Tuesday, 28 February 2012

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Thursday 2nd February 2012

Hello from Tiree!

I'm currently writing this in Openoffice as we only have a very basic GPRS connection (mobile internet, dial-up speed) so getting to my blogger is impossible but I want to say hi anyway.

So, we've landed. Monday morning saw the last of the stuff being packed by the removal guys, us filling a Transit van, putting ferrets in their little cage on top of the dog's crate (yeah, she loved that...not!) and heading off. Preston is now a long way South and East. We did find a huge patch of mould under the fridge freezer that had grown over the year, but the landlord knew the mould was still growing so we're not going to lose the deposit over that, or we better not anyway.

Monday afternoon was driving with a few stops. We stopped at a services over the border that has a big lake, and gave Pippa time for a trot and some air. Bit cold and damp though, so it was a short trot. We came up lots of motorway to a bit past Glasgow then it was A roads the rest of the way. Got to Oban a bit past 6pm. Did a bit of shopping on the Co-op, had a lovely dinner (I highly recommend the lemon cheesecake from Piazza!) and spent the night in the hotel.

The hotel was dog friendly so Madam got a night in her crate with us and the ferrets stayed in the van. I was a little worried someone might break in to it but it was fine and the ferrets were all fine too.

Tuesday morning was ferry morning. 5am is not an hour I like to get up at, so waking up at 4:30am was ugh. But, we got up, packed up, checked out and managed to get out the door without too much issue. I knew it was early when I went to get our tickets and boarding passes, the door had a handle that lifted to unlock and said “pull to open” I obviously wasn't awake because I pulled the handle up, then PUSHed the door. After trying for 2 minutes I knocked on the door and was told to “pull the door!” Oops. So, we had passes and tickets, I gave Madam a morning walk around while we waited to board and then, on we went. I had planned to take Madam's bed out of her crate to sit on the ferry with, but they packed us all so close together there was only just enough room for her to squeeze out the door. She did okay though, so long as all three of us stayed in sight. If Jo or Dad went to the loo she had to be fussed or she would cry. The journey was fine, there was a slight roll but nothing worthy of sea-sickness. The ferry has stabilisers, they look like airplane wings on ball joints and come out the sides to counteract the roll, great things!

The views were great! I think Jo snapped a few photos. There was a good breakfast to be had too, and Dad treated us to a nice filling wake up. 11am we docked at Tiree. What a gorgeous island! Beautiful white beaches, blue sea and open land. The local cows aren't too inbred, it's actually a case of looking carefully to spot the females from the males, their udders don't hang between their knees and they're fluffy too (the cows that is). The sheep look lovely and fluffy, I admit to coveting a few fleeces as we passed them.

There was a bit of a farce with paying the deposit and first month's rent. Mainly the fact that there's no 3G internet on the island so trying to get to banking websites using dial-up speed took aaaaaaages. At this point I must say: well done Co-operative for making a dial-up friendly online service! It may look simple, but it means we can get to it. In the end Dad kindly paid using the business account and then we paid him back via Co-operative. By 2pm we had the keys!

The bungalow is lovely. Considering we rented it pretty much blind, 3 photos on the website and no measurements, it's surprisingly roomy. There's a built in wardrobe in each bedroom, a huge kitchen (with room for a dishwasher!), a spacious living room, a bathroom and a second toilet, and a back 'porch' kind of place. Oh, and a big, DRY garage. The ferrets are living in their, along with the chest freezer. I let them out for a romp yesterday and there was lots of dooking and wardances, happy fuzzballs. Rumble did show me the flaw to my blocking off the back of the freezer, but it was only a small flaw and easily fixed. Playtimes will have to be supervised anyway as the only way in and out is via the large door at the front and I am not playing try to keep the ferrets in while getting out.

