Sunday, July 13, 2008


This cotton grass grows in front of the kitchen window and like the other flowers, is now past its best for this year. The spotted orchids have done particularly well, with many hundreds growing in two specific areas of the croft, but I have not been able to find any other type of orchid.

Decided to increase the speed of the decorating and other jobs needing to be done around the house by taking a few days holiday from work.
I've been driven to the point of madness for the last few weeks by hand stripping the original dog leg staircase, which had seventy years of paint on it, but has now emerged as a plain, but handsome object and well worth the effort.
My brother in law, newly retired and enthusiastic, flew in on the big silver bird a few days ago to help and things are now moving on apace.
We are busy stripping the two ceilings that have not been replaced in the renovation, painting doors and taking mountains of accummulated rubbish to the community skip in the trailer.It's amazing how motivation is increased by the presence of a willing helper. It's not all work either. We reward ourselves for being fine industrious fellows by taking a small libation at the end of each day and even managed to find the energy and cash to take ourselves off to a restaurant last night. Oh happy reckless days.
The tiler has returned from his annual holiday to his home in Poland and is going to restart the tiling on Monday evening. I don't mind when work on the house is going slowly, but do get frustrated when it grinds to a halt. After much deliberation and scanning of bank statements, I've finally decided to go ahead with having the access road renovated. It's about 130 yards long and is in such poor condition that it's almost impassable. The nice man with the digger and road roller is coming to see me on Tuesday and all being well, I'll have a level, flood free road in a month or two.
Can't remember If I said, but the Building Control Officer has sent me my Completion Certificate, which has made life much easier.

It's the Sabbath today and all outside work has stopped. The leg of lamb, produced on this croft, is in the oven and it's going to be a day of interior painting and tidying up. Brother in law is having a late lie in and no car has passed the house yet this morning.

This continues to be a community of contrasts. Tesco opens next week and whilst it's welcomed by most people, there are a minority of folks who consider this particular supermarket chain to be the spawn of the devil. One interesting snippet though. Tesco have confirmed that the Stornoway branch will be the only one of their shops in the UK to be closed on Sundays.

The fight continues by the Lords day Observance Society and others to stem the tide of change here. The ferry still doesn't sail, the sports centre remains closed and the childrens playparks can't be used on Sundays in most villages.
Driving through Uig yesterday though, I saw a sign saying that the shop on Bernera is going to be open every Sunday afternoon from now on. Goodness knows what fate will befall the manager when this becomes widely known. I can hear the thunderbolts and gathering storm already.

In the midst of all this, the Stornoway Amenity Trust has unveiled plans for a 'futuristic' transport system to carry passengers from the middle of the town to the grounds of Lews Castle College, a distance of less than a mile. If it comes to fruition, three robot like vehicles, made by a French company called Robosoft, will travel at 12 Kilometres per hour and each carry ten passengers. The vehicles will have no drivers and all functions such as acceleration, braking and steering will be computer controlled. This system would be the first of its kind in Britain and has a current estimated cost of £700,000. A report detailing the viability of this great idea has been sent to the local council. I assume the robotic vehicles will take a day off on Sundays to have their batteries recharged, like the rest of us.

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