Saturday 27 May 2017

Midge Hell

I am on Skye. It is hot. It is Scotland. There is no wind. There are midges. EVERYWHERE. 

The bedroom I am occupying is not large and last night it was hot and stuffy so I opened the window - for 3 seconds and then shut it again. However I could not shut the ventilator. 

Midges, like mosquitoes, are attracted to carbon monoxide. The room soon filled with my breath and thus contained enough carbon monoxide to attract every midge in Portree. Which I think it did.

Despite having disposed of the duvet when I got into bed I woke at 0322 cooking in my own perspiration being bitten mercilessly by females feeding their young (only female midges bite).

It has not been a good night. Fortunately I do not react badly to midge bites which, given that I must have well over a hundred that I can see and there must be many more that I can't, would have been terrible for some people who react very badly.

Today is going to be interesting. I'm meeting a fellow blogger and her husband who will be visiting Skye. I shall blog about that after the event. However this evening I have to drive to Glasgow. I f I'm too tired I might end up sleeping in the car. It's Bank Holiday weekend and it would seem that every available bed in the West of Scotland is occupied for the next few days.

I've blogged about midges many times but this one entitled 'B****y Midges' at least had some humour in it.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Snails and Slugs

It is probably too dramatic to describe the quantity of snails and slugs in the garden last year and now as of plague proportions but it's been pretty near to that.  After the amount of damage last year and after having resorted to slug pellets (which I really hate using because I don't really like killing anything - apart from wasps) I thought that the weather conditions which led to the large numbers were so different this year that things might have changed. Not at all.

A couple of weeks ago some Redwings popped in on their migratory route and in a few minutes two of them had demolished a lot of slugs in the grass at the back of the house.


However what has really puzzled me is the fact that snails always go upwards when it gets very wet. I recall them being collected in the rain when they crawled up the houses in Italy. So finding this one having a drink in the pond was one thing:

 But following this snail trail and finding one in the stream was quite another:

  Anyway a couple of days ago I decided to have a snail hunt and this was my haul:

Since then it's only been about half a dozen a day. I'm hoping that I can keep them under control this year.

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Emotionally Drained

Apart from my times in New Zealand when I posted on my other blog this is, I'm pretty sure, the longest period between posts since i started this blog in 2007. 

I've been very busy helping my son get his house finished. It's nearly there. I've also been working on my own house in my 'spare' time.

Yesterday was the turning point.

I'm in Glasgow for a few days and yesterday was one of the most emotionally charged days I can recall for a long time.

The first thing I did was take my beloved Nighthawk to be sold. As she sat there all valeted and gleaming at the Car Auction I steeled myself to walk away. Writing this (after the rest of the day) I want to go back and bid for her, ask for her forgiveness, and take her back to Lewis for a long and happy retirement. As it is I can only hope that her new owner gets as much enjoyment and is as happy with her and as good to her as I have been.

In the afternoon a couple of friends and I travelled over by train to Edinburgh (an impossible place in which to park a car) to see an exhibition of Joan Eardley's paintings at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two). 

Then we went to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre to see Matthew Bourne's ballet company perform his production of The Red Shoes. I love ballet and have done ever since I saw a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake at the Royal Court in Liverpool as part of the Commonwealth Arts Festival in 1965. In New Zealand we used to go to (and I have blogged about) several productions each season at the Napier or Hastings theatres. I've been to far too few productions in the UK. 

Even if one does not like ballet I challenge anyone to go and see yesterday's production and not be moved. For me it was one of the most magnificent, dramatic and emotionally challenging ballet production I have ever seen. The standing ovation was well deserved.

We all arrived back at Anna's in the hour before midnight. Cheese and wine appeared as if by magic and disappeared down grateful throats as we reminisced on a wonderful afternoon and evening.  We eventually made way to our beds and slept....and slept.