At the time of writing this we are just 10 views short of 16,000 views! Each time I update there's a surge of over 100. Hello readers!
What's been happening? Well, this weekend my parents came up for their annual visit and we were busy.
They arrived on the Saturday ferry and after lunch (with homemade herby rolls!) and a chat we decided to go to St. Patrick's Temple near Balephuil. The weather was amazing so I gave the dog an extra painkiller and she came with us.
We parked by the water works and set out. Upon getting within sight of the beach we saw a mad soul in the sea! Alright, this is about the best time to be going in as it's had chance to warm, but when I paddled as the tide was coming in over the wet sand it was still Cold.
We trotted along the positively bustling beach and then round the coast to the temple. The last little scrabble was not to Mum's liking and I struggled a bit, but I got up there and, it seems, failed to take any decent photos! The only good one was this one of one of the rocks with a cross carved in each face.
After that we came back down the hill and I took some photos of this "mermaid".
It was actually a sheep skeleton but with the weed at the tail end, you could be forgiven for thinking mermaid first.
The skull was quite impressive.
We spotted a seal watching us from further out, s/he was quite keen to be photographed and I got the impression it was going "get my best side".
There were also giant gulls (Dad thought it was something bigger, he's not seen such HUGE gulls!) and some cormorants.
There was a shoal of fish in the bay and the birds went mad fishing for them:
It seems the golfball is undergoing some work, not sure what though.
Madam doglet was positively pooped out by the end of the walk and was actually quiet for most of the journey home. She usually howls and wowls at the fact that she isn't moving (relative to the car) but she was just too tired. Plus it was over an hour past doggy dinner time!
That evening we enjoyed a delicious meal out at Ceabhar and again passed our compliments to the chef! We all slept well that night on happily filled tums and well exercised limbs.
Sunday dawned glorious again and my parents and I went to the ferry pier to fish.
Mum sat in a folding chair with a book and enjoyed the scenery while Dad and I got on with catching dinner. Dad caught four mackerel and I caught one. We decided it was down to the spinner, mine was bright yellow on one side while dad had one with a bit of blue which was apparently The Colour for mackerel. On the way back we saw two big, dark fish but weren't sure what they were, possibly sea bass.
We saw loads of sprats around the pier and their movements gave us clue to the mackerel location.
On the way back across the pier a shoal of baby flatfish were disturbed:
While we were loading the car a cat came to see if we had anything for it:
The car journey home was a bit draughty as I hadn't brought the lid for the bucket and, well, fish...
Once home Dad showed me how to gut and behead the fish (outside!) and then they were washed in the sink and put in the fridge to wait for dinner time. I did discover that feeding a dog the head and guts of fish is actually not such a good thing, the mess was not fun. Next time I'll do it on the pier and chuck them out for the gulls and other fish.
Our swallow fledglings were all on the washing line when we got home. Mum and dad were swooping in to feed them while they rocked and swayed on the thin line:
After a nice lunch and waiting on the washing machine we went to find the ringing stone. Jo's parents had found it and I had the coordinates in my GPS, plus Jo had found a guide online. The journey to the stone took 2 hours, the journey back took 45minutes. That tells you how well the guide was written! Don't trust something that uses drainage ditches as landmarks, crofters change these according to what works best and quite often use multiple ditches!
I did appreciate this well built stile, though:
It had "bricks" built up either side for those with shorter legs. Mum was most grateful as the fence was rather tall.
We walked about 2miles with all our meandering but we did find it!
On the way from Vaul you pass this thing:
No idea what it is. The inside is lined with fibreglass and the outside is some sort of hard foam, not rock as it looks.
The weather was gorgeous and we were glad we'd packed drinks. It also meant that the boggy parts weren't too wet and the worst was when I sank to my ankles on the way back. Pippa again came with us and was quite useful at finding the boggy bits that didn't look boggy. She was a boggy doggy!
We'd parked in the wrong place to start with so the menfolk went ahead of us on the way back to get the car and rendezvous. Little did we know though that the right place was just further up the road from where we'd parked. Cue Mum and I standing at (fortunately) a friend's gate having a chat while the men drove around going "oops". They did find us and Pippa wasn't nearly as worn out. Two minutes into the drive home the wowling began.
Before we went on our hike, we did pop into An Talla to see the finished tapestry in all its glory!
Three years in the making, A Tiree Day is done. The border has the gaelic "Tiree anthem" written as waves. It looks amazing and will hopefully be going to the mainland for a bit to be part of a tapestry walk.
That evening it was barbeque time! We set up down the side of the house and had an excellent meal. The mackerel cooked brilliantly and were DELISH! Meaty and satisfying. We honestly may look into a smoker. I'm on fishing duty this week, weather and mood withstanding. Jo says to fill the bucket as we can freeze them. I said I'll bring home what I can catch.
This morning we went to An Iodhlann for a good look round and for me to chat to our lovely archivist about digitising some VHS. It wasn't strictly speaking, open but as I was a volunteer and could show them around it was allowed. After that we came back to ours for some apple crumble and then my parents headed off to catch the ferry. Right now they're on the motorway headed home.
I am chilling at home in the knowledge that all I have to do tomorrow is look after the dog's needs and change the bed. Bliss!