The Summer House Lodgings

The lovely landscape and environment of Persabus feed the creative spirit.

Years of bracing walks in the autumn, and winter months, when the colours on the island are at their most vibrant, led to dabbling with paints at the kitchen table, which evolved into watercolour paintings, and then to my designs being hand painted, glazed and fired on ceramics.

I like to focus on the colour palette of the landscape and the skies that envelope it. A swish of a paint brush captures the energy of the waves breaking on the shore and the ‘blousy’ cloud formations and patterns that are constantly changing overhead.

The views from Persabus of the Paps of Jura and the Sound of Islay are simply stunning and with Dunlossit woods and the beaches of the Sound within easy walking distance we are incredibly spoilt. It is very relaxing heading off to the beach, walking from the farmhouse, through the fields and into the woodland, armed with sketchbook, paints and drawing pens. Sketches and jottings lead to mornings spent in front of the wood burning stove in the pottery workshop on a blustery day, just dabbling with colours, and designs. Last week I was working on a new ‘Ocean Swirls’ range, as well the more familiar ‘Saligo’ and ‘Lucy Sea Breeze’ ranges.

In the autumn months I always feel at my most creative. Of course, this creativity isn’t just about painting. In the kitchen winter berry crumbles have been baked in the Aga, and soups and casseroles are beginning to bubble away.

Creativity also flows into other areas of life. On the farm we have diversified over the years. The Happy Farmer has renovated the old farm steadings to develop our lovely cottages. The farmhouse bed and breakfast suite being developed within the walls of the old stables. We even offer ‘Camping with Breakfast’. We are always looking to offer a unique and original experience for guests staying with us at Persabus.

On Sunday morning the Happy Farmer discovered that we have new lodgings on the farm. Our most creative and unique accommodation yet. It hasn’t quite made the pages of Airbnb, but it appears our cats have a new ‘summer house’. The Happy Farmer was highly entertained when he found the three of them sprawled out and sleeping soundly in their new digs. The large windows provide the perfect panoramic view. When the sun is shining there is a cosy warmth too. The cab of the Happy Farmer’s tractor appears to take ‘glamping’ to a whole new level in the cat kingdom.

Eldest was home for the weekend. She rounded up the Happy Farmer and her flock of Hebridean sheep for a morning in the fank. ‘Fank’, is farming speak for a collection of old drystone walls, which form several large gathering pens, with gates to ‘shed’ or separate the sheep. There is a walk way, where the well-behaved sheep go in single file, while the naughty ones clamber over the backs of their companions. Here the sheep can be dosed and vaccinated safely. There is the old dipping ‘race’, with a covered pit, in which the sheep used to be drenched in dip.

On Sunday the lambs were shed from their mothers and divided according to gender. The best of the ewe lambs will remain part of the Persabus flock, for breeding next year. All of the lambs were tagged and then the whole flock was dosed against Fluke and worm, before they went skipping off into the fields once more.

Until next time….

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And all it took was a tractor, trailer, horse box and a few Calmac containers….

The Persabus Hebridean broadcasting blog is back on the airwaves. It was a rocky one. Away on the mainland we hit technical glitches in internet land.

Happily though we managed to accompany youngest as she headed for the bright lights of university living. We followed in her wake with tractor, trailer and horse box, and a few Calmac containers to get her everyday essentials over to the mainland, or at least it felt that way by the time we had packed and unpacked everything. I would have been very happy for the cats to accompany her too, but unfortunately these mainland halls seem to have a ‘no pets’ policy. We got the privilege of some Hebridean sheep, a couple of horses and some Highland cows to look after when eldest left. Alongside the farm animals the menagerie of ‘pets’ just keeps growing. While the younger members of the clan are away partying hard and enjoying life, I mean studying and building careers, we are at home with a long list of instructions of feeding and pampering duties. These animals are all very spoilt and truly trained in the art of nagging, I mean ‘meowing and whining’, if everything is not quite as perfect as it is when their young owners are home. This is usually sorted with copious amount of food, however with Archieina ‘booming’ in all directions, her huge ‘tank’ as the Happy Farmer describes it, demands smaller portions and less feeds. She is not happy and has been voicing her concerns about this on an hourly basis.