We had a tour of the island yesterday (Wednesday). Dad drove us about in the van and we saw the sights. We also went to Scottish Hydro and bought our first cooker, it only took about 2 minutes, we said we wanted a cooker, we had 40A and a wide gap, went for 60cm and the Beko she had in. You know you're an adult when you buy your first cooker. We've left a message with the electrician's partner and are waiting to hear back. I could connect it, but I'm not certified and this is a rental property, so we'd rather not set it on fire.

There was a *huge* patch of mould in and behind the drawers next to the cooker slot. This worried us a bit, so we rang the landlady and said we'd be happy to clear it with her permission, she granted it and Jo and Dad went to get some bleach and other bits. After a serious spray with 50/50 bleach/water mix, a soak and then a scrub we're actually happy to use the unit. The wall is stained, but it's half behind the cooker and half behind the drawers and we don't care so long as it doesn't grow back.

I love this house! I just hope all out stuff fits.

Oh yes, the guys were meant to come on the same ferry as us, but even with a month's notice they couldn't get a space on the ferry, on the whole it's proven useful. Yes, sleeping on the futon isn't exactly wonderful, but having 48 hours to plan which room will be which, clean any little messes and generally get to know the place is very useful indeed. The complete lack of curtains and curtain rails has meant some undressing in the dark and hiding inside cupboards to choose clothes, but the curtains are coming today.

We found a place called Skinners (I think) that stocks just about everything, including curtain rail. We bought their last two strips and will be popping in tomorrow to see if they have had any more. Our bedroom has a rail now and will have curtain by tonight. Skinners is also a short walk down the road and has veggies too, so I can trot down to get onions and leeks and whatever else takes my fancy.

So now I'm sitting her blogging and Jo is doing a last little bit of washing up. We've cleared the floors and surfaces so the guys can unpack. Now it's wait and guide. 10:48am Not long to go!

Saturday 4th February 2012

Weather today: Cold, windy and wet.

The weather has been very kind to us this past week, it's stayed dry and was distinctly less windy on Thursday when the Pickfords guys unpacked our stuff from their van. The driver was amused, there's a long single road across the island that's plenty wide for a transit van or a tractor, but a big removals van straddles the tarmac, he could feel the wheels going over the edges.

Unpacking is going well, the living room is almost there, so is the kitchen. The bedroom has the mattress on the floor because we can't find the castor cups to protect the carpet. Alas, we will be registering a complaint about one of the packers, he packed the study boxes and we've had breakages. The monitors survived, even though they weren't padded in any way, but my big digital radio isn't turning on (I'll have a poke later), some of Jo's Warhammer models were damaged and things were just bundled in boxes willy-nilly. Not impressed.

Plus today: The cooker is finally connected! Managed to misplace the manual already but that's normal with us.

We had a visit from the BT man yesterday, he had a look outside then drove off, possibly going to be a tad complicated?

Jo's planning to cycle to Scarinnish (think I spelt that right) today and do a bit of shopping at the Co-op. Rather him than me. I think I shall make a dash for the garage and put the big ferret cage back up for the fuzzbums while the bike is out of the way. The ferrets are doing well, they did well on the move and are settled in their new home, even if the light is still stuck on 24/7. The electrician is going to be back later in the week to change that.

Pippa is happy too, she's not being my little shadow this time, she's happy to stay on her bed and leave us to our doings. This is fortunate as we've been moving furniture and things which is a lot easier if there isn't a small canine under your feet, plus it's less stress for her.

So, yeah, lots of unpacking still to do, and deciding where things will live and ack. This weekend is getting the study usable. Jo needs to be able to work and we need to be able to get dressed, after that I can take my time with the other rooms. The kitchen will probably be next. Now everything that's meant to be plugged in is plugged in I can see what spaces we have and adjust accordingly.

We took a little video on Thursday evening. The guys had just finished unloading the van and we hadn't really started unpacking in earnest, there were piles of boxes everywhere! So I held the camera and followed Jo as he led us around the house, video coming soon.

That's about it really. I'm going to sit here a bit longer and then persuade myself to go help unpack the study.

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