Continued inactivity which has only included a bit of wood cutting, trying not to think too much about the weather
and lack of daylight, checking the 48+kWh at the Hydro and a few hours at the Inn. Today I spent a couple of hours in a sort of suspended surrealism. I went to the dress rehearsal of our school Panto. Pleased to announce that I have finally made it. On the stage as a character alongside with fine specimens of the community. The kids were brilliant and obviously had done a deal of work on their lines. The set and backup were amazing as well and hats off to everyone involved. As this was the dress rehearsal I better stop and not announce any spoilers. The camera is going in for a serious overhaul sometime soon but managed a couple of photos, embargoed till next week.
On Wednesday evening to pass the time I went on to Twitter tweeting about Land Reform, relevant as the Bill was being debated at Holyrood. I find Twitter a good source of info, reading articles that stretch your preconceptions. Anyway time rattled by as we were involved in a fine tweeting stream that included rateable values and sporting activities exemptions. The unanswered question first posed by Andy, “Why should the campsite pay rates and the estate, alongside it, run by one of the richest men in the world through a company in Jersey does not. There was no answer. Possibly the answer lies is in political friends of the government of the time. Possibly the same situation today regarding fracking licences. As with MPAs lobbying continues apace on behalf of those that have, public benefit and environmental improvements take second place when it comes to land, sea and its uses. I have noticed recently that the Lairds case is laced with irritation regarding references to the 19th century being put forward by the Reformers lobby. While acknowledging that we do not and should not live in the past surely an understanding of how we got to where we are today is essential. The fact that sporting activities were made rates except by a Conservative Government in the ’90s tells you more than trying to find a justification for this exemption to continue in current climes. Locally this comes up regarding the touristification (new word?) of place names here. Applecross is not Shore Street and Shore Street is not Applecross. Likewise old names across the Applecross peninsula show that these hills were worked and lived on. They were not always the treeless, barren, overgrazed heather moors of today. An example being Druim a’ Clachain, a long-lost cottar township between Applecross House and Alt Beag. http://www.applecrossplacenames.org.uk/map/ It is a concern that rewilding takes in many glens and ancient habitations in trying to create a man-made “wilderness”, one that never existed in the past and is only a vision of a few bureaucrats living in the towns and cities.
(After serving 50+at the Inn) That’s me awake now. Came up at five and had a couple of hours setting up the bar for an invasion of boatyard workers and tradesmen while trying to find accommodation for four Chinese who were travelling our wonderful NorthCoast500. The latest heavily promoted tourist wheeze. It was not long before the Wellington Brioches and Ribeye Steaks came flying out after the smoked chicken and squat lobster salads were all consumed. Perfect night for the food and a very easy bunch to please. Service was exceptional even going out to the cars to take desert orders. They were impressed.
(And now today) Day flew by with a trip to a very painful but deep massage from Sarah, but worth it. It was blowing a gale both at Shieldaig
and coming back around the coast.
A call in to pick up some hot and cold smoked sea-trout from Lorna and Derek. Had some kept back and there was not much left to choose from as they had just finished their Christmas online sales so just added some smoked cheddar and brie. http://applecrosssmokehouse.co.uk Had some hot smoked sea-trout for a quick-lunch and it was sublime. The massage was hard work and instead of going back to the power saw I crashed for a couple of hours. A definite sign that the massage had taken its toll. Have a long-term problem with my left arm….possibly hauling hundreds of thousands of creels over three and a half decades. £40 well spent, and no hangover after spending it. (Turns out that was yesterday)
The excitement of the Hydro over and it working away, seemingly with little problems, the mundane work of keeping everything ticking over cannot be ignored. The broadband went down round the North Coast a couple of weeks ago and when Sean went over to Raasay to check the mast he found worrying signs of deterioration
and we are going to have to do a fair bit of work on it and possibly the others to keep the system live. Going to re drill and resin the bolts and put stays in to lengthen the life span of the equipment.
The conditions are harsh and the masts are not strong enough to withstand our winters so an upgrade is essential. Always the problem with pioneering.
The weather continues on its merry way with depressions following one after another.
When you come out to work at the Inn like today, (it is now Sunday), sometimes it’s nailed. Time flies by when you meet a Native American Indian historian and then a Coffee Vendor from Crieff. Our own retired chaplain was in as well and is off to Umbria to fill in. Filling a preaching gap over there. Back to the First Nations and a wide-ranging chat from Dee Brown to the First Settlers up here, going through American right-wing politics. Interesting that locales are so different. New Mexico to the north is still hippie commune country while in the south of the state it is a hard right-wing politic. Being in Crieff and Vancouver Island and liking coffee I was able to hold my own on First Nation Shell Beaches and Free Trade coffee. The afternoon was completed with showing a project design manager to his room, he arrived in a pro to type F series Jag, his job to sort out the remaining snags on the journey. Looked like a zebra on speed or what a zebra would look like if you were on speed.