It was a very hairy flight home to Islay on Monday night. Heavy rain and poor visibility led to several landing attempts, and then the pilot swooped low over the sea and suddenly we were home. The farmhouse was strangely quiet with the whole family away, but as guests began to arrive the ‘Persabus buzz’ returned. Thankfully ‘team Persabus’ did an amazing job of changeovers and everything went smoothly in our absence. The all-important ‘menagerie’ was well cared for and waiting for my arrival home, with Ruby dog leading the welcoming party, closely followed by Bramble and the two kittens. Doughball, our old cat, wisely waited for the rain to stop before she put in her appearance.

In the pottery this week I have had a chance to work on some new creative designs. My head is bursting with ideas and plans, and as the crazy business of the summer months has morphed into a steady trickle of visitors calling by for gifts, cake and sandwiches, I am getting more time to dip my paint brushes onto the clay and begin to create new designs. With the vibrant colours of the autumn months the island is bursting with creative inspiration. Even in the pouring rain it is indeed a beautiful island….

Until next time…

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Changing Seasons

In the Happy Farmer’s words ‘it’s great to see the sun hanging out again’.

The panorama from the farmhouse is changing. The summer colours are merging into an autumn landscape. The barley in the front field has ripened to a rich, golden colour. The Paps are swathed in purple and gold as the greenness of the summer months begins to fade. The sea glistens with deep turquoise and aquamarine hues. It is a beautiful time of the year. I never tire of the view with its everchanging light and reflections as the landscape moves through the seasons each year.

Yesterday heavy ‘mizzly’ rain set in. White clouds and mist enveloped everything including any view. It is a time of year when there is a gradual move from a life of outdoor living. The endless days of light are retreating. At night twilight gives way to the dark blue and black skies that the autumn brings, and the moon hangs huge and bright in a starry sky. Candles and fires are lit, hearty casseroles, soups and Sunday roasts become a mainstay in the farmhouse, as a new season evolves, and even a mizzly rainy day doesn’t dampen the spirits. That said, we are hoping the good weather that arrived today lasts for the month of September and we are treated to the delights of an Indian summer. The barley boys are at the ready with their combines. Barley needs to be harvested when it’s at its premium. It will be cut and threshed and transported to a local haulier who has facilities to store and dry the barley further if necessary, before it is ready to go off for malting.

The barley we grow eventually, once malted, goes to Bruichladdich Distillery. Invariably some will make its way back to Persabus, in its golden liquid splendour, as the farmers have a ‘wee dram’ around the kitchen table. It is indeed a ‘happy cycle’.

Our winter hay supplies arrived last week. The Happy Farmer used to make his own hay on the farm. It was a lovely time. Fields were mowed, lines of fresh grass were then spun several times a day by the hay turner. I did take my turn at driving the tractor and spinning the hay once, but unfortunately hay fever took its toll. In no time at all my eyes were swollen and streaming, and I arrived back at the farmhouse sneezing and wheezing and have not been allowed near the hay since. Once thoroughly dried by the sun the hay is then baled. The whole village would turn out to help stack the hay in years gone by, sandwiches and flasks of tea and soup would appear from the farmhouse, and it was a real community effort. Baling machines took over producing square bales, tied with baler twine. Finally, we had a round baler, producing huge bales of hay, which only machinery could lift and load into the hay shed.

Now, with our changing climate, and changing farm policies, hay is brought in from the mainland. In the pouring rain last week the happy chappies from down the road came along and gave the Happy Farmer a very welcome hand to load the hay bales into the shed for the winter months, and as always the kettle was on in the farmhouse.

Until next time…

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Spicy Times…

I have been having the most incredibly spicy times with the Happy Farmer recently.

His favourite national dish is curry. He was the first person to introduce me to the delights of a Glasgow curry, many years ago. Such was his love of a good Indian meal, when visiting the city, he could quite easily consume them morning, noon and night. Apparently, a breakfast of cold curry after a night out was quite a treat, not one I was ever convinced to try.

After a city visit we always headed home to Islay with copious amounts of Indian take-aways. The first time I found myself at Glasgow airport security, with a bag laden with curries, I was completely mortified. I stood watching as our curry carry outs went on the conveyor belt, through the large x-ray scanner, where the staff appeared to think nothing of it. They assured me they were used to Hebrideans stocking up on curry carry outs then flying home with them as hand luggage.

