Tuesday, 8 November 2011

garden continues to grow

The garden continues to grow even though the growing season is coming to an end. The framework of the garden is well established even though it is taking time to implement. Innes our neighbour has done a wonderful job of putting up fences to frame the garden and the washing area. He is now working on creating different levels in the garden for us.

view from rowan cottage
Amanda and I recently visited and managed to gravel the washing area and we were able to do this in the wonderful November weather and take in the views as we did it.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

oars well thats ends well

the gig oar makes it to Islay.
 The gig oar used by friend Toby in gig races off St.Martins makes its way to Islay. The old oar had been resting behind the seven stones pub on St.Martins when it was spotted as a potential name plate for Rowan Cottage. Toby sawed the end of the oar and it was transported to the mainland by the helicopter to Penzance, then it continued its journey on the new ferry the Finlaggan to its final resting place on the gate of Rowan Cottage.

In the same trip we managed to paint the shed, now looking quite coastal and adorned by oyster shells.

Monday, 25 April 2011

the green green grass of home

can you tell the difference!  Well yes you will be able to but you can do all the things on artifical turf that you can do on the real stuff. As you can see it is being thoroughly tested by the "kids" but a big thank you to Frank and Chris who made a momentous journey to lay the lawn and edge the pond. They did a great job.


                                                                                        the pond is now ready for planting up in  June    but there are already tadpoles, water boatmen and
whirlygig beetles bringing life to the pond.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Here come the girls ...

what a hairy landing .... 4 times around the block and eventually touch down. So a stiff drink was called for. Then an action packed two days included wildlife spotting - lots of seals pups at Portnahaven and Ardbeg, (do try the clooty dumpling at Ardbeg - to die for) and lots of red deer on the road to claggan bay. Well Deb and Chris couldnt resist dipping their toes in the Atlantic, whilst Claire and I observed from a safe distance, then another stiff drink was called for to warm up. And then time for something completley different  scottish country dancing, well what a laught, we were made to feel so welcome and Deb got the gold star for being able to follow the moves another stiff drink was called for to cool down. 
We managed to stretch our legs before a spot of DIY,  up goes the house name, even though we couldn't get the "stud" detector working! The shelves in the oven were sorted, and a picnic table negotiated. the flight out was much easier or at least for some of us .... the culprit knows what I am talking about.

Back up tomorrow to see the lawn that Frank and Christopher have layed and the pond that they have edged, I'll keep you posted....                                                                          

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Snow on the Paps

Arriving at Port Askaig full of another Cal Mac breakfast, the Paps were wonderously white, but there was more weather to come!

Operation "tree plant" was our battle plan, but the biggest enemy was wind and rain (and possibly trench foot!). This was no time and place for light weight infantry,we needed reinforcements. Bring on Martin, the digger man.

He made light work of a fifth raised bed, moving wet earth and digging lots and lots of holes.

Glenegadale "forest" gets a few trees nearer, Rowan trees line the drive and now onto operation pebble beach. 

Friday, 25 February 2011

first signs of Spring at Rowan Cottage

back on Islay, for some peace and quiet. I couldn't wait to check our newly planted hedge for signs of life. Sure enough all were in bud and waiting to burst forth. A future generation of wind breakers. Then off to inspect the many bulbs we had planted in December. The snowdrops are looking fresh and adding some colour to a winter landscape. Lots of other green shoots and more colour to come.

A couple of appointments with local "stone man" and landscape designer, some great ideas and more visions for the garden. A bee friendly fuschia hedge, pebble beach to the pond, Boulder area with special grasses & alpines and a 'one more raised bed for flower lovers.

Some local wildlife has taken up residence by the pond. Fresh dug sandy soil shows we have our very first 'Rowan Rabbit' !

Down at the village hall the local scottish country dancers are practicing for the 29th annual Scottish country dancing weekend at the end of April . They welcomed me and some French visitors into their midst to help us fathom the intricasies of "Mrs Stewart's Jig" and "St Andrew's Gardens". They were very patient, but I managed to get tied up in knots.  To see the ceilidh programme check out the royal scottish country dance society website, or visit the local classes on Islay where there is sure to be a warm welcome.

We'll be back in Spring.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Visit Colonsay Festival of Spring
Visit the festival of Spring on colonsay running for three weeks in May. visit the website for more information http://www.colonsayestate.co.uk/ 

We love to visit the garden and the kids "go ape"  in the magnificent Cupressus macrocarpa.
You can visit Colonsay on the day return ferry which travels to the island every Wednesday from Islay in the Summer.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

burns night


we hope you have had a great burns night. This is how we celebrated ours south of the border.

First find your pub with a burns minded landlord (http://www.thestarinn-eccleshall.co.uk/) and a bonny tartan clad landlady.
second - loosen up with some early drinks
step three - let the ceremony begin.
step forward master of ceremonies - Phil, who hits us with Rabbies life story
now for some tag poetry readings from three locals fully preped with haggis, tatties and neeps.Rabbies words of wisdom are all about the downfall of man at the hands of wicked women, a message mostly lost on the well lubricated guests.
step forward again Phil to thank the readers and toast the life and times of Robert Burns.

Even this far South of the border we are never far from Islay as evidenced by the fine collection of Simon & Elaine's Islay malts to supply late revellers with some fine dram(s).   

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

new year

A very Happy New Year 2U. We travelled north after Christmas in Staffs. All the snow & ice melted away just hours before our journey.

The car was loaded up with 100+ hedging plants, champagne & wine, lots of items for the house & a 3kg Haggis. Only 4 cars at the Kennacraig ferry - a record low ! Calmac staff outnumbered passengers by a massive margin.

Just 2 miles out of Port Askaig hundreds of Greenland White fronted Geese on roadside fields. Not a tourist in sight !

Cottage is warm & welcoming & peat basket is full. Ready for the cosy evenings ahead.

Before Breakfast I (that’s Les')  goes for morning run down hill to Airport & on to the 'Big Strand' for one of the most scenic & atmospheric runs ever. Sea, sky & sand - perfect ! Back to cottage for hot shower & breakfast before the day's main gig.

The Beatles sang about 4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire - We only needed to dig 100 in Glenegadale. Spade meets rocks, clay & water in bone aching clash of elements. Every hole is a minor triumph in a race against the fading light of short Islay days. In go Hornbeam, Spindle, Scots Pine, Alder, Sea Buckthorn, Willow & Dogwood. Pioneer plants for summer birdsong, windbreak & a carbon neutral Rowan Cottage !

In between times Vicki lays some more gravel paths & we enjoy the beautiful soft pinkish light of an Islay dusk in Winter.

New Year's eve is Chinese Takeaway (just opened in Bowmore), Champagne, Peat & Fire.

Last of the trees get a berth in Glenegadale ground & we end with a lovely meal with Vicki's mum at the Harbour Hotel.

Packed ferry out of Port Askaig taking all the Holiday visitors home.

Already looking forward to going back for more tree planting in March. Much achieved, lots to do & enjoy.