Well how times change. Went to get the post on Saturday afternoon hoping there were not too many late investors as we did not want disappointed people. However it was not bad as they were mostly filled in forms of previously received BACs and cheques. Two days ago we were hoping the opposite and on Wednesday the dam broke and the river flowed our way. I was away on Wednesday evening and managed to briefly pick up on a continuation of the flow on Thursday from a slightly stressed tweet saying it was all over bar a double-check on how much was in the total. By this time I was in Edinburgh at a Social Finance Conference/Workshop, originally booked for a leaflet and investor push to have our target reached. Dai, the day before, took all the pressure off. Thought about not going down, but this becomes all-consuming and a wee break was needed to remain sane. You end up being unpleasant if the pressure becomes too much and end up saying things you regret later. At least when you know you are at that stage you can modify reactions.
So after work it was down the A9 at a steady pace to reach the West End of Edinburgh in plenty of time to find the Roxburghe Hotel and join in a day of Social Banking/Finance. Opened by John Swinney and followed by a series of interesting and humorous speakers from Australia, Holland and Germany. A workshop in the afternoon where we talked about Community Shares. A really interesting share issue about fair trade footballs, hand sewn, from Pakistan and then was asked to say a few things about our share issue as we had three or four minutes left. Met Kelly who was taking the workshop and I had only known previously through emails. Applecross makes itself known to so many people and in so many places. Only down side is I did not display my expensive parking ticket properly and ended up with a nasty fine. Times like these I know I am a Teuchter.
Inverness was the next stop and a few trips around town as usual after several kips on the way up the road. Made sure I was north before the weather closed in. Driving along Ness bank saw the tribute lit up on the bridge.
Was supposed to meet Alison at Eden Court for a night of Treacherous Orchestra but suspected she would not get away from the computer and the Hydro Share Issue and that was the case. Only found the message when I got home as The Court wi-fi was not behaving, it is better at home. The music was top of the tree as expected,
probably one of the best concerts of live music I have been to and I am starting to notch up a few. Good to meet up with Jacky and Mark before the music started.
Good to know the music and they played the Grind album with a few of the old favourites and by the end of the night had the crowd jumping.
even tried a bit of crowd surfing and made it back onto the stage unharmed. Mind you with three arms and two fiddles…..In fact he was very gently put down and it was the School of Excellence and Applecross contingent that were involved with this delicate manoeuvre. One of the attributes I love about Treacherous is that they so obviously into what they do
and most of the time are either laughing
or grinning their heads off while still producing some excellent sounds.
I was a little surprised at the room and the closeness of the gig and nipped out for the camera at half time. Just took a few snaps as did not want to lose contact with the music. Did not get any of the posed shots but happy with the ones I took. And they were jumping at the end as well.
John, thanking the crowd mentioned a few places where everyone came from to hear them, and of course Applecross got a mention. I do take a lot of pride in the achievements of this community from getting Innes back onto the stage safe to raising over three-quarters of a million to own its own Hydro Scheme. And the forecast meant I was quickly out the door and heading west (Treacherous on the iPod for the journey as it is now) Flurries of snow above Dingwall and the Brahn as well as Achnasheen but decided on the Hill. We locals just do not like the Coast Road especially being on the road for a couple of days. However just going round the corner, starting the long climb up to the hair pins I was thinking the Coast Road would be a very satisfying drive to end the journey. I passed the last tracks of cars and, unbelievably a motorcycle track, and slid my way to the top. Speaking to Peter, the plough, next morning he said he was impressed with my tyre tracks. Took the whole of the road to get up and over. fortunate that most of the snow was on the Kishorn side so not sliding down. Home safe by 1.00am
Saturday was another recovery day and a day that I need to refocus on my own business and try to disengage a little from the Hydro and the like. Still to be around, but needs must. Thinking along these lines as the weather was not too bad, a bit of a run in the sea from the North, but still could have and maybe should have gone fishing. Instead a trip up the road
to make a phone call and ended up on the Bealach again with the van full of Aussies and dogs. Dougal and Eilidh
used to the snow but for Taneil
and Mel it was a first.
How different we all are. Twenty three and this was their first experience of the white stuff we see every year. Come to think of it I have not been in 40c of heat so just a bit of role reversal. That and looking through photos before making up the road for work made up the day. Although we are still a bit over staffed with the Boss being away it was a fine shift. Plenty of time to speak to all the guests, Nairn, Edinburgh, Skye to name but a few. Sometimes there is little effort needed as they pair up themselves and all you need to do is see they get their food and drink and leave them to it. Honeymoon couple from Kishorn over, had to spend their first night eating at the Inn, a privilege to serve.
Finally although I am not sure it has truly sunk in but the total, amended up due to the circumstances surrounding the contract, has been reached and with ease. While walking with Dougal and Eilidh yesterday morning a thought stuck me about the difference between hope and belief. I think belief is a very strong ideal and can lead you down a long wrong road, just look at the world around us, while hope was the feeling I unconsciously used to get through the high stress levels. For me it has been stressful and for Alison, doubly so. But the planning and effort that she has put into the marketing of the Community Share Issue has been second to none. Taken its toll a bit and now she is off down the road to speak at the Rural Parliament in Musselbourgh and in the exalted company of the FM Nicola Sturgeon. Applecross is once again making itself known for all the right reasons. None of this could happen if we did not have the support of most of the community and the establishments who allowed access to their customers, the contractors HighlandEco, and all our contacts who helped us on Social Media through sharing and retweeting the Applecross message. Also the mainstream media, local and national press and broadcasters decided we had a story to tell and let us tell it through their outlets. Can only thank every one involved and appreciate all the comments coming in. Now to commissioning the Hydro and we need a decent forecast for the next two weeks, decent in that no named storms coming our way. So again thanks for helping us achieve this