Monday, June 25, 2012
SEAWEED HARVESTER ON LOCH ROAG
This fantastic bit of kit, a real boys toy, was busy cutting seaweed near my home when I took this photograph. It belongs to the Hebridean Seaweed Company, based near Stornoway, which dries and mills seaweed, which is then sold for use in the cosmetics and animal feed industries and as a soil enhancer. In addition to this floating machine, the seaweed is also cut by hand by collectors throughout these islands, who then sell the raw seaweed to the factory for processing.
I am acutely aware that it is more than a year since my last post and that I owe readers an explanation for my absence. It has been an eventful and sometimes traumatic twelve months, but life is getting back to an even keel again now and I am going to make an effort to write the blog regularly in future.
Soon after my blog entry in May of last year, I took a fall in the garden whilst feeding the birds and managed to break my leg in four places. It was painful, did not mend well and I was off work sick until October. The frustration of being in plaster from ankle to thigh, and being temporarily disabled and housebound had a fairly depressing effect on me and I lost all motivation for a while, other than just to get through the days. Living alone in a fairly remote situation meant that I received few casual visitors, although friends did come to help out regularly and do my shopping for me. In time, the plaster eventually came off and I returned to work in late October, feeling better mentally, but still in a lot of pain and with a pronounced limp. Fortunately, that has improved and I'm now largely pain free and the limp has gone although I still can't walk any great distance.
At Christmas, having completed thirty years in my job, I made the decision to retire, whilst I was still young enough and fit enough (!) to do something else with my life. For a variety of reasons, including pressures at work and a very harsh and miserable Winter, I decided to continue working for a few months longer and delay my retirement until the better weather arrived in Spring. Well folks, the day eventually came and I am pleased to inform you that I finally retired about three weeks ago.
I'm still feeling a little lost and wondering if I've made the right decision, but I'm sure it will be alright in the end. I've recently bought a camper van and spent last week touring the Isle of Skye for the first time and I intend to travel to other parts of the UK in it over the Summer months.
The real change on the horizon for me is that I've decided to become a student again and have signed up for a full time course in Archaeology at the University of the Highlands and Islands, beginning in September. I do feel a bit anxious about studying again after all these years, but hopefully, it will be fun, interesting and keep me off the streets. I suspect that with the course and work around the house and croft to do, that I will be busier than ever before long, although I hope that I will have time left to do some voluntary work here.