Ciamar a tha thu? 'S toil leam Bharraigh ach tha i trang!

Yip I’ve started my Gaelic classes!!

So you move to Barra for a year and think, great it will be time for contemplation and unwinding! We get to the end of October thinking it is time to hunker down and sit quietly drinking the odd wee glass of wine by the wood burner…….yea right!! The temperature may be cooling down but let me tell you the island life is certainly heating up. I’ll get back to that later.

Firstly it may be cold but we have had some truly beautiful days so there’s definitely no excuse for not getting out and about round the island.

Crannag Cottage at Eoligarry

Crannag Cottage at Eoligarry

Great to have the company of Irene & Archie for five weeks and they are staying Gerry’s lovely Crannag cottage overlooking the bay that transforms into our airport runway when the tide goes out! Irene has already started her paintings and is thoroughly enjoying her #Barrartventure

Room with a view!

Room with a view!

Irene, Archie, Thai and Jackson

Irene, Archie, Thai and Jackson

From blue skies to grey, from hail stones to rainbows, we’ve seen it all this week!

Bach a Deas, Vatersay

Bach a Deas, Vatersay

I know I haven’t mentioned my stone collecting recently but the obsession hasn’t gone away, and last week saw some unusual colours and shapes joining the collection!

The stone and shell obsession…..

The stone and shell obsession…..

So we’ve had Halloween and that of course means pumpkin carving and Jackson was overly keen to get his done that by the time he presented to the competition table 4 days later it was starting to look a bit sorry for itself! Here’s a happy man about to start and the pumpkin newly carved.


And was great fun to see so many young people out guising on 31st and in the Buth Bharraigh dooking fir apples! We had witches ear wax (treacle tablet) and brew (hot green drink, no idea what was in it, didn’t ask!!)


Plus of course the crazy women from my Zumba class were joning in the madness, it gets hot a sweaty dancing in a witch’s mask! Love the tutu Theresa….


Thai has been enjoying the drier days out on the hills and we have to keep remembering that she is twelve years old! (62 years old in human terms - JR dogs x 5 years apparently) She runs back and forward from watching Irene painting, to standing beside the boys discussing the wildlife and finding me lurking in the sand dunes taking photographs!

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This one was taken, lying down across the rock but it works…….heather impersonating a tree!

This one was taken, lying down across the rock but it works…….heather impersonating a tree!

Now WILDLIFE photography….. Frater style!

FAIL One: , so what do you do when you see an otter running across the hillside right in front of you? Of course you gaze in amazement, maybe even hear Irene gives out a wee scream, do we lift our expensive DSLR camera and capture an image to prove to you we saw it? no, no, not a chance. Do we mutter all the way back to the car about the fact we didn’t lift our cameras, yes yes yes mutter yeS!

FAIL Two: So when driving along the bay at Vatersay do you lift you camera to record the seal arching out of the water like a dolphin right in front of you? No you fumble to get the car window down and of course drop your mobile phone on the floor!!

So the best kind of wildlife photography we are obviously only capable of is:

Slow moving or stationery wildlife, like this wee hairy caterpillar:


Or the starlings in our garden:

Starlings at war!

Starlings at war!

So apologies, we will try to do better capturing the otters and seals next time. A bit like my report card for my Gaelic classes, “Eileen tries hard but could do better” oooofft it is hard language to grasp. There are five of us in the class so no hiding in the back row, twice a week for 90 minutes, it is intense but really very funny! Fortunately after my class on Thursday I nip home for a bite to eat and then back out to chill at the pottery class. Check out some of the handy work already from my classmates!


As I mentioned in the title (translation - “I love/like Barra but it is busy"), there’s so much going on from dance classes to pottery, from youth club to crochet, from Gaelic classes to badminton (yes Jackson has started the social badminton night and couldn’t walk for two days after. He loved it and I’m sure he’ll be back on Tuesday!!!). We had a really lovely night filming at the Fiday night Youth Cafe where Sarah was getting them all to make amazing Calzones. Jackson my cameraman was much more interested in working with dough than helping me with the cameras!

Sarah in action!

Sarah in action!

Finally you will be glad to know that Thai’s jacket has arrived although we haven’t had a chance to try it out but she looks good posing at the window on top of the radiator!


She has also taken to sitting at the dining table and it is just at the right height for her to rest her head! She is a daft wee dug!


Finally once again we have had a week of beautiful rainbows and cloud formations so here’s couple of my favourite pictures from the week! Thanks everyone for your kind comments about my BLOG, it is great to see so many people from all over the world reading my Barra ramblings! Slainte Mhath!

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An editorial update, our Dougie the Goat is not a goat it is a sheep, and he is a she…..A Zwartble Ewe called Hope!

Should have gone to Specsavers……

Eileen Frater