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Wild flowers by my garden gate (June)

I have spent the whole month keeping a photographic blog of all the wild flowers I’ve noticed growing on the green lane by my gate.

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Peat cutting at winters end

Winters can be very long here on the isle of Lewis, they are not always frosty and snow covered but can be very wet and wild. Our first couple of winters here on the island sure have been.  We soon learned that the high winds would carry off anything that wasn’t tied down, from planters to our old yellow fibreglass kayak, which usually takes  two of us to lift, that sailed two fields over and was surrounded by curious sheep when we spotted it the next morning.  Each spring is eagerly watched for, first the willows will start to bud, then the primroses begin to bloom, but the sure sign that spring has come at last; comes with the cuckoo, its calls throughout the glen herald the calmer weather. People start to appear, folks you might not have seen since New Year are out and about in their gardens or checking on their sheep, awaiting the first lambs.  The days start to get a little longer; it’s no longer dark by 4pm and its then that my mind turns to the coming task of digging the peats.

We were given a peat bank the first year we moved out here. A neighbour took us out onto the moor and pointed out a low heather covered hummock, half cut away to reveal the black crusty peat beneath. It looked just like all the other peat banks, there were dozens of them up on the high moors, but this one was special, this one was ours, this one could keep our house warm all winter, heat our water and provide cooking fuel in the ancient kitchen range which was the heart of our home. Now all we had to do was come up here, cut and dry the peat then haul it home and stack it ready for winter use! Everyone warned me how hard it would be, how my back would hut, how the midges would bite, how it wasn’t worth the effort. They shuck their heads when I went up evening after evening after evening with my spade and cut and stacked the peat, what they didn’t know was how much I looked forward to it. You see I come from a busy town in England where finding a quiet corner with just minimal noise and people can be difficult, so a whole moor to my self was wonderful, beautiful, sheer heaven! Although it was not silent, far from it, at first all I could hear was my own huffing and puffing as I staggered about in the mud, but after a while other sounds crept into my consciousness. The high ‘peeping’ song of the golden plover nesting on the moors caught my attention first, I spent ages trying decipher which direction the plaintive sounds were coming from; then I noticed that when a raven flew over head making honking sounds as it went you could hear its wing beats, yes that’s how quiet it was. The funniest sounds where the squeaks of the sheep pulling up and eating the reeds which grew in tussocks, they’d bury their heads in the reeds, chomp on the bases and pull, their teeth squeaking on the tough shiny green stalks as they tried to up root them. But my favourite sound, the one that kept me on the moor and stopped my in my tracked was the skylarks. I cant begin to describe their song to you, it truly is only something you can experience for your selves, all I know is that for some digging the peats really is about the hard work, but for me the digging is just a reason to get me up onto the moors so that I can stand and listen.

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Midges on Sunday

It’s finally stopped raining, the grass is almost knee high, but it’s Sunday, so no grass cutting today. Living here in the Western Isles, Sunday is a day for resting, reflecting and definitely not noisy striming ones grass. And in any case the midges are biting and the wild flowers growing in drifts throughout the plot of land look wonderful

Jjust a few photos of what’s growing here at the moment all being watched over by Olli the cat. If the wind would only pick up a little here I’d go for a walk in this wonderful sunshine, but you can’t have everything!

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Learning how to remember how to walk

This is the post excerpt.

  • Where do I start? I used to walk everywhere, it was just the way I got around. I’d walk the 7 miles to school each day, mainly because I couldn’t afford the train fare and no one at home was about to give it to me so if I wanted to get to school I either hitched a ride or had to walk, I wasn’t good at hitching so I walked a lot. We lived in a small village just outside the Lake District national park, and the closest secondary school was in the main town a train stop away. I didn’t have a bicycle, so I walked most days. I look back on that time now and can’t begin to imagine walking 14 miles each day and then all the walking from classroom to classroom and doing gym and field hockey too. No wonder I’m so tired all the time these days! 

Rainbow remembrance

Look for me in Rainbows
Time for me to go now, I won’t say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, way up in the sky.
In the morning sunrise when all the world is new,
Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you. Time for me to leave you, I won’t say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, high up in the sky.
In the evening sunset, when all the world is through, Just look for me and love me, and I’ll be close to you.
It won’t be forever, the day will come and then
My loving arms will hold you, when we meet again. Time for us to part now, we won’t say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, shining in the sky.
Every waking moment, and all your whole life through Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you. Just wish me to be near you,
And I’ll be there with you.

This is the anonymous poem we used at my mums funeral, so now both my sister and I keep taking photos of rainbows and posting the photos to each other.

A walk around the garden.

I’ve not done too much this past week, I can hardly believe it’s been a whole week since mum died, we’re heading south for her funeral in a couple of days time.

I’ve been trying to keep busy here at home, and as today it wasn’t raining or blowing a Gale I thought I’d go out into our garden and see what’s still blooming!

flowers from my mums garden – rest in peace mum.

I took these photos with my phone when I went to visit my mum on her birthday last month, she had a stroke last year and had not been in good health since. I’d planed to go and see her earlier in the year at Easter but with all the travel restrictions we couldn’t go! I’m so glad we managed to go and see her. Sadly she died last Saturday, I’d taken the photos of her plants in her garden as sadly she couldn’t walk that far to go and see them herself.

I’m really going to miss her.

all fogged in.

The weather here has started to change, its getting colder and the wind has changed direction from east to west. The air has a sharpness to it, and if we get a warmer day, like we did on Friday this week, it’s followed by a really heavy sea fog the next day. Yesterday the fog didn’t really lift at all. The fog horn in town sounded for the whole morning and although the sum was out creating a hazy luminous light you couldn’t see the sky at all. You almost felt as though you were in it, being a part of it, as fragments of cloud blew visibly past you. Everything sounded both close by and yet miles away echoing through the fog.