That is the bartering done for the Christmas dinner, prawns delivered in exchange for the venison to be roasted and kraken rum and raison for dessert of course. A Clare Macdonald recipe which includes prawns,smoked bacon, philli cheese,lemon juice and parsley is the trad starter for the last 5 or so years and never fails, in fact so much so we always have too much of it, great with oatcakes. Only thing between now and Christmas is the quiz tonight at the Inn, another short straw. Not allowed the local section or one about land reform. Bit unfair asking some one from Kent what vehicle Baxter drives. They probably would not understand the question. It seems to be the time of year when you do a bit more reminiscing and saturday morning saw a bit of that when Kennac was talking about some of the old characters of Applecross. I think this was a bit of a diversionary tactic to keep his mind off having a dram to get over the previous night libation. I just missed the days when there were enough young guys living here to make up some decent football teams and there were some good shinty players as well. Reminded me of Jim and Johnny Nic talking in Plockton,earlier in the week, realising they were getting to the end of their careers when they turned up with the second team “on a wet day in Skye” and still did not get picked to play. Saturday evening at 9.30pm the phone goes and it’s a request for help. Regular visitors Derek and Jan have hit a stag west of Achnasheen and come to a very sudden stop,airbags popping and stag almost coming through the window. They are stranded and the car is totalled on a bleak midwinter’s night in the Highlands.
On the way to pick them up I remembered going to a gathering at Lochinver Hotel,I think,and took part in a Lesley Riddoch radio phone in, the occasion being the Assynt crofters buying their land. The highlight for me was a short but powerful speech by Angus Macrae from North Strome. He described the drive back from Inverness in the middle of winter going home to Strome, driving through the empty glens and how he hoped the Assynt people were leading the way to repopulating the vast empty swathes of the Highlands. He described how comforting the drive would be if it was interspersed with lights on the sides of the glens and knowing there were families there again and they would be with him on the drive home. Although this was said over 20 years ago I can still see Angus standing up and the vivid description of his desire. Aye and before I knew it I was at the scene of the stag and after a natter with the local Bobbie, quickly loaded up the van and occupants were soon back in Applecross. Not the start of their holiday they expected but all,apart from the car and stag, seemed well.
January is already filling up with a social media course, a visit to Glasgow for the first night of Celtic Connections, and a visit to Strontian to discuss with their community about community consultation and whether it is necessary and pointers on how to go about it. A really interesting meeting is set up for the end of January when a contact Alison met at Comrie is coming to discuss the challenges of climate change and how it is going to affect our lives and economy. The observations of those living in the countryside on any changes we notice are going to be valuable data for the future. Possible changes in how the scallops spawn due to slight increase in the water temperature, although not scientifically proven may be indicative of these changes. Another is the sea grass that is growing on the marker buoys at this time of year. We never had to clean the buoys outside the summer months.