky and stop-start, but we’re almost there. I must say that having no head for hights, whatsoever, I’ve not exactly enjoyed being perched on top of a ladder wrestling corrugated sheets in a gale… (Marc wasn’t stupid enough to volunteer). However, it’s looking good -and you’ll see photo’s of its complete self on the next blog. Big Colin has been up to discuss the siting of the stove and the design for its plinth.

A few days ago I thought 007 had gone to meet his maker / popped his clogs. He wasn’t a part of the flock when they came to say hello, for two days running. Snuffy was jubilant. I looked for him on the croft but couldn’t find him. I was just resigning myself yesterday to him being gone -when, of course, he reappeared at the sound of a bread bag being shaken. Very alive and well. Snuffy is disgusted.

On sheep, I’m waiting now for feed and hay to help keep them happy through the next few months. Though there is still grass around it’s deceptive as there is little nutrition left in it now. Green but empty. All in all they look in good shape for the coming hard months ahead.

Two bits of news. A crowd have booked the whole Hostel for New Year -and as I know some of them it’ll be a pleasure to have their company, and, a wonderful paper artist and bookbinder, Rachel Hazell, is coming up to do a workshop in the hostel from Thursday 7th to Monday 11th March (three days). She’s brilliant and does workshops like this all over the world. For more information take a look at her website http://www.hazelldesignsbooks.co.uk.

Lastly, a huge thankyou to Marc for all his hard work and great company over the year. I couldn’t have done it without you !

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Paula permalink
    November 25, 2012 4:32 pm

    Nice to hear from you again! Well done to go up that roof! Glad you made it down in one piece.
    I really like your pictures, especially the one of that lovely mirror reflecting your house boat.
    Good luck to Marc!

    “swooping country roads and views to break your heart” so aptly put and such sweet memories.

    • November 25, 2012 4:42 pm

      Hello Paula,

      Good to hear from you ! Glad you like the mirror photo -I was pleased with it too.

      Stay warm,

      John.

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