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Solar panels up – waiting for sunshine…

May 5, 2013

And there was me thinking that buying solar panels would guarantee sunshine. It seems to have rained or been overcast since they were installed a few weeks ago and I’m wondering if I should send them back as faulty ? Nonetheless, in the meantime they have generated around 750 kw -so that can’t be bad.

It’s all, of course, excellent for the hostel. It helps reduce my carbon footprint, contributes to the wider good, saves me money (or will in ten years when I’ve paid it off !) and reinforces the sustainability message that is central to Iona Hostel. The photo’s below are an assortment of the panels being installed. In the rain and being supervised by Freya… The last ones more recently.

2013-04-11 12.19.28

2013-04-11 12.20.44

2013-04-11 12.24.082013-04-11 12.24.27

2013-04-19 15.25.30

2013-04-19 15.37.41

The Hostel is in full swing now with lots of folk passing through. Michael, Freya and Anne Marie are a lovely team, are fabulous and talented cooks and who regularly eat together -so I try to make sure I’m hanging around the hostel just as they are about to serve.  They keep the hostel immaculate, are a welcoming presence and are busy outside on various projects. The hostel windows are slowly (it’s painstaking work) being repainted with three coats, the croft generally being tidied up and the garden is tidy and just waiting for some warmth.

The prolonged lower than average temperatures has meant that the growth is away behind. Looking out the window the vegetation looks more like March than May -but I suppose an advantage is that no weeds are growing in the garden ! Mind you, nothing else is either. As with this place, however, the weather rarely stays the same for long, so most days have some sparkling sunshine. For those of you who don’t know Iona, we share the micro-climate of Tiree (an island a few miles further west) which is one of the driest and sunniest places in the UK. Our much closed neighbour to the east, high Mull, tends to get plastered by cloud and rain while the sun shines on us. But not today.

The Smirry Drizzle of Mist

Going down the shore on a morning, when the air was

without a breath of wind, there was peace throughout land

and sea, and a saftness from the clouds. Nothing was to

be heard through the stillness but a faint chirming of

birds. Everything was silent and dewy in the smirry

drizzle of mist.

There was no airt or direction to guide one on one’s way.

There was no place or time there, but one great, deep

stillness. The world was full of tenderness, under druidry

and under a cloak, and there was a fairy blindfolding on

my eyes in the smirry drizzle of mist.

Hillside and slopes were lost to sight in the clouds. There

was no colour or sound there, or hour, or light of day.

The slow, caressing rain was on the hill and hollow and

meadow, and the Wee Patch was in a smoke in the

foggy drizzle of mist.

The showers of drizzly mist came closely down, all

voiceless; whispering and fragrant, soft and fresh, without

voice or melody, they floated about hilltops and cliffs

and closed in about every hollow. Gentleness and

pleasure were drifting down in the smirry drizzle of mist.


George Campbell Hay.


2013-05-05 11.41.20

Dun I 10 minutes ago ! The rowing boat is ready to go in -but it’s just not settled enough yet.

What I crave at the moment, as much as a warm sunny day, is colour. I love it. The soft, muted melancholy of a smirry, drizzly Hebridean day is an acquired taste (something in the genes of the Scots and Irish) and best countered and complemented a blast of visceral, ringing and discordant brightness. Like this:


or this


or this


or this


That’s better !

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Christian MacLean permalink
    May 5, 2013 7:22 pm

    Such a lovely poem about mist -I’d never seen it and will forever afterwards look at it when feeling particularly felled by yet mnore dreich days….And those solar panels look great. Looking forward to sun-powered showers.

  2. Delyse Harrower permalink
    November 18, 2013 8:35 pm

    Lovely to read your blogs, John. Everything looks so sparkling clean and fresh up there. I hope to visit one day. Delyse x

    • November 22, 2013 6:18 pm

      Hi Delyse,

      Nice to hear from you and I hope you make it up to Iona sometime.

      Best wishes,


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