Local produce

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Thank you, Islay House Community Garden, for providing me with a weekly bounty of delicious veg. Living costs are something near astronomical here on Islay, with shop and/or supermarket options very limited. Not having a car, working outside any of the villages with said shops, with the closest shop to home being closed on either side of work, opportunities to actually buy any bloody food are few and far between.

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It comes as something of a revelation, then, to have the local community garden offer a service to deliver a weekly veg box, to my door, for the princely sum of £15. A lot of money on a tight-budget, but actually very competitively priced compared to, well, just about any shop on the island for equivalent amount of veg. I’ve been getting them for a wee while now and they have been, without exception, excellent.

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So, to the delivery man I have never yet met, thank you for accepting my poorly-scribbled notes, my last-minute demands every week, and the entirely inconsistent method of payment. Visitors to Islay, do go along and support this fantastic community venture when you’re here. Locals, I hope you are already.

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Summer Ending

The Other Walks; Birkerts

The air has changed. Autumn is creeping ever closer. The sun sets not long after 9pm and the rain is starting to make a reappearance, more regularly by the day. The wind is gusty and more determined; the plants all around looking tired and drawn. I arrived on Islay at the tail end of Autumn last year, and with Autumn making her presence felt, I’m reminded that my time here is beginning to draw to a close.

What Are You Looking At; Birkerts

When I’m ignoring the pressing issue of What To Do Next (well underway but really, a daunting task) I like to read. I go through fits and spurts in reading. Either I’ll be utterly addicted, every spare second with my nose in books, devouring every word in front of me, or I’ll be quiet, not reading or trying to and perhaps struggling to manage more than a few paragraphs a day. I’m in the midst of the former at the moment, happily. It does make me feel like something of a recluse, though, rejecting company to instead keep reading.

The Secret Race; Hamilton & Coyle

I live by the mantra my parents set out for me: “money spent on books is never money wasted”. To that end, I frequently don’t have much spare money, but do have an ever-increasing book pile.Doppler; Loe

Images: some books I’ve read and enjoyed recently.

Flùraichean – flowers

flùraicheanfloo-reech-en   Pronounce the -‘ch’ as if you were saying ‘loch’. Run the sounds together, gently does it; emphasis on the first syllable. There you are – that’s how you say ‘flowers’ in Gaelic.

Summer seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Granted, there was a spell over the weekend where it was cold and windy and everyone was back in their wooly jumpers, but for the most part the past few weeks have been glorious. Every inch of grassland has some kind of flower or jolly plant growing on it, sprung into life.

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Baby birds are appearing from their nests, waddling about warily. It’s lovely, really. Remind me of evenings like this, evenings where it’s calm, warm, relatively midge-free. It’s barely dark for anytime at all so midnight walks are perfectly acceptable; farmers nearby are out working their fields ’til all hours making the most of the good weather. It feels like a waste going to sleep when there’s so much daylight.

Boats on the loch

One of my favourite blogs has a semi-regular feature called Ships in the Sound, detailing recent sightings of various kind of vessel passing through the sound of Mull. I always really enjoy these. As is evidenced by this very blog, I love being on the coast and like seeing what’s doing on the water, wherever I am. To this end, I thought I’d share some boats that have been moored and passing by out on Loch Indaal. There’s not been a lot of activity for most of my time here, beyond the regular big tankers that serve a nearby distillery, but the good weather recently seems to have brought my wee section of the loch to life.

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A few nights ago I saw what looked like a long strip of disco lights on the horizon between the mouth of Loch Indaal the tip of Rathlin Island. A peek through the binoculars showed it to be this boat, fully lit up on her way to Portree. No photos unfortunately but take my word for it – massive!