Thought it was going to be a gentle wee post tonight but the afternoon at the Inn changed all that. I enjoyed a couple of very fulfilling and busy shifts on Saturday evening and this lunch time. The most common comment today was “Is it summer?” This was mentioned by several people when they had to wait for tables and the weather was wonderful, warm southerlies, and lovely sunshine. As things quietened down I had some lunch and was having my staff drink, one scoop of milk chocolate and one of toffee apple ice cream when we all heard a horrendous crashing about out side. I looked out the window and it honestly felt surreal as I saw a little black car doing a high-speed U-turn in reverse on the road outside the Inn clipping one car and ending up piling into another. Turned out this was the finale of a lady heading home after lunch, reversing out of the car park, getting her foot caught up in the pedals, taking out four pub tables locking up her wheel and doing a wee bit of damage to three cars including her own. No one was hurt although I believe a bit of shock was kicking by late afternoon. Again the community “thing” kicks in and all the services are called, all the arrangements are made to get every one home and looked after and the damage is cleared up.
Obviously I know who was involved and asked if people if they thought it was alright to post and I was surprised that every one thought I had already taken photos. Maybe posting the unfortunate incident will mean there will be very little speculation about the accident and just accept it for what it was.
I was told about the tale of the missing trailer as all this was being sorted out. Seems a trailer was loaded up the previous evening with a generator, intention being to take to work the next morning. Anyway as it turned out it was parked on the Street ready for the off and was still there a bit later than planned, a phone call did not result in any progress in finding out why the trailer was still in Applecross. The Hill being blocked that morning our man’s van set off round the Coast road only to meet trailer owner coming back towards Applecross at a rate of knots with co workers heads out the windows looking for “missing trailer”, only to be told it was still parked on the Street. Seems trailer was not attached properly and it only move 10 feet before decoupling and was pushed back to its original stance by the next road user. It was n’t until passing Sallacher ten miles out of Applecross before trailer was reported not following van. Makes me feel slightly better about running out of diesel the other day.
Filling Station has been taking up a lot of time over the last week or so and we are still battling with data transfers trying to get the fuel bills out, getting there I think, system still crashing and lots of rebooting and even having to over ride the software to manually operate the pumps on occasion. Engineers up this last week and coming back to finally sort out our problems, although now we have lost so much faith in the system we will believe it when we see it. I am sure we will get there where ever that is. Managed to fit in a Community Company Meeting in to discuss job applications and responses and other matters, despite the chaos of the afternoon’s turn of events. And yes another call-out to the Filling Station but this time my fault in that the receipts roll had run out and as it is illegal to sell petrol with out one it was back up the road to change it over.
Friday saw me going back over to Shieldaig to have a much-needed massage and a good chat about low energy levels, a consistent theme at this time of year but as I have got older more apparent and I have decided to go for a vitamin D3 supplement to try to get things going and focus more on the stuff that should be done. On the way over the Hill I always stop, weather permitting at the little Highland spring which emerges only 3/4 metres above the road and is the best tasting water in Scotland.
At our last ALPS meeting on Tuesday we had a broad and open discussion on the future of ALPS and some discussion about the role of the Trust in the future of the community and I will have to find some time to respond with some thoughts. I only mention this as I came across a mate whose partner works in this area and we had a good chat about all the pros and cons surrounding different aspects of our future. Now the heat has died down sensible discussions can take place. It is interesting that without Land Action Scotland we would not be talking in this vein and I find it frustrating that sometimes you have to go through a fiery baptism of media attention and some personal rubbish just because you have views that are not held by the establishment. But more on this later. On one of my trips to the Filling Station I nipped up the road as earlier I had seen one of the newest arrivals in Applecross.
Where do I start? Phones, emails, twitter,Facebook,papers ,journalists, speculation, letters to the press,a community council meeting, oh and lots and lots of stress for those involved. Yesterday evening we held our monthly CC meeting and with 6 members of the public there we got through the business and almost the AOB before the LAS campaign, letters and petitions came up. All in all it was a very well-ordered,intelligent and at times humorous evening. The only pertinent point I felt I had to make was the way the LAS campaign was used to “have a go” at the Community Council and the Community Company and possibly ,at the risk of being slightly paranoid having a go at personalities within these democratically elected bodies that have done nothing but good over the last few years. Both bodies have had to crisis manage several situations recently and I think come through many of them intact. There have been many difficulties,many of which have been negotiated successfully and written about, like the medical services and the Filling Station, rubbish collections and now the withdrawal of the snowblower making the closure of the Bealach over long periods inevitable.. Our campaigns and activities have gained a lot of favourable reaction, mainly I have to say from out with the community ,some of whom look in with envy at our community resilience. This resilience has been tested from within by the much discredited “petitions”, letters and machinations of a few. Today I was asked to phone a paper to try to remove some one’s signature as he realised the import of what he had signed.Not that he had been told at the time. Some of the things told to people to encourage them to sign the “petition” I would be too embarrassed to repeat.
The fan was really smacked today when the Trust employed the PR firm MediaHouse to announce that they were, with regret, rejecting the applications to become members of the Trust. This,as usual, kicked off press interest and the phone started ringing to find a “balance” to the story. Because I know that there is a lot of disquiet in the community the responsiblity to say nothing divisive but at the same time getting a coherent and reasonable message across was immense. Those outside the community have made their opinions clear and most have been negative towards the actions of the Trust. Who knows how this is all going to pan out but I hope for the sake of the Trust and the community that the Trust do not go forward saying they have the support of the community on the strength of this “petition”. Just an opinion but a considered one. It is such a pity that one or two individuals are attacking the Company on a week that we have two press embargos on us for winning two big grants to further the success of this community alongside the Scottish Government picking us for upgrading our broadband. I was speaking yesterday to a composer who was planning a project with film maker next year desperately needing a decent connection. This is what I want to blog more about,positive,imaginative and innovative ideas that fit in with the spirituality of the place. I do not think that the Company needs a PR firm but can just point to what is being achieved in its name. I am always aware of the older members of this community and accept that they live a different life style but do not think these advances will alter their quiet existence in any way. Change or die has often been quoted to me and I think this can be achieved without disrupting the quietude and solitude of those that want it. The extremes of those that do not want tourists to visit maybe have to be challenged as unreasonable.
I went up to the Bay partly to get away from contact and ended todays walk with Dougal and family charging along the sand at the tide level chasing some very cheesed off oyster catchers,gulls and crows. Not a chance of getting near any of them but it was fun watching them to the extent I was laughing out loud and that was a moment when I was alive and the stramash in effect was meaningless in the extreme. Especially watching Dougal going at full tilt not knowing he was heading straight for the river and of course he disappears under the water. I wonder if the solution is to take all the protagonists out on to the Bay at low tide with the Dougal,his mum and granny and ask what are you all about? Have you all honestly thought what you really want and how that affects other members of the community. I like a naive fantasy every now and again. Despite all the politics that are going on the application to shift the wood from the Coal Shed pier is going ahead. The delay in awarding the contract has meant that it is a little rushed but an immense amount of work is being done with quotes,letters of support and grant applications being worked on with deadlines looming. This joint project between the Company and the Trust is aimed at reinstating a pier that was used to take in supplies of coal many years ago. The picture below has been kindly lent by the Heritage Centre and shows coal being unloaded by horse and cart from the beached puffer.
Thought crossed my mind as I was signing off. If I was not on the internet and did not have Facebook and did not have access to twitter, got account but never tweeted, would I be more or less informed. I think I would be more vulnerable to people with agendas and the tourists still ask “But what do you do for the winter up here?”