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Thanks also to Mary of Mary's Mixes for doing all the work on the blog's heading. You are great, Mary!


Monday, 3 November 2014

Back in Doune

We really enjoy our visits to Doune.  As well as making lace we get out and about quite often.  It’s good after a morning, afternoon or whole day of lacemaking to have a leg stretch, up the hill, off to Inverie or Airor, or over to the Dun that gives Doune its name (left),P578 above the ruinsP529 the dun perhaps to see ruins of the old settlement from which the people were evicted in the 1850s to be replaced by sheep – what is referred to as the Clearances.  P569 Field system

The old field boundaries and field system are still obvious (left), P531 corn kilnas is the old grain kiln in the shadow of the large rock on the right of the photo on the right.  I took quite a long walk around various sites and up to the top of three small hills around about, more than I have been able to walk for several years.

Another day, Morag, Mike and I set of to walk uphill to the road, then along the road towards Inverie (IN ver EE) and down a track to Sandaig, another bay along the coast. P1090868 Unfortunately Morag developed a sore foot and decided to turn back, Mike going with her, so I continued  alone. P1090891P1090902

P1090903 The tide was way out when I reached the beach  in front of Sandaig House (left) so I decided to walk right down to the water’s edge.  It was interesting to see the worm casts of sand and little holes where marine creatures have buried into the wet sand when the tide was retreating. some had little “wicks” coming out of them.  I wasn’t going to dig down to see what they were!worm cast 2

Back at Doune later, I was amazed to learn that I had walked about 8 miles (including the walk to the water’s edge and back)!   and it hadn’t seemed like a hard slog!

During the second part of the week we had the company of a couple who went walking each day.  They would go with Gavin in Gripper to a point from where they could walk a good few miles to get back to Doune.  One day some of us went along on the boat for the ride! P1090698 It was the calmest day with a bit of a heat haze over the coastline as we chugged around the coast into Loch Hourn (Hoorn)  and up to Barrisdale where the two walkers had to clamber onto rocks and over to the shore where they started their walk. P1013148

Here’s Gavin returning to the boat after accompanying the couple ashore.

P1090721The views on the way back were stunning.  The haze had lifted, leaving the sky a brilliant blue for our return.

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in GripperWe even saw some porpoises leaping through the water, but otherwise there was no sightings of other wildlife at Doune, - well, apart from the split second view of a couple of stags on the hill above the road on the way to Sandaig.  Still, there were plenty of wild flowers to be found.  P1090546I was especially thrilled to find the tiny delicate Grass of Parnassus, left.   wild scabiousWild  blue scabiousbramble

brambles,            knapweed                 ,purple heather

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 waiting their turnAt Doune itself there were the usual wild birds who came to feast on the peanuts in the hanging feeders outside the stone lodge dining room.  Mostly chaffinches and sparrows, they queue up, waiting their turn to eat,(left) robin2while the robin sings from the roof top, waiting to pick up the pieces that drop to the verandah.the pier

Let me take you on a wee guided tour of the buildings, the people and pets of Doune, starting with a view of Gripper at the pier, and pets, Ron and Tally at the pier store..

pets

 

 

Below is a view of the White House and the boat housewhite house.

Martin and Jane live in the White House.white house

Along the path to the stone lodges, in the last few years, a new building emerged, tucked between the rocks.  To begin with it was very raw and new looking but has now matured and “grown into” the landscape. P1090800 This is “RANZO”, (right)  home of Mary and Alan, who originally renovated the White House and built the lodges.

doune stone lodgesPassing in front of Ranzo we see the stone lodges ahead with Jamie’s house on the hill above.  Jamie, one of Alan’s and Mary’s two sons, was just a teenager when the family first spied Doune from the sea as they cruised down the coast, and is now married to Penny, who came to spend the summer working at Doune dining room some years ago..  liz's houseAlso up on the hillside but to the left is Liz’s and Andy’s house.  Liz is the lacemaker who came up with the idea of a lace week, about 20 years ago.

 P443 doune bay lodgeThen around the bay by the rocky path is the wooden lodge, where most of us stay.  It’s very comfortable, with individual bedrrooms, and a restful lounge,bedroom

loungeroom

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and a beach all of our own!  Margaret went swimming out there, but although I waded out so far, I couldn’t quite bring myself to get right under the water.  It was ……. cold!!!      Those are sea setting offurchins  and a scallop shell on the verandah rail!  Don’t know who put  them together like this!

A week at Doune always goes far too quickly.  We arrive on a Saturday with a whole week stretching in front of us, Then suddenly it’s Wednesday, and the week just flies twice as fast from then on till Saturday is with us again and we are on our way home.  Goodbye Doune till next year.

