A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Posts tagged ‘christmas dinner’

Carers…..just the best

Realised how hard it is to be a trades man in Applecross, not that I have any pretensions in that direction. Went up to the toilets on Wednesday morning to do a bit more of the finishing off and ended up chatting to passersby more than actually working at what I should have been doing. Lovely start to the day


when taking the dogs out and came across my first living puffballs.


Having said that it is a pleasant way to spend the day and I did get a fair bit done in the afternoon. We have installed a solar panel so there will be hot water for the first time at the toilets.


Managed a beach clean seaside of Darren’s new wall and got a quarter load of wood for the growing stack at the back of the house. More and more wood sheds are being built around the community with the obvious conclusion that wood is becoming the priority fuel here. Weather still poor with a window predicted for Thursday, but a trip to Inverness had been planned and sure enough it was still windy in the morning as I set off. A bad winter has not arrived for most people but here it is well under way. For a fisherman wind and lots of it is a bad winter and that is what we have so far. Bad winter ashore is cold and lots of snow for most people but that usually means it is quiet at sea. Cannot do anything about it as the old folk would say and the next three days have a couple of storms coming in again with the second one on Sunday looks pretty nippy.

Thursday morning I almost stopped on the dual carriageway coming to the Kessock Bridge as the sun was shining full blast on the town and again on the way down to Dingwall where there was a magnificent rainbow over the Firth but on both occasions may have picked up points on the licence and points in this case do not mean prizes. In Applecross there would have been a couple of photos to show. Pace of life out there is just wrong. Rattled through a few things and bought my first gluten-free muesli…have to mix it as it consists of buckwheat, rye and millet. Did not pick everything up as I tried to get to the biosphere meeting at Achnasheen in reasonable time. Met an Applecross resident at the Garden Centre who told me he thought a biosphere was a big glass bubble…..hmmmmm. After being at the meeting for an hour or so I reckon I would have been better off finishing what I should have done in Inverness. Lets say setting up a biosphere in Wester Ross has one or two hurdles to overcome….the main one is to explain to people what it is, what are the benefits, and who is going to run it. If it is volunteers they are after it is going to be a big ask. Relatively easy to get volunteers for something tangible, broadband, public toilets, Filling station, but for a “concept ” of something that may be beneficial…..remain to be convinced. Sustainable tourism seems to be a newish buzz word and not really sure if it is sustainable as it is so reliant on such a big carbon footprint. Dougal turned up in Achnasheen getting a lift through with Alison, met up with a local spaniel who told him where to go,did a quick tour of the Station,


and came back with me.


Today was a wee dip into the past with a few connections along the way. Went to An Arcasaid to see my now very elderly mother,95 next time round in February, and have Christmas dinner with the residents.


I have to admit that I was mildly apprehensive but as it turned out there was absolutely no cause. It was a wonderful two hours or so and very engaging. Absolutely everything that my mum needs to live has to get done for her. It is hard to describe my feeling for the women looking after my mother without sounding smarmy but they are simply amazing. The way they care for her is special and genuine and quite simply they love her and look after her so well. Our value system is so so wrong when so many of these people are paid not much above minimum wage while administrators, legislators, money gamblers and movers and commission takers earn fortunes. I suppose it is the difference between value and price. looking at the staff they get an obvious value out of what they do. Chatting about this and that and always get the feeling that many people are so impressed with what is going on here on a community level.  Met Lorraine who has not long started there


and turns out I was in school with her and reminisced about former school companions/classmates. Love these dips into times gone by. The elderly folks were then entertained by some Portree pupils, some fiddle and some Cold Play, it did not seem to matter. When I arrived back home I saw the focus was about girls now ladies I had known in school and noticed my uncle Kenny got a mention in “Sandy” Macrae’s biography as the shinty mad chap from Balmacara House school. Yesterday I came across Kenny standing beside young shinty players, one of whom may be Sandy…how strange would that be. Going to have to investigate further. Noticed going through Lochcarron the yacht that was blown across the loch and ended up on the Attadale shore.


Not in the right place but safe from the next run of storms predicted on Landward tonight.

Yet another Funeral,the Pantomime and a Brioche.

As well as the beautiful mornings we had at the start of the week the sunsets were spectacular as well.


It is so beautiful when the sun goes down behind the Cullin at this time of year. There is a totally different kind of light on the Sound.


On Wednesday after a few jobs it was off to Balmacara to see off my aunt Eilidh who was my mum’s sister-in law and from Plockton herself. The weather was fairly unpleasant and after the internment it was off to the Plockton Inn where a small gathering of cousins met up. It is always good to catch up with relatives you have not seen for a few years and reminisce about growing up in Plockton, messing about on the water,playing football,cricket…yes we do that in the Highlands and going to church of course. As my granny’s house was the stopping off point for all the travelling FP ministers who preached at the communions held in the communities across the highlands. These communions were held annually and began on the thursday and went on till monday morning, with lots of time in church which was not the best appreciated by us young kids. Strong shinty influence from the Abriachan part of the family and had a reminisce about playing shinty in San Fransisco in 1980 and joking we were the fore- runners of the 4 teams that are over there now. Trail blazing again…. So not many left of that generation of our family, my mum and 2 aunts.

When you go out of Applecross word gets around and you do what is natural here, that is picking things up and dropping stuff off. Half a hind was loaded up to be dropped off in Lochcarron, then the phone rings so it was a stop of in Kishorn to drop off some money and to pick up picture frames. At Plockton Catherine came up to me at the hotel and asked if it was ok to take a couple of kegs af Plockton Bay ale back to the Inn. Really like this part of living here and some people who come to live here are always very grateful for these favours and want to pay you for them. They take a while to understand that it just goes around and you do not have to do a “favour” back but you do one for some else and it just goes round and keeps a community together. I know I owe so many people but if you keep it going it always comes back and it great and rewarding when it comes from an unexpected source.

Yesterday was time out with a visit to our primary school pantomime and to be frank the kids were brilliant. Obviously a lot of work went in to it against all circumstances of colds,flus and only one managed dress rehearsal. You would never have known. There was a big girl, called Marion who keeps repeating primary 7, She is the one wielding the axe.


The scenery and background work, lighting and sound were all great, one amusing aside was the official film crew took the wrong attachment to his tripod and the start of the opening scene was drowned out by the sound of packing tape being wrapped around the camera to try to keep it steady on its base.


The other major event of the day was the eagerly anticipated launch of the Coast Road Trucker’s first album, Rolling. Well the box of 150 CDs arrived as we were standing out the back of the Inn, so it was a fairly low-key event. On sale at Nanny’s today, I believe and it is good.The Inn in the evening was busy with the VT coming down for their Christmas dinner, a couple of residents and a trial run for tonight’s Brioche which was quite extra ordinary.Had some myself at the end of shift, unfortunate for Aron, as he had a piece booked if any was left over. But he was “content” to watch me eat mine. So many chefs,so many things to eat…what a place this is at the moment. So the solstice has passed as I write this and the days will begin to stretch out, always remember a neighbour who stayed beside us in Toscaig and every June 21st would comment “the nights are drawing in now”, a slightly gloomier way of looking at the world. Of all the politics and ups and downs over the past year was met with this attitude I would be in a spot of bother by now. Maybe its a just a part of growing older but when people who disagree with you personalise an argument you don’t take umbrage as much as you used to and as many people have said recently when some one goes down that path they have very little of import to say.

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