When it’s windy, dreich and a little grey you would think there is not too much to write about, but this is Applecross and I am off to work in the dark and on the bike in five so just a little just now. Wednesday was a winter’s day on the west, mainly spent inside thinking I am so glad that throughout the summer I managed days I could not be bothered going out to fish but did. Despite the weather fronts with squalls and rain coming in from the west there are blinks of amazing light in the short breaks in the weather.
As the weather has been inclement the last of the langoustine were landed on wednesday afternoon, by bike of course. The season has shown little sign of slowing down and there have been two very busy days although the evenings have been slightly quieter.
Thursday was taken up by lots of talk, chatter, meetings about the Coal Shed Pier and its replacement.
Pier is now a misnomer and it is now a stone faced breakwater. There is lots of opinion about whether it should be east, or west of the faced wall, what it looks like, what it is for and even should it be built. The only thing I can categorically state that it was to be built to increase Applecross’ resilience regarding wood fuel supplies. It is to deal with an existing problem and set in place something for future generations to take forward. If anything this whole project shows how little control or say people living here have when major decisions are taken that affect the workings of the community.
Applecross is the best place but it would not be wise to ignore the problems rural parts of the country face and we should be afraid to stand up and say what these problems are. That does not mean working together goes out the window. I have had chats with guys that have different and opposing views regarding things like the pier but at no time have these conversations become personal and I know I can pass the time of day with them in the future, especially as we agree on so much more. However I feel we are going through a really difficult patch at the moment. Nationally we talk about building up community resilience and that is what we are working on, whether it be income generation, housing, broadband provision, wood fuel supply, fuel provision, but the talk has to be backed up by some sort of help. It has to be more than talk. There are people in well paid positions who should be enabling “the system” so we can help ourselves. Being involved at the community level I believe and see clearly that selling off all our national assets in the 80s is now coming home to roost. Our latest “news” from SSE is that they are invoking a clause in their grid grid connection agreement that they are limiting our connection to 50 kw thus forcing us to reconsider our options as they were based on a 90kw export. They just act with impunity and there seems no regulation to reign them in. This is while as stated previously they are developing huge schemes that take in large amounts of public green subsidies. Surely some sort of community benefit apart from giving out a few grand as sops like upgrading the infrastructure that they now control . This is the fundamental difference between private/shareholder profit and community/nationally owned assets. This blog is called Applecrosslife and these issues directly impinge on life here and should be out there, talked about, discussed and acted on. The latest privatisation may already be rearing it’s head locally….rumour so far but you can bet your bottom dollar our PO services will not be improved, they will become more profitable for the new shareholder but improved service I do not think so…. And this is before I even mention broadband and BT. There is a focus article in the West Highland Free Press www.whfp.com/ that focuses attention on the problems small vulnerable communities have in trying to build up resilience, this time based on our attempts to instate our broadband.. Surely it is to every one’s benefit that places like Applecross are able to look after themselves with a bit of help from out side. This comes across to the visitors who come here. this place is far more than a place to visit and the majority of people who visit here pick up on that and keep coming back for that indefinable more.
I got a little ranty there and maybe it is the season or just that the amazing projects that are happening just now are coming across entirely avoidable obstacles. Anyway there was another spell at the Inn where you make new acquaintances every shift like, the Lewes family who have been here all week, saying their cheerios and will be back, the Californians who will be Janet’s last guests, or the Geordies who now live in Yorkshire. Oh and the food is pretty dam good as well.
A terrine of Serrano ham with fois gras, lentil du pays, duck comfit set in a Madeira jelly.