Talk again soon.,

Sunday, 26 October 2014

First trip with Minnie

Who’s Minnie?  Well, Minnie is a campervan I just bought!  Have you always wanted one? So many of my friends are admitting to, now!  Well I’ve often had the notion, but recently, after a summer where I didn’t really go anywhere, except for my week in Doune, I decided to think seriously about the idea!  I looked at various websites, looked up Scottish sellers (easier to buy from, as to travel a great distance to collect seemed a bit daft), and eventually found one that I really liked the look of!  Good age and mileage, nice layout and a make that friends definitely recommended.  Off went my email to the seller to say I was interested and could I have a look at it.  Back came the reply with a phone number to call, and that very afternoon I took myself off to Fife to take a look.

The van was great, and on the advice of a campervan owning friend, I decided to offer for it!  Offer accepted, we shook hands on the deal.  The seller was delightful, and made every effort to make sure everything was perfect for my taking it over, so a couple of weeks later, on Monday there, I returned to Fife – by bus this time – to collect and drive Minnie home to Peebles.  It was my idea to call her Minnie!  All my cars have had names, from Daisy and Susie, my very first Austins, through the Minis -  Dougal, Charlie, Ivy  and Bil  - yes one L.  It’s Swedish for car – to my mother’s Mitsubishi Metal Mickey, and the rest – Peugeots Betty and Belinda, to Smudge then Sukie who I still  have for now– just in case Minnie and I don’t make it together!!

So yesterday, after a very busy few days, and in need of some relaxation, I set off with Minnie to collect my friend Morag, for a trip to St Mary’s Loch, not so very far away, where we would have lunch.  It was a lovely day with blue sky and puffy white clouds as we drove down the country roads, through bright autumn coloured beech woodland, to reach the loch. tibbie shiels inn The sun was glinting on the white painted historic inn, Tibbie Shiels, named for the 18th century widow who began it, and nearby, yachts and sails shone at the marina.  at glen cafeWe parked up on a piece of land beside the Loch o’ the Lowes, once part of the glacial St Mary’s loch but separated now by millennia of alluvial debris washed down from the burns flowing from the hills on either side of the valley into the loch, eventually cutting it in two.  alan ingramTibbie’s is built on the isthmus – wow, there’s a word – but the parking area is alongside the smaller loch – quite choppy yesterday with the blustery wind that had risen as we arrived.

The above three photos are not my own.  I thank the photographers for the use of them.

loch o the lowes

It was pretty cold too, but the sun was shining its rays through the clouds over the loch and hills.Mo and Minnie

 

However, inside the van we enjoyed our ham and chicken salad, followed by chocolate brownies and yoghurt, and eventually a cup of tea, once I discovered which knobs to use to turn on the gas bottle and the cooker!  me and minnie3

We braved the cold so Mo could take another photo of me me and minniewith Minnie before we set off home again.

It had certainly been very relaxing just sitting in the van, being rocked by the wind, watching the waves and the weather as it passed over changing from sun to rain and back!  Heading home the sun was behind us so better for taking photos.  Unfortunately the autumn colours didn’t come out terribly bright.  I think I used a wrong setting on my camera!  st mary's loch

This one is looking over to St Mary’s Loch from where we were parked, while the next one gives a glimpse of Tibbie’s amongst the trees.tibbie shiels

I think the best photo I took of the autumn colours was this one, looking through from the road to St Mary’s Lochst mary's, but it isn’t a patch on the true colour! 

We are having a wonderful autumn for colour this year.  Shame I didn’t capture it this time!

 

So on the way back, the sun came out again and once again we got the blue sky and puffy clouds.  gordon armsThis is looking down the Yarrow valley to the Gordon Arms Inn, where the road turns off towards Peebles again, paddy slack view2and further on this is the view from the road called the Paddy Slack to Lee Pen, the hill overlooking Innerleithen in Tweeddale.  The Paddy Slack took its name from the French, Pas du lac, the road to the lake (or loch in Scotland,) having been constructed by French prisoners of the Napoleonic war who were billeted in Tweeddale. traquair mill lee pen

Almost at the bottom of the road there’s another lovely view of Lee Pen with Traquair Mill in the foreground, and here today I will end my trip – only a few miles to go to Peebles.

Next time I’ll continue my story of the Knoydart visit which I started last time.  Time may be easier to come by in the next wee while, as up till now things have been manic, with an urgent visit to the eye clinic included because my doctor thought the grey curtain I was seeing over half of my left eye, and the flashing lights I had been experiencing could be a retina problem.  Glad to say that after examination by the eye consultant I can report there is nothing wrong and that he thinks I just had an ocular migraine!  Of course I have been warned that if it happens again I go straight to my doctor!  Fingers crossed for no recurrence! 

