Monday 21 Sept.09
Down the lace mine! That’s Margaret’s term for a lacemaking session! The weather really isn’t very great so we are all concentrating on our lace. Yesterday I went round everyone taking photos of their work and the complicated diagrams Joan, Sheila and Janet follow to make the beautiful patterns they are making.
This is Joan’s pattern
Sheila and Janet are working on this pattern. It’s so beautiful, intricate and impressive! I’d love the challenge of doing Binche lace, but I couldn’t cope with the amount of bobbins you need! I know you don’t work with all of them at one time but fastening and unfastening them in groups on the bobbin holders is a bit of a pain in the neck!!!
This is Norma
me – taken by Margaret.
It wasn’t a bad day yesterday, weatherwise, but today has been awful – wind and horizontal rain! At least Doune is the kind of place you don’t need to go far from if you don’t want to and today who’d want to?! We all stayed in the dining room with our lace pillows and chucked our bobbins around, being fed every so often…..
Breakfast is a cooked one for those who want it – bacon, sausage, fantastically fresh free range eggs from the Doune chickens (who graze on the seaweed as well as grass), fried mushrooms and home=grown tomatoes, sometimes fried bread, pancakes or fried potato slices. followed by toast, and a selection of jams, homemade of course., with maybe oatcakes, fruit bread or saffron buns as well. We are spoilt rotten! At 11.00 there is morning tea and cake or biscuits, then lunch follows at 1.00, halved homemade rolls with varying toppings, cake, fruit, tea…..
Afternoon tea follows at 3.00 p.m. – more cake and tea.
Then dinner at 7.30, such as I mentioned yesterday. Usually we pack up and leave the lace mine – see photo!) around 5.00p.m. and either go back to the lodge for a snooze or depending on the weather, to go for a bit of a walk! Doune was a large settlement scattered around the bay until the Clearances in the mid 1840s, so there are plenty of remains of cottages and evidence of enclosed fields, an old sheep fank and a corn mill, so there is plenty to explore. There is also a prehistoric fort, or Dun in Gaelic - that gives Doune its name – up on the headland beyond Doune Bay Lodge.
This year the tides have been very high – spring tides (I always thought spring tides were in spring and neep tides were in autumn, but other guests here explained them, so I know now that this is a spring tide).
The other guests we have shared our visit with this time are all in their 80s, and as fit a bunch you never saw! They hill walk, ski, sail….. all the things you need extra insurance for when booking holidays!!!
Above are Barbara and Bill, to the right are John and Rita.
Tuesday 22 September
Well, today is the day I leave everyone behind and head for home! The plan was that I would be leaving Doune at 9.00a.m. with Barbara, Bill, John and Rita, aboard Gripper II, but the stormy weather has put paid to that idea! It’s so stormy that to leave the pier now would be dangerous. I was supposed to be getting a train to Fort William at 10.10, connecting with a bus to Glasgow at 1.00. However, now we are onto plan B, aiming to leave at 10.30, we’ll have a choppy trip to Mallaig, getting there in time for me to catch a bus to Fort William, and another bus from there to Glasgow…… Actually the others have decided to walk up the hill, and go along in the Doune “bus” to Inverie where they will go in the ferry, saving themselves much of the rough ride! I can’t walk up the hill any more so I will brave the seas! So now everyone is sitting making lace and I am playing with my blog and the photos. Actually the sun is getting out again and we can see Skye across the water, though only the south end of the island as the Cuillin mountains we periodically see behind, are still mist-bound!
I have no internet access in the dining room here, so will wait till I get home – sometime tonight, to post this!
Friday 25 September 09
Well, I never did get this posted when I got home, so now I am writing from Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada, where I arrived yesterday. By British time it is now 3.00pm, but here we still have the day to come. It’s 7.20am! I’ll tell you about my journey in a bit but let me finish the Doune story first…..
As I finished writing from Doune Dining room aka the lace mine the other day Stephen the boatman came along to say we could get going. He was just about to go out in the RIB to bring Gripper into the pier and I was to meet him down there so we could just get away as soon as things were loaded – all the others’ luggage as well as my own bag. I said my goodbyes to the miners, and accompanied by Norma and Margaret as well as Jane and Liz, the Dounies, set off for the pier. The water was rough. It would be a bumpy ride. No matter! I don’t think I ever remember the tide so high at the pier, but this time it was just an easy step aboard Gripper, and we were off.
Well, not too bad here, but when we got right out into the Sound and unsheltered waters - Woah! It was the real thing out there! Rolling up and down and sideways, the waves came over the top of the boat from all sides, and we were fairly thrown about. Stephen was brilliant, obviously enjoying every moment! I have to say I really enjoyed it too but thought my shoulder would come out of its socket from hanging on to the rail. We finally made it to the safety of Mallaig Harbour – Well done Stephen! –and here’s Gripper tied up by the pier.
The rest of the journey home slotted in extremely well. The bus from Mallaig went round all the little coastal villages – this is the beach at Morar. It was beautiful all the way to Fort William, where I met my former landlady from 40 years ago when I was a student working in the Fort, who was going on the same bus as me to Glasgow. Haven’t seen Ishbel for years. It was amazing! The journey to Glasgow took us through Glencoe and past the historic Kingshouse Inn at the top end, on to Crianlarich where we turned off to Glasgow, and once there it was only a few minutes before the Edinburgh bus connection. The Edinburgh bus station has all changed in the last few years , and now the Peebles bus has a different departure point – a bit of a walk away - so I treated myself to a taxi journey to Waterloo Place, and picked up the bus for home – well, I got off at Norma’s place to pick up my car, after a welcome cup of tea with Malcolm her husband.
So there we are! I arrived home around 9.00 pm! A day to catch up on a few bits and pieces, last minute shopping, catching up with friends Morag and David, packing my case and on Wednesday night I was back on the bus for Edinburgh to spend the night – or part of it - at Linda’s before having to be at the airport at 4.30am for the next long journey to get here, in Canda! More of that in the next episode! Time for breakfast now, at teatime in the UK!
Talk again soon!