Today unfortunately, given the large volume of liquid in a curry, a ‘curry carry out’ would still make it through the scanner, but swiftly get diverted to the ‘yellow hazardous bin’ once it’d passed through scanning. Carry out curries pose a potential security threat to our airlines these days. Given the possibility of severe leakage if a curry travels in a suitcase in the hold, the only way to get them home is via the ferry. Thankfully the days of ‘smuggling’ curries onto the island are no longer necessary as we are now lucky enough to have excellent Indian food on our doorstep.

Ballygrant Inn is our ‘local’. Close to Persabus, food at the Inn is freshly prepared from the finest local ingredients. Alongside the more traditional dishes of lamb shank, steak and venison, they cook a range of delicious spicy curries. Thursdays are ‘curry and a pint’ night. Every couple of months or so there is also an Indian buffet night where a huge feast of various Indian dishes is laid on. Diners can help themselves to as much and as many dishes as they like. It is well worth booking in.

However, when the farmer phoned the other week for a carry out, their ‘curry night’ had been so busy and successful there was not a drop of curry left.  We headed to the Taj Mahal restaurant in Bowmore. We hadn’t been to the Taj Mahal in ages, and with new chefs since our last visit, the curries were an absolute treat. They were delicious.  Last week we even managed to have two Indian take away nights.

After a delicious curry on Friday night we went to ‘The Ditch’ (Also known as  ‘The Lochindaal Hotel’, for those unfamiliar with the local lingo) with friends for a bar supper on Saturday night, only to find it was a ‘Tulsi’ curry night. Tulsi has lived on Islay for quite a few years with his family and every few weeks Tulsi takes over the kitchen at the ‘Ditch’ and cooks an amazing array of authentic Indian dishes. We were faced with a bit of a dilemma; the ‘Ditch’ is also our favourite place for seafood banquets on the island. The Happy Farmer found a compromise, we ate our way through three courses of Tulsi’s amazing cuisine, and the Happy Farmer also managed to sneak in an order for a platter of fresh clams and a bucket of chips as our side dish.

Until next time…

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The wonders of wildlife

 

The Happy Farmer is tearing his hair out, well a few strands of it anyway. He has fallen out with some of the residents. They are trying his patience and he is counting the days until their departure. He says he has never known such messy guests and they aren’t even paying for the Persabus hospitality they are receiving. They ‘root’ through the contents of his shed as if they own the place. I am of course talking about our mating pair of swallows. They have nested in the farm shed, as they do each year. Raising their young, who now swoop and glide among the rafters as the Happy Farmer works away down below. They all seem to consider the Happy Farmer to be part of the fixtures and fittings of the shed and he is quite the source of entertainment to them all. As he works away they fly from beam to beam, sweeping low over his head. Perched up high they watch him from all corners of the shed. Everything below must be covered under plastic sheets, which is the main gripe the Happy Farmer has with these guests.

The farm cats, on the other hand, have been entranced by our visitors. On a regular basis they climb all the way up into the roof, at times venturing ever so close to the nest. They have kept an ever-watchful eye, all summer long, waiting for a chance to pounce. Thankfully the swallows seem to have evaded their advances. The swallows’ days at Persabus are gradually drawing to an end. They will be vacating the shed and neighbouring farmland in the next few weeks to migrate south again for warmer climes.

Autumn is slowly edging its way into the island. The bramble bushes are laden with fruit along the wayside. A new term has started for the island’s schools. The nights are gradually drawing in. They always say the summer ends and autumn begins after the show, and with a week of cooler weather and plenty of rain, it certainly feels as if the seasons are beginning to change again.

Yesterday, as youngest and I drove back from shopping in Bowmore, I had to stop the car for an otter crossing the road. At first, I had mistakenly thought it was a cat, or polecat, but to my surprise we were treated to an otter making its way from the beach, over the road in front of the car, and up and over the drystone dyke. I am often asked by visitors where you can see otters on the island… it would seem otters can make an appearance anywhere especially if there’s water close by.

Until next time….

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The Highland Fling

When a young couple are to be married on Islay it is local tradition to have a ‘blackening’ for the couple. The bride and groom are ‘kidnapped’ by friends and relatives and tied to the back of a trailer. They are then towed through the villages, where buckets of anything rotten and smelly is thrown over the couple, before they are hosed down at the pier. At the weekend there was such an event, as the island prepares for a wedding next Saturday.