Talk again soon.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Doune again

Hey!  Sorry I have been MIA yet again!  My sister is prodding me.  She's fed up logging in to the same page all the time, so time to do something about it.  Things just fill up my days.....

OK, let's see what I can write about today.  I have lots of photos of things that have been happening, and probably the best thing is my recent visit back to Doune  in Knoydart for the annual lacemaking week!  Yes, that time again!

0005 Gripper.and.GavinWe gathered once again at Mallaig one Saturday afternoon in September; were met  by Gavin, the boatman, and taken over Loch Nevis,in the boat Gripper II and round the coast of Knoydart to a very misty and dark looking Doune.

Always good to be back again, and almost immediately cares and worries seem to melt away, and it’s all peace and tranquility for a whole week.  P512 the lodgeWe all got settled in our respective accommodation: some of us in the wooden lodge in its own little bay round the headland a little, doune stone lodgesand others in the stone lodge rooms right next to the dining room where we, obviously, have our meals, and also make our lace.  P1090768We had time to relax in the lodge sitting room before dinner, and just enjoy being back.  As always, dinner was wonderful and we were to find ourselves being used as guinea pigs for some new recipes!  P1090673Everything that is cooked in the Doune kitchen is so good, that there are never any worries about things not working out!  It was dark by the time we headed back along the path to bed but we are all used to that and are kitted out with torches, as it isn’t just dark, it is  black dark!  The only lights are little pin pricks from the scattered houses P538 Sabhal Morand the Gaelic college across the water on the south end of the Isle of Skye.  Little did I know that three of my friends had individually booked into the college on Gaelic courses!

Next morning we were all ready to start lacemaking.   Out came the pillows, the solid type of cushion things that the lace is made on, the bobbins, threads and pins, and we were off!  Here are some of the lovely things being worked on this year.P397 Joan's lace

P398 Sheila's Lace

 

 

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Joan and Sheila work on beautifully fine Continental lace – I think this is of the type called Binche (French pronunciation where the IN is a bit of a combination of IN and UN with a nasal N!).  Margaret was working a piece of English lace called Buckinghamshire Point lace (Bucks, for short) and norma's bookmarkNorma was finishing off a bookmark norma's leafbefore starting on a piece of free(hand) lace in the form of a leaf.  I spent a bit of time contemplating how to work a piece of lace I had found in a picture.  I’ll show you a bit of the picture detail but can’t show you the whole thing as it is going to be a present – a surprise one!  That’s it below!P1090842

 

P1090664Liz, our lovely hostess, was working on a Honiton flower and finished it off this week.  Here it is before she took all the pins out and took it off her pillow.

P1013228Morag was sewing – beautiful panels of pre-printed (by herself) cotton.  This one was inspired by The Book of Nothing that her husband Michael was reading, and here’s another printed sheet below!P1090425

P401 Felted for Marge by MoragP403 Morag's fuchsiasShe made the felted spectacle case, (above) beforehand to give to Marge, via Margaret, and also brought the beautiful fuchsias to show us.

P1013188Lisbet was our “artist in residence” for the week, quite often to be found sitting sketching – us or the outdoors!  She drew a few with me in them so I’ll be vain and show them off!P1090505

We had a lovely American family there for the first half of the week and one day I gave the Mom, Ellie, a lesson in lacemaking, not realising that Liz was quietly sketching us.  Here’s the finished picture!

P499jelly fishThe family were lovely, and the two little boys very well behaved, but just like all little boys ready for some fun, down among the rocks looking for sea anemones, shells, crabs, and jelly fish!  One day Morag and I walked up the hill to the only section of road in Knoydart and were in time to take a ride down to Inverie with Gavin in the Doune minibus where he was collecting the family. P476 view up loch nevis We enjoyed the beautiful views along the routeP479 view to Inverie and had a quick glimpse of Inverie village before everyone piled into the bus for the return journey.P480 Inverie 

 

 

P468 doon here At the top of the track back down to Doune is a sign -  a play on words.  Doune is pronounced Doon, which is also the Scots word for Down, so you have Down here to Doune!

P1090486The boys were off down the path through the grass and hummocks of heather like the proverbial shot from a gun, and were happily playing in among the stones on the beach when we got back!  P1090638It was a shame we had to say goodbye to them on Tuesday.

I’ll stop just now and write some more next time.  You shouldn’t have to wait too long for that!

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