As planned, on the first Tuesday of every month, the blog post will be about life here on the island.
Weather is an obsession when you live in the Hebrides. We have a maritime climate and therefore our weather tends to be very changeable. The island also has its own micro-climates and so the weather at locations only a few miles apart can be very different. But for the last week or so (with only last Saturday as an exception), we’ve had a spell of lovely relatively settled weather. It has been bitterly, eye-wateringly cold, but very bright and sunny. There have been deep, sharp frosts overnight and beautiful pink and purple dawns.
The Cuillin mountain range has been doing its Alps impression – snow-covered, sparkly and quite stunning. Walking to and from work with the ridge dominating the skyline is wonderful. Lifting your eyes to the summits does seem to raise the spirits.
And the birds are back along with their various songs and calls. All winter we’ve only had the robins, who never stop twittering in defence of their territories, and, of course, the ravens and crows. But now the finches, tits, blackbirds, thrushes and starlings have returned. I can’t wait to get moved into our new house (next week) and to set up the bird feeders in the garden and to watch the frenzy of nest-building that must be imminent.
Night time too, on this dark island, is always interesting for sky-watching. At the moment we have Venus and Jupiter watching us from just below the moon – and the recent, clear, cloudless skies have meant a spectacular show of stars.
The talk of the town at the moment is the possible arrival of one of the big four supermarkets in the island’s main town. At present there is only the Co-op and a love-hate relationship seems to exist between it and the islanders. The possible opening of a Tesco store has been talked about off and on for about a decade and it seems to be back on the agenda once more. But this time the Co-op are taking the threat to their monopoly seriously and have put up big display boards at the front of the store with their outline plans to extend both store and range of stock, to add a filling station and to build units for other retailers. Some people are all for this – seeing it as marginally less threatening than a Tesco superstore for the shops in the heart of the town - in a ‘better the devil you know’ sort of way. While others think it’s the kick up the bahookey that the Co-op deserves. I’ve no strong feelings either way – interesting times…
One of the nicest things (and occasionally most difficult things) about living on the island and in a relatively small community is that degrees of separation are small. A small example of a positive aspect of this fact happened to me recently. I ordered a couple of things online but when the courier arrived to deliver, I was at work. The driver was a local and knew where my husband works so went there to drop off the parcel. But my husband was out. However, someone at my husband’s workplace told him where I worked, so he set off again and brought it to me. Great service!
And finally – as I mentioned above – we move into our new, permanent, house after a peripatetic seven months of temporary lets. It will be good to get settled again. I’ll not be posting here for a couple of weeks as I’ll be unpacking and setting up – it’s not just the garden birds who’ll be nesting. So bye for now…