Now I know the bride and groom were ‘kidnapped’, but on this occasion it appears, according to the Happy Farmer’s version of events, that he was also ‘kidnapped’. Apparently, he was taken, very reluctantly, completely against his will, to a local Hotel to join in the ‘post blackening celebrations’. His apparent ‘kidnapping’ couldn’t have come at a better time. He has had a busy week of socialising with a whole contingent of farming pals from the mainland, who were over for the annual Islay and Jura Agricultural Show. Post show we have our annual Persabus Farmers’ Dinner, where huge rib roasts appear in the farmhouse kitchen, along with cases of wine, and a feast for 16 or so hungry farmers is on the menu. Celebrations continue with cask visits and tastings the next day. This is followed by an evening in one of the local Hotels, before the early morning ferry takes the farmers across the sea to the Mid Argyll Show in Lochgilphead. The Happy Farmer missed out on the cask tastings. Although, apparently after a mix up, it was the Happy Farmer’s cask the group all got to taste and enjoy. They took great delight in toasting their friend in his absence. They even produced a near empty sample bottle of his whisky to console him later that evening.

The Happy Farmer had hoped to join the motley crew on their trip to the Mid Argyll Show. This was all in the name of farming you understand. However, with a busy day ahead, guests checking in and out on the farm, pottery to be glazed and fired, kilns to be loaded and emptied, sailing away on the ferry became a distant pipe dream. Laundry chores, new calves, and kilns were calling.

At the end of a very busy Saturday and an even busier week, it was with a huge ‘reluctant’, positively beaming smile that the Happy Farmer found himself being bundled into his friend’s car and kidnapped away. He even managed to slip under the radar of the farmer’s wife, who had she been alerted to his predicament, would have called an immediate halt to proceedings and rescued him.  He was incredibly grateful when a few hours into the celebrations the ferryman’s wife called by to give him a lift home, especially when he heard the partying continued well into the ‘wee small hours’ of Sunday morning for some.

The Islay and Jura Agricultural Show takes place on the second Thursday in August each year. It is now in its 172nd year. What an amazing job the current show committee did this year. They appeared to have pulled out all the stops as the field looked amazing and the show ran as smoothly as ever. There was a huge turnout of people as farmers showed their very best livestock. Horses were groomed, having been put through their paces weeks in advance in preparation. Tack polished, riders turned out in their finery, to jump and trot around the show rings. There was baking, crafts, flowers, vegetables and plants. Stalls representing local charities, dog demonstrations, a dog show, agricultural machinery and suppliers’ tents, a parade of vintage tractors and vehicles, bouncy castles, trampolines and even politicians.

We won a beautiful crystal decanter at the show which now takes pride of place on the old dresser, for the best wool. We won it in 1907. Looking at old photos of the sheep on the farm back then they certainly had impressive fleeces. These days the Happy Farmer likes to go to the show as a spectator, but youngest won a first with her wild flowers. Hansel horse has competed on numerous occasions over the years bringing home cups and trophies, but eldest couldn’t make the show this year.

Celebrations continued off the show field and after a huge dinner at the farm we were treated to singing and dancing. I was more than impressed then to see the Highland Fling being performed so well, to Robbie Williams. There really is no end to the talents of these very happy farmers.

Until next time…

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Fruits of the Sea

We have been thoroughly spoilt this past week. Lovely guests, hearty craic and the most amazing local produce.

The Happy Farmer has been on his ‘adopt a tourist’ scheme. Thursday evening saw a gathering of friends grow into a larger party when our lovely guests were able to join us for an absolute banquet of seafood platters at the Lochindaal Hotel. You may have noticed the Happy Farmer turning into a lobster this summer. It may have nothing to do with all of the exceedingly good weather we have enjoyed, months of golden sunshine, but rather to do with the copious amounts of lobster he has been ‘guzzling’. Following his hearty seafood feast on Thursday he was more than delighted when the Jura ferryman called round with a couple of lobster for the pot. The Happy Farmer is a dab hand at cooking the most delicious lobster thermidor, and was rubbing his hands together with glee, those lobster pots in the front field are beginning to pay dividends.

