Mainland and back…

Before we headed off to Mainlandland on Monday we all talked about what we were most looking forward to: responses ranged from ‘popcorn’ (Davies, who eats his own bodyweight in salted popcorn daily when we are off, I do make popcorn here but simply can’t recreate that air popped style in a pan), ’24 hour wifi’ (Davies again! He does do more than eat popcorn and go online I promise!), ‘ice cream’ (Scarlett – living a mile from our freezer and with a 90 minute ferry trip to get ice cream delivered anyway it is in short supply here. This time she had bubblegum flavour in a waffle cone), ‘baths’ (me, obviously – I had two very satisfying bubble baths with a glass of wine and the kindle. And Ady who went for quantity over quality and fitted in SEVEN baths during our 36 hours stay!) to ‘coming home again’. Which is always true. Very nearly four years in we feel like locals these days when we head to Fort William and always, always bump into someone we know (no exception this visit, we saw someone on the High Street and friends in Poundstretcher), chat away to the ferry staff (on board and in the office), see someone from a neighbouring Small Isle on board (this time it was Canna), are greeted like old friends by the Premier Inn staff and thanks to Ben Fogle all the dentists and nurses know what it looks like on the croft and in our caravan. But the very best bit of leaving Rum is always the moment when the ferry pulls back in to the pier on Rum, we are greeted with ‘welcome home’ from fellow residents as we walk up the slip, the car starts, Bonnie is delighted to see us and we get the kettle on and sit down with the first cup of tea at home, in our own mugs.

The trip was for dentist check ups for all four of us and a brace check with the orthodontist for Scarlett. All of our dental check ups were fine, Scarlett’s brace had broken a few days before we went off and unfortunately needed to sent away for repair. It is apparently fairly common and not a big deal. Unless of course a trip to the dentist involves 2 nights accommodation, 2 ferry trips, 100 miles of train or car journey and all the associated financial and logistical costs that entails… The perfect smile will be worth it, I will not actually tot it up. Next week it will be me and Scarlett hitting the bright lights of Fort William while Ady and Davies do Lad and Dad stuff at home on the croft. Ady had an eye test while we were off too as he’d missed his appointment last time we were on the mainland due to coming home a day early, so we are all fully MOT checked.

Not many photos from the mainland trip, infact I think I only took three. This one showing how one of our number is at his best in the mornings
morning
This one showing how some of us are less perky first thing
not morning
And the lack of Nic image telling it’s own story about what sort of morning persona I display… The third is the new camping pods, destined for Canna coming off the ferry at Rum to let the delivery van with our post and parcels come off as it was parked behind the pods.

canna campsite

Since I’ve been home I seem to have taken endless snaps though. A stunning welcome back sunset last night, viewed in triple aspect – the upside of living in a caravan!

triple aspect

We’re all on the mend after our cold so today was back in the swing of things. Ady spent the morning doing some maintenance on the log burner chimney which has taken a battering with the winter storms so needed some attention now it is not constantly light during every waking hour. In the afternoon he fitted some vents in the polytunnel as it was in desperate need of a through draught during the hot days and to alleviate the condensation which builds up in there and can create mould and mildew. He also build a chicken proof screen with some repurposed mesh which means I can close myself in and we can have the door off to help with draught without fearing the chickens invading and eating everything.

comfrey

chicken door

polytunnel

Really pleased to note that while the inside is doing well both the raised bed under cloches at the south facing side filled with strawberries is thriving two patches of comfrey on the north facing side have already started to come back this year.

My morning was all about weeding beds, using my new tiller and ably assisted by a whole gang of chickens there to beg the worms, planting out peas and beans and netting the beds. I was sad to notice that five young trees on the croft had died. We don’t have many trees on the croft, all young, mostly alder but precious. These had been ring barked or girdled by deer, their footrpints were all around and all of them had the distinctive stripped bark all the way around. We took them down and they will be firewood, so not gone to waste. They all five had some new growth coming from the lowest part of the trunk, so hopefully will come back as coppiced trunks. Pesky deer though.
tiller

girdling

In the afternoon I walked down to the village IN SHOES, for the first time this year. Rather prematurely as it turned out as the croft was still a little too wet for such adventures but never mind.
shoes

My afternoon was tea drinking, chatting and crocheting, all very enjoyable.

crafternoon

And very pleased to introduce Blue Midge who is now properly finished with legs and everything! And the start of Disco Midge who is still at ‘what is it going to be?’ stage.

midgeblue

blue midge

legsdisco midhe

And because it was not my turn to cook dinner I even had time to sneak back into the polytunnel when I got home and do the watering and plant up another tray of peas and beans.

It’s definitely the time of year for falling in love with Rum all over again.

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