Two very busy days at the Inn, Saturday evening was packed all night and we went into survival mode. The MOD, MV Hampshire and classic bikes were all booked in totalling thirty-five bods between them. Residents and walk ins brought the number of meals served to between a hundred and twenty to one fifty. Nice evening clouds over the islands on the way to work.
Today we were getting busy at lunch time when the door opened and seemed as though it did not close for about twenty minutes, in real-time it was probably only for three or four, but long enough for around forty odd customers to enter looking for meals. All you can do is smile and have a bit of a craic with them, then tell them they will get a table in the next twenty minutes…..seems to work. met some interesting guys over the two days and had lots of conversations about land reform, fishing conservation, good food and answered all the questions about how the h**l we do it. I do not really know myself but I think it is down to some one called Judith. Also good to hear the Walled Garden going well. They have a busy three weekends coming up with a wedding on each one. Had a bit of a laugh this morning at my expense when I found out who owns the MV Hampshire….JIm Radcliffe of Grangemouth infamy. Seems all the staff knew apart from me just in case. Boss thought I would not have a very good reaction. Took that as a compliment as wealth is meaningless, it is what one does with it. I have promised myself I am going to reread up about the threatened Grangemouth closure that took place last year. Wandered along the Street to take a couple of snaps of the wee boatie, reputed to have cost 50 million.
Softened the outlines with a couple of branches.
Smiled when I heard they had cars to drive them from Milton Pier to the Inn, put them on standby and then were driven back. I am glad I did not know who they were connected to as you can judge at face value and they were pleasant people. As were the bikers who I had to move off their table to make room for the Hampshire guests. In fact that happened most of the evening but it was taken in good heart as most people realised that every one had to be fed. Been a while since I have come across a nasty. Meeting people from across Europe and the Black Isle, all interesting and inquisitive people and it is a two-way conversation where they are interested in Applecross and what happens here and there are many connections I can now make, knowing people and places where they come from.
A couple of conversations today made me think how little time we seem to have in today’s world. Like a lot of people on the west coast and the islands, people living here have on average two jobs and with partners working there are many households that rely on three or more different sets of incomes. Whether that is in the tourist industry, crofting fishing community work and on top of that there is the volunteering where people get involved in Hall Piers and Heritage Centres. So with that in the back of my mind after tying up, loading the dinghy for landing, I took a detour to the rocks of Culduie, (had to nip out and take a photo of a startling rainbow just off the garden. Sun shining from the north-west through a shower passing to the east)
and landed on the small island. Went back to the dinghy after disturbing a couple of oyster catchers and just sat watching the seals. Most of the adults slid off the rock to come over to check the “danger”, snorting and snuffling in the water.
The pups stayed on the dry shore basking in the afternoon sun. These natural moments, as watching this brilliant rainbow outside my window are rain checks on what is real. Must have stayed with the seals for about twenty minutes or so, only thoughts were willing them to come closer. Fine end to an afternoon. Glass calm day and got through 350 creels for a poor catch but have the creel mesh experiment under way with two hauls now.
It was a lovely quiet morning
although all four boats headed out at the same time with a bustle of activity. Fairly uneventful day keeping a close eye out for cetacean activity. A pod of dolphins were spotted heading down the Sound on Saturday evening but nothing doing today, not even cormorants, a few skuas and the gulls were out in force. Crossing the deck I noticed a sucker fish, put him in water and he seemed to revive, a photo and over he went.
Had a bit of trouble getting back down but there were no gulls around so may have made it. Wonder what he tells his mates when he gets back home. Noticed a timber lorry coming in round the coast road. May have been the camera one seeing what the road was like for shipping the timber out. Things seem to be moving at a remarkable pace. A snippet on the news saying that two hundred cabers were being delivered to the Highland Games circuit, with the background shot of a guy and a Clydesdale, extracting timber as it should be. Cool bread on the guy not the horse. Could not help thinking of the articulated timber lorry coming in round the Coast.
Final job of the night was to do a slug check, only a dozen down from Saturdays 78. Broccoli has had to be replaced and a couple of sprouts are not going to survive. Leave it for another couple of nights before replanting. No pictures of slugs.