Last Wednesday we were treated to fresh mackerel for lunch, caught in Lochindaal, thanks to Farmer C. A sink full of brown trout greeted us when our taxi dropped us home on Thursday night, thanks to our fantastic neighbour of ‘Fly Fish Islay and Jura’. John provides the ultimate fly-fishing experience for locals and tourists. He takes out individuals and groups, those with no experience and those who have years of experience, on fly fishing expeditions around the islands. I love grilled trout, but the Happy Farmer likes to bake them in a fish kettle with mandarin oranges. You’ll just have to take my word for it, they were delicious.

Last week brought damper weather, which led to an abundance of field mushrooms appearing around the farm. The Happy Farmer arrived back off his latest quad bike ramble with a bowl of fresh mushrooms, simply fried in butter and served on toast they were so tasty.

When the sun decided to peak out once more it was time to harvest the blackcurrants and redcurrants growing abundantly in our garden. Youngest immediately made small pots of berry crumble, adding some of the bilberries she’s been collecting from the hillside. They were delicious, served piping hot, straight from the baking oven of the Aga, and topped with a huge dollop of creamy ice cream.

To top it all the Happy Farmer’s Highland cow finally stopped procrastinating and chose to finally deliver her new calf. Mother and baby greeted a very happy farmer on his early morning rounds, but the Happy Farmer hasn’t been brave enough to take anymore than a fleeting glance, as this wise old girl is known to be fiercely protective and could prove ‘mightily crabbit’ if disturbed at this stage.

Until next time.

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A Dip in the Ocean

The Happy Farmer is being kept on his toes. He has ‘lady’ issues. One of his Highland girls is procrastinating about her ‘calving duties’. On hot days she can be found dipping her hooves in the very boggy ditch to cool off. With her extra heavy gait, there is every chance she may struggle to ease herself out of the ditch, and risk getting completely ‘bogged’. At the best of times this would not be good, but heavily pregnant, there is a risk posed to cow and calf should she start calving in a ditch. Regular checks are called for as the Happy Farmer is wondering how much longer she will hold on for. Several times a day the quad bike goes racing over the hill in the hope that she has safely delivered her calf.
The last of the ‘revellers’ were rounded up this morning and clipped by the farmer and eldest. They had managed to evade ‘sheep shearing round one’, but with the continued hot weather, it was not before time those sheep got their curls trimmed to a very short back and sides. Likewise the Happy Farmer also got a much needed clip. Last week he was beginning to resemble a Potty Professor, especially when the wind swept those remaining locks into a horizontal quiff, this week those locks have been neatly ‘tamed’.
On Sunday we headed along the north east coast out towards Rhuvaal Lighthouse. What a difference a day can make. Saturday saw torrential downpours and floods on the island, by Sunday the sun was bursting out of a huge blue sky.
We headed out along the track and clambered down through the bracken to the pebble coastline. The salty seawater was just too inviting. A glistening turquoise blue. The gentle waves lapping teasingly against the shore. I was of course completely unprepared. Arriving at this beautiful bay without swimming costume or towel, but that is the beauty of Islay’s secluded coastlines. Once the fishing boat had passed, there was just us, the seals and the Oyster Catchers. It isn’t often the Sound of Islay is warm enough for a quick dip, but today I couldn’t resist. With beautiful views of Jura’s wild and rugged coastline, it is a stunning part of the island. A natural spit, stretches out into the sea, providing a perfect little sandy enclave, safe from the deeper tidal waters that rip through the heart of the Sound. Natural arches, a waterfall, a beautiful sandy bay, and just a couple of nosy seals watching on, it is what an island summer is all about.
Heading home, we clambered once more through the bracken, to reach the track, where bilberries were growing among the grasses, allowing for a quick forage. Bursting with flavour, wild bilberries, are nature’s very own treat, especially on such a hot day.
Until next time…

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Island Traditions…

The Happy Farmer and I waved goodbye to the last of our visiting relatives on Saturday. On Sunday we headed to Machir Bay for a walk along the shore. It was a very warm, cloudy day, but even on cloudy days Islay does not disappoint. The colours in the waves and the gentle roar of the breakers on the shore were both soothing and energising. As we headed home along the winding single track road it felt as if the clock was turned back by a good fifty years when we met a tractor and trailer from yesteryear trundling along. The tractor had been lovingly restored to her former glory. A trailer at the rear, filled with peats. The Happy Farmer’s old friend was hauling peat back from the moss. Just like old times, in true island style,  as the tractor came alongside the car, engines were switched off, the tractor ground to a halt, whilst farmer and friend had a good old ‘hearty blether’. The sight of an old tractor pulling a trailer filled with peats used to be a very familiar one of the Happy Farmer’s yesteryear. When I first came to the island far more roads used to be blocked whilst cars, tractors, lorries and vans were stopped for a quick catch up during a busy day, it was part of island living. Community spirit ran strong. The peats on this trailer were not for whisky, not for an illicit still hidden away in the caves at Kilchoman, these peats are to keep the home fires burning, long into the winter months, when the storms from the Atlantic hit our shores.

The pottery has been bursting at the seams. So many lovely happy visitors calling by. For some it is  their first visit, others are welcomed back as old friends, their familiar faces popping through the door as if they were just here yesterday. Monday is my ‘day off’, but with the low-lying mist and a day of drizzle and mizzle, it turned into a ‘manic Monday’. By the end of play I had baked two banana loaves, two trays of chocolate brownies, and two dozen scones. I spent a couple of hours washing up in the pottery kitchen for Charlotte who runs the pottery on Mondays. Island living can have its stressful moments. Yesterday they were good stressful moments, as beautiful pieces of art were created, tea, coffee and cake consumed, by the bucket load, literally, going on the baking I have been doing. Charlotte had a huge cheery smile throughout, and the kitchen banter was good. The frenetic buzz and vibe of a busy pottery is both challenging and rewarding.

At the end of the day I went for a long walk through the woods, past Lily Loch and Loch Ballygrant, with youngest. She pointed out the beautiful wild orchids growing freely and abundantly among the Butterbur. The leaves of the Butterbur were used to wrap the home-made butter up in once upon a time.

Until next time….

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Persabus Pineapple Pops….

The ‘pineapple pop’ has been flowing freely and abundantly as the farm upped a gear into full scale ‘party mode’ at the weekend. It’s been an incredibly sociable time as we gathered as many of the clan, extended clan, friends and families together for our annual  Summer Party festivities.

Tractor and horse box were reversed into the garden and strategically placed at the end of the patio just in case sunshine gave way to rain. It wouldn’t be the first time the farmer’s horse box has been turned into a ‘kippering station’, as ‘rain fails to dampen spirits’ in this vicinity, with burgers and skewers sizzling away on the home-made barbeque. Such is the Happy Farmer’s passion for recycling, the BBQ stand is made from an old Singer sewing machine treadle, the top from a ‘calor gas’ bottle split into two halves, where the charcoal burns. The grill was once an old grated cover for a pit. The horse box often doubles up as a bar and all weather BBQ hut.

Even the animals joined in the spirit of the preparations. The kitten was seen scaling the tractor, clambering over the wing mirrors and up onto the roof of the cab to get a bird’s eye view of proceedings. Dogs were faithfully following the Happy Farmer’s every move, tripping him up and getting under his feet, as they seemed to know burgers would be making an appearance at some point if the horse box had yet again appeared in the garden. Horses were poised on the hill, looking down from their vantage point to see what the commotion was about. Even the sheep managed to have their annual ‘coiffeur’ just in time, getting a very necessary trim of their fleeces, courtesy of the sheep shearers who popped by the afternoon before the party.

The Happy Farmer was beside himself with the whole socialness of the unfolding events. Courtesy of his visiting cousin there have been more than one or two ‘after hours and into the wee small hours’ kind of evenings. When his cousin’s fishing pals decided to hop on the plane for a surprise visit at the end of the week the Happy Farmer really had to up his game of hospitality. It is a lovely time of year. The house is bustling and buzzing, and there is a real party atmosphere.

My brother and family had the best plan of action though. They arrived off the ferry, stopping only briefly at the farmhouse for a quick coffee and to leave some luggage, before heading out to Bholsa on Islay’s north west coast. The caves and natural arches there are simply stunning. The landscape makes for tough walking but suddenly you are transported into a wilderness that opens onto part of Islay’s most beautiful coastline. With the tide right out, a beautiful sandy bay was exposed. