Monday, November 26, 2007

It's dark, dark, dark now, most of the time. Well, not quite, but it's 8:30am here and I can barely see a thing through the window and daylight goes about 3:30pm.

Building work still progressing slowly but surely. Most of the double glazing is in and floors and walls nearly finished. Slight delay though because the plumber had an accident, injured his leg and won't be back at work until after Christmas. Consequently, no bathroom or central heating yet. Oh the trials! Fortunately, the builder thinks he has found another plumber, always a difficult job here, and work may recommence next week. To delay the job even more, the builder has sacked two of his apprentices for failing to turn up on time or simply not arriving at all after a heavy weekend of merrymaking. In addition, the costs are beginning to spiral upwards and I'm not convinced that I'm still in control of this project. Lead me to the Gin bottle somebody please. The good news is that the builder seems confident that he will be gone and I can have my house back by the end of January.

Not doing very well in my Gaelic class just now. Have missed a few weeks recently when I've been away or had to do other things and am really struggling with it. Find it incredibly frustrating to only converse in Gaelic, without being able to check out progress in English. The continual mantra from the tutor is ' don't bother about what it means, just speak it'. The problem for me is that I've no idea what I'm talking about much of the time and that leaves me feeling anxious and occasionally embarrassed. Can't stop myself from translating Gaelic into English as I speak. Don't feel that I'm moving forward, so am going to look for another class - probably at the local college - which does teach through the medium of English. Fairly sure now that I'm not suited to this Total Immersion style of learning.
Although the flat I'm staying in is very remote and isolated, it has the advantage of being 28 miles from Stornoway along this most amazing road, which is bordered on both sides by near and distant hills. The vivid summer and autumn sunrises and sunsets have long gone, but depending on the time of day, the entire landscape now progresses through colours ranging from wispy smoky grey, to midnight blue and black. It might sound depressing and forbidding, but when you're in the middle of it, it's quite awe inspiring.The hills can be seen in layer after layer, spreading down the islands and the sheer beauty of it all sometimes leaves me open mouthed. The danger of watching all this of course is that the road is so twisty and precipitous in places that I'm at grave risk of driving over the edge into a Loch. My track record of paying attention when driving is not brilliant at the best of times, so unless I get my act together and concentrate more, this might just be the last blog I ever write.
That would be a shame though, because I'm getting cabin fever and looking forward to spending Christmas in the South. Apart from seeing friends and family, oh the joy at the prospect of being able to spend time frittering my money away in B&Q, John Lewis, Matalan and M&S. All a bit shallow really, but I do miss the bright lights and crowds in chain stores after a few months in self imposed exile out here. Instead of flying, I'm taking the car this time, so that I can load it up with stuff to finish the house renovation off after the builder waves me goodbye with one hand, whilst brandishing the final payment cheque with the other. There are shops here where most things can be bought, but the choice is often non existent and the prices stratospheric. For higher priced or multiple items, It is often less expensive to buy them on the mainland and paying a carrier to deliver them here.

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