Thursday, March 06, 2008


This striking letter box is owned by a man who attends the same Gaelic class as me. I'm told that some years ago, there was a competition on the island to produce the most unusual letter box. This one is 6-7 feet high and made of sheet metal. It is lovingly cared for and repainted regularly.
So, who dares to be the first to ask me how the renovation is going? Well, not too bad really, thankyou. The plumber keeps working and the builder is doing his best to finish inside. The new kitchen has been ordered and is arriving on Saturday morning, probably.
The rain has been torrential recently and there is still outside rendering to complete, plus gutterings and downpipes to fit when the weather eases up. I'm hopeful that I will be able to move back in at the end of this month.
One depressing and surprising event this week though. The copper cylinder, pump and fittings for the new central heating system were stored in the loom shed and have been stolen. My house is about 150 yards from the road and not in a position where casual or opportunistic sneak thieves would be likely to pass by.The cylinder disappeared some time last week and Northern Constabulary are now on the case. Thefts like this are still rare here and I'm quite hurt that it's happened to me. The shed was closed, but not locked and now has to be made secure. People living here have always trusted each other and often leave houses and cars unlocked from one year to the next, but I guess that will change as crime increases. A new cylinder and bits is going to cost me about £300. Oh well.
The other scandal of the week occurred on the Island of Barra.
The tourist organisation here,Visit Scotland, has found itself in hot water. They thought it would be a good promotional idea forBarra if they spent part of their £15 million marketing budget on a film showing three young nude male surfers prancing about in the surf, just as the plane was coming in to land on the beach. This film was part of a plan to present Barra as a romantic and adventurous tourist destination - Oh give me strength! The modesty of the actors involved was protected by carefully placed surfboards, but Visit Scotland seem to have omitted to check out locally if anyone would find this offensive. Fairly predictably , the local Priest just happened to be passing whilst our unclothed heroes were frollicking in the freezing cold sea. He took great umbrage, along with a small group of parishioners and complained very loudly and angrily to Visit Scotland. They responded by issuing a statement saying "We received feedback that some people were quite offended. We have apologised. Our intentions were good, but we got it wrong. The film has now been destroyed and will never be shown". Wonder how much that all cost? Bless 'em.


Les said...

Just read your blog from beginning to end with great envy and - now - a little trepidation! I'm astonished that you have had stuff nicked but from your story so far I know where my suspicions would lie.

I will be following your adventures with interest as my wife and I will be moving to Lewis in 2010 and may well have all the 'joys' of renovation to look forward to. I may well take a couple of courses in plumbing and electrical before we get there! I am also greatly interested in your learning of the gaelic as that is something I want to do as soon as we arrive. Do you reckon you'll be fluent enough by 2010 to teach me?



OR Melling said...

Enjoying your blog very much. I was in the Outer Hebrides in 2004 and am currently writing a book set there. Re building your house and all the tradesmen problems: have you considered bringing over foreign workers, e.g. Poles? My child's father's country lodge was built by Polish workers - not in an exploitative way, they have remained friends! The Poles are highly skilled tradesmen, utterly reliable, and consider British/Irish wages preferable to Polish ones. You need to provide room and board, but the job would be done quickly! There are also the wandering German apprenticed journeymen who travel together - carpenters, plumbers etc Worth thinking about. You seem to be getting the bad end of the stick there!

Anonymous said...

Och well Ger! you've got it all backwards.If George Wylie himself could only hear you himself he would be chust brokenhearted to hear his Palm tree called a pineapple and it painted 'pillarbox red' to show what an island letterbox should look like.