Settling into Island Life..... Barra style! #EmbracetheCrazy

I don’t know whether it is because I have moved further west or maybe it is just because island life suits us but Barra is really beginning to feel like home. Is it wrong to say I am not missing anything about Ayrshire or the mainland? I talk to my parents, sister and weans on a regular basis and probably have more meaningful conversations than if I was back in Ayrshire and they are all planning visits next year so everyone seems happy. On the work front, Prancing Jack Productions continues to do well and new film commissions were agreed this week from business and individuals both on the mainland and here on Barra. More about that little gem later..

As we have no-one either living on the island or staying with us from the mainland it is all about getting out and about meeting up with Barra folks or generally passing the time of day with people we have got to know over the past FIVE months! On many of our walks or drive round the island we come across Cath and Bruce the local brid watchers who keep us up to date with which birds are on the island and which ones have just been spotted. Yesterday we walked to Bagh A Deas on Vatersay and met both of them with news that there is a Corn Bunting on the island. This bird was thought to be extinct on the Western Isles so another good news story for the twitchers! On this walk we spotted a pair of Golden Eagles as we headed to the beach……just another day on Barra.

Bagh a Deas with Jackson (Cath in the distance)

Bagh a Deas with Jackson (Cath in the distance)

So we’ve had another good breezy day here on the rock this week, with gusts nearly hitting the 80mph mark and there was a 43ft wave recorded off the shores too! Offt….. The house was a rocking as they say but to be honest the winds blowing up Queens Terrace in Ayr can be just as wild so we are feeling quite at home! The only difference is that you just are desperate to head out and see the waves and capture the light. This can be difficult as standing on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean is no mean feat and there’s the restraint of trying to be safety conscious too.

There’s one story I have to relay. On the evening of the storms whilst visiting the Co-op, we met one of the lovely Loganair ground staff in the store wearing her uniform and we were curious to ask why…….surely there was no flights in 70 pmh + winds?????

Her reply is legendary “TWO planes landed today, C’mon the Loganair” with a fist punch in the air!!! Flippin heck, glad I wasn’t on either of them……

This is the only weather I like to fly in.

Picture taken this summer of Loganair’s Twin Otter “Spirit of Eildh”

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Now many will know that we are beginning to look into our options for staying on the island and although we still have 7 more months left to stay in our lovely house in Castlebay we are always on the look out for a house that might be in need of renovation or some TLC. So whilst out walking along the The Birds of Prey walk which btw we never saw a single bird!!, we did spy this little compact and bijou cottage.

A little renovation work required…..

A little renovation work required…..

Maybe it was pushing Jackson’s DIY skills to the limit but there were some lovely views and as always I have my camera at the ready!

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What has been surprising is that even though it is now officially winter and the storms we have seen recently have proved it without a question of a doubt. We continue to find colours in the wildlife, flora and fauna. We spotted these flowers out and about this week and they just brighten up a rather grey and dull day.

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The last two mornings have seen both Jackson and myself heading out before breakfast to catch the soft light and yesterday took us to Bagh Siar which the reflections and colours once again didn’t disappoint. When you walk through these dunes it literally takes your breath away.

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Last night as the light was fading we decided to walk a short distance from the centre of Castlebay and head to Orasaigh. Now I cannot believe it has taken us 5 months to discover this gem of a walk which gives you a lovely view of Kisimul Castle and currently we have the honour of walking beside a wonderful small herd of Highland Castle. I took so many photographs by phone battery died on me!! Here’s the reason why, you’ve just gotta love them and I’ve giving no apologies for the cuteness overload for the next three pictures (pictures 2 & 3 taken by Jackson)

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The island is certainly heating up with festive activities and that includes the heat from the Xmas lights that are lighting up the dark nights…… Las Vegas/Barra style! The radio was playing when I filmed most of these clips so I’ve kept the sound track which kinda gets you in the mood!!

Of course this is the time for daft Christmas jumpers but we never packed any. Thankfully Lorraine told us to look in the loft for Xmas decorations so we picked out some lights and the odd strange stuffed animal which added to our similar collection. We just happened to also spot this jumper!!! So we borrowed it for the Christmas Jumper fundraiser event in Northbay Hall….

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So we are gradually getting to know more people on the island and in particular my lovely art teacher Cheryl. This week we were absolutely delighted to be commissioned to film her wedding next year on Barra, so quickly booked Emma’s flights over so that the full #TeamPJP will be deployed to film this occasion! Well chuffed….

Cheryl, bride to be and Eileen(well chuffed film director)

Cheryl, bride to be and Eileen(well chuffed film director)

Took the above photograph on Saturday afternoon at the local Christmas Fayre held in CAstlebay School, so I came away with a couple of Christmas cards, some Barra hand made soap, a bunny patch, a puffin coaster (photographed by Rosie) and a pot of blue hyacinths. All proceeds were going to Barra and Vatersay Youth Activities. It was so lovely look around and be able to recognise (and in some cases remember names) of loads of people supporting this event and it always great to be met by the youngsters of the Barra Pipes at the door!

Castlebay School Christmas Fayre

Castlebay School Christmas Fayre

More socialising last night took me out to Northbay Hall for our Zumba Christmas Party night, I cannot remember the last time I was out a Christmas do! Games, laughter and dancing (huge selection of music and even the odd Rod Stewart track…), we had loads of great banter and I recon a few sore heads this morning. Thanks Theresa for inviting me and it was great to meet your lovely Mum. As for Marie-Claire, well let’s say several conversations with this woman confirms the mantra “Life is too short, so let’s #EmbracetheCrazy ”.

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On the pet front, Thai has been under the weather today and wasn’t up for any walking or eating so she has been staying close to home on the couch with her blanket. We think it is the bits of pork her Daddy gave her yesterday that’s upset her stomach, omg it is stressful having a no well wee Jack Russell! Jackson captured this picture a couple of days ago which I love so here’s hoping she’s back to normal service soon!

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There’s is so much going on here on Barra, I’ve had to re-edit this Blog several times because I’ve forgotten about events etc which have taken place over the past week, total madness. You’ve just got to go with the flow and embrace the crazy.

My favourite picture of the week was taken last night on Vatersay. Me, My Dug and and my Camera phone (new phone coming as my current 5 year old phone battery is under stress with all the photographs I’m taking). Thanks everyone for reading and sharing xxx night night xx #BARRAGAPYEAR

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