(Sunday evening) Lovely little connection this morning chatting to a couple. Picked up that their accent was very rural Aberdeenshire and the conversation involved talking about coming over the Hill, from Gairloch but you are not from Gairloch with an accent like that. No we are from Kirriemuir, and I said that was Sunset Song country and the reply was yes very close ands Lewis Grassic Gibbon was my wife’s uncle. That stopped me in my tracks. I have always regarded that trilogy along with The Silver Darlings and Butcher’s Broom by Niel Gunn as among my top choices of Scottish literature and to have a niece of a famous author speaking to me gave me quite a sensation. Strange really as I did not know her and it may be his fame thing. Chris and Lesley from Emmerdale have been here for the week and seemed to be very pleasant folk with a real interest in community and in particular what makes Applecross tick. The fact that they were from Emmerdale did not enhance their status but being a niece of Gibbon did in a strange sort of way. Possibly because I rated the trilogy so highly. Sunset Song, in particular took you to “the Mearns” and I remember feeling for Chris Guthrie when the gossip turned on her. “They said” is afire way to get at some one and still happens. The evening was completed by Dave and Jan’s neighbours in Oregon turning up. Dave and Jan are cousin’s of Alison and spent a couple of days with us last month. They were a little shocked by me telling them who I was and the world gets ever smaller. All in all it was a good day at the Inn with it steady rather than busy and lots of time to look after the customers and chat the evening away.
During my mid afternoon break I took the chance to nip home for Dougal and Eilidh and go up to the Penstock area to view the progress and could see lots of that in a week. The river is now dammed off
and concreting has started.
the pipe has been welded
and dragged up the hillside
while the first load of the turbine house base has arrived, looking very like Lego blocks.
The dogs are loving this job, but Dougal does come back absolutely filthy. back on shift and a fine evening it was, not the chaos of Saturday night but a lot quieter with all the rooms in early. A wee local drinking session meant that some of the rooms preferred the quiet of the dinning room. The beauty of the Inn is it caters for all. The evening sunset, coming earlier, was a fine one and several times we had to go out to call in diners who were taking snaps of the afterglow.
(Monday evening) The fishing today is always a bit of a struggle after a twelve-hour shift at the Inn but the morning was beautiful and the catch has dipped a bit. Only one foul up and the rudder problem again but quickly sorted before hauling the last fleet for some squat lobsters. The North wind came back again in the afternoon so just the seven fleets up before making my way in. After landing the langoustine, back to the house where we had a visit from Des and Donna from Oregon, a snooze and then out to catch the late evening light when I met Mick on his way down. Good to chat and moan about the hurdles in the renewable system and general politics. Going by what is happening over the last couple of years any one predicting the future is a brave person. Meant I did not have to start up the chainsaw again this evening.
Going back to our Trustees meeting and having a think about what was said there is very little to report. The main topic is affordable housing and it was said very plainly and pleasantly that we may be heading for a dearth of young people in the area, the planned departures, the housing already priced out of local wages, the services industry that needs to bring in outside employees,but has no place to put them, all contributing to an increased pressure on accommodation. Little offered but to look to crofters to alleviate the problem. I did ask the question why does affordable housing have to be tucked away into the crummiest little corners. These houses could be easily integrated with existing buildings. Several sites were mentioned but it felt like Groundhog day, with nothing specific. It is frustrating when it is suggested that the crofters give up their half of the development value of the site to make the site “affordable” if decision is taken to build on common grazings. The meeting was pleasant enough and communications are open but no progress in ten years is frustrating and I now get the strong impression that the Trustees are genuinely puzzled as they do not see housing as their problem in running the Trust. And it is not if you read the aims of the Trust but there is now a community development page on the website now so the PR does not match what is happening on the ground. After the meeting I remembered seeing a photo of the 1920/30s which showed the arrival of the servants coming up of the summer to look after the “Big House” and the seasonal inhabitants. I wonder if this may happen again as the resident population continues to age and decline in numbers. Photo and many others may be seen at the Applecross Heritage Centre.