Comings and Goings - February 2019

February has certainly has been the month for comings and goings. Over the past few weeks the island community has lost dear friends, relatives and their well loved Canon Angus (Barra parish priest for over 20 years) and their loss has been felt right across the breadth of the island and beyond.

Life is so precious and with every moment we spend on Barra we continue to count our blessings. We are so lucky to enjoy every blustery day, every crashing wave, every beautiful rainbow and every cup of tea shared with our friends on this island.

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but there was also new arrivals on the island and Jackson managed to capture this newly born wee calf, isn’t she a proud Mum. No gas and air for pain relief needed here…….

Mum and baby doing well….

Mum and baby doing well….

We have now booked our ferry to head back to Ayrshire on 6th March to help our son Adam move into his first new home in Kilmarnock. This is definitely going to be the empty nest syndrome because no sooner are we getting him moved out, we are literally going to empty the nest!! Hand the keys into the estate agent and begin the house searching on Barra in ernest…..

Vatersay Bay at its finest

Vatersay Bay at its finest

We have been informed of the potential of a few houses coming on the market and we are really excited to start looking at each of them as they come onto the market (or not!). Sometimes many houses are just sold prviately and will never reach an estate agent’s window and we are hopeful that people will be looking out for us. Fingers crossed….

I’m settling into my new role as relief special carer and have loved all my days at the Garadh a Bhagha a Tuath (Northbay Gardens) planting out and seeding for this year’s cash crops. I have completed loads of training already for the role, both in workshops and on the council’s LearnPro online training. However online training only works when you can get online!! This weekend saw a complete outage of our internet service across Vatersay, Barra, Eriskay and some of South Uist and we eventually got back online on Monday. So what’s wrong with a few days off grid at the weekend, well firstly you can’t use your cards to buy food at the Coop and you can’t use your card to get cash out of the bank to buy goods etc. ooofftt….

Fortunately I had completed my film for the Sunday deadline for Scotland’s Urban Past on Friday so the files went sucessfully to the client in plenty of time. Note to self: remember to bring forward all deadlines by a couple of days in the future!

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We’ve also had a fair few blustery days which meant the ferry was cancelled for several days which is actually normal for this time of year but our Isle of Lewis was also in dry dock for her annual maintenance so the smaller Hebridean Isles was her replacement. To make matters worse the Isle of Lewis was no sooner out of dry dock when she was out of commission and didn’t return to Castlebay on the day of the scheduled switch over at Oban. So I honestly have no idea what is going on with the current sailing schedule but she did arrive at 00:15 via Lochboisdale this morning.

It was really fortunate that a couple of weeks ago, for both Thai and I, the sailings to Eriskay were running because we had a trip to the vet. The nearest one to Barra is on the Isle of Benbecula which is an 84 mile round trip with a ferry crossing in between…

No welll wee dug!

No welll wee dug!

When over on Eriskay/South Uist it is always lovely to nip out to see the wild Erisaky ponies to cheer you up when you’re not feeling well. Although I don’t think Thai was particularly impressed..

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Or for that matter the ponies weren’t that bothered with us, only a quick glance back as we drove away.

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The views on Eriskay/South Uist are stunning and it will not be long before Jackson will be heading over when the fishing season starts in April. I think I’m going to be home alone again soon…..

Views out towards the lightly dusted snow capped hills……

Views out towards the lightly dusted snow capped hills……

It seems that Thai might have had an infection which made her miserable, off her food and just totally out of sorts. So the lovely vet gave her an anti inflammatory injection and a course of anti-botics and we were reassured that all was well with this wee dog’s world.

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We walked along the beach at the ferry terminal before heading back in the late afternoon to watch the sun going down as we sailed into Ardmhor. It was good to be home.

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You will be glad to note that Thai is back to her old self and to prove it….

So the comings and going have been my friend Irene who popped over to join us for Lesley' Riddoch’s film screening of Nation: Norway & Faroes and sadly because of the weather the ferry was cancelled from Eriskay so we have postponed this event to 23rd March. Let’s hope for better weather then as Lesley will be attempting to arrive by plane!

The weather today, Tuesday, was relatively clear and we had a whistle stop afternoon visit from my friend Linda Hill (past president of Ayrshire Business Women and owner of LAH Travel) along with some of her travel/tourism friends. This was their first visit to Barra and I’m certain it will not be their last!

A quick stop at Cleat!

A quick stop at Cleat!

The week Irene was here wasn’t hindered by the weather so we got out and about whenever we caught a glimpse of blue skies. Jackson joined us on our walks after he returned back from the mainland. He had been filming two different projects - Parkour and Whole Class Strings - for East Ayrshire Council.

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Beach Combing for stuff!

Beach Combing for stuff!

What has been lovely to see in February, is the snow on top of the hills here on Barra. A very unusually cold spell brought in by winds from the North, meant that we have slightly different scenes to photograph.

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Irene did get almost caught up on a rogue wave, which had me in stiches……thank goodness for wellies. It will not be long until you are back on the island and we will have longer days to go our walks. Archie of cousre will be joining Jackson on fishing trips to South Uist!

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To finish off this blog, on Sunday Jackson and I headed out for a wee walk when the weather cleared up and we were delighted to have the opportunity to watch about between 30 to 40 seals playing as the tide came in at Seal Bay. They are really curious creatures and continue to make us laugh and smile in equal measures.

So as I mentioned at the beginning it is all about savouring every precious moment with friends, your partner and of course the Jack Russell. Here’s a few of my favourite pictures from the last three weeks - rainbows, waves, beaches and snow #Barragapyear ….enjoy!

Eoligarry

Eoligarry

Commute to work

Commute to work

Oyster Beds

Oyster Beds

Finds from the beaches…..

Finds from the beaches…..

Crashing Waves

Crashing Waves

Shape shifting Sands

Shape shifting Sands

Sandpipers

Sandpipers

Oyster Catchers

Oyster Catchers

and another favourite photograph taken by Jackson!

Oyster Catchers in Flight

Oyster Catchers in Flight

One happy Barra woman

One happy Barra woman

Eileen Frater