SUNSET FROM THE KITCHEN WINDOW 10:30pm
Some of the sunsets at the moment are ridiculously pretty. This one, photographed last week, was a particularly good one. I haven't bought any curtains or blinds yet, so getting to sleep when it's still daylight at 11pm can be a challenge.
House progress continues to be a bit up and down. The tiler has been working well and has tiled the kitchen floor to a high standard, but he has gone home to Poland for a month. Assuming he comes back at the beginning of July, he will start on the bathroom then.
Trouble with the plumber though. Whilst working here, he managed to break the tv stand and was responsible for a leak which the builder repaired as an emergency and gave me another bill for. As a gesture of goodwill and to keep him working to the end, I didn't initially charge the plumber for the damage, but was outraged when he sent me a further bill last week for 'extra materials.' Have returned the bill to him asking him to send me a cheque for the damage he caused. I am not paying his latest bill and don't expect to see or hear from him again. Suppose I will have to fit the shower screen and bathsides myself now.
The Building Inspector was unhappy with the length of the plinth the solid fuel stove sits on. Consequently, as an alternative to paying the builder more of my rapidly diminishing hard earned cash, I've built the required concrete extension myself. Although it wasn't rocket science, I'm not blessed with many manual skills, but it does look pretty neat. The Inspector is coming back for his final inspection later next week, so fingers crossed that he is happy and will give me my Completion Certificate.
The weather here on the island has been brilliant for the last month and there are successive waves of flowers appearing every week. Everywhere is alive with the smells, sounds and colours of early summer. The birds are particularly noisy and earlier this morning, a drumming snipe and nearby corncrake were competing for attention near the house. As I write this, the kitchen window is open and a cuckoo, which I can't see, has been cuckooing(?) for the last hour.
Interesting story from North Uist this week. The Free Church Minister there has long been concerned about the damage caused to individuals, families and the community by chronic alcohol abuse and to a lesser extent, drug misuse. For several years now, his church has been offering support, counselling and practical assistance to local people with addiction problems. His church has access to a residential rehabilitation centre in Northern Ireland, where motivated individuals can be offered a place on an 8 week rehab course, very quickly, at no cost to them. Getting someone into an NHS rehab centre can take months or years, so is often not accessible at times of crisis. Given the remoteness of these islands, it is not always possible for returners from NHS rehab to be provided with the support they might need to avoid relapse.
A difficulty with the church rehab centre though, is that they believe that sobriety and recovery can be achieved through a belief in God and the Bible, causing obvious difficulties for non believers. Nevertheless, the church is making a valuable contribution in addressing substance addiction here on the Islands.
Well, the story moves on. There is a hotel in North Uist, called the Carinish Inn, which is currently up for sale. The Free Church has revealed that it has put in a bid to buy the hotel with the intention of converting it into a large church, manse, meeting rooms and facilities to assist those with serious problems. The extent of the social services to be provided by the church are not yet public, but their two existing local churches in North Uist have been offered for sale this week in the Stornoway Gazette.
Oh the irony. Hotel, once a den of iniquity, converted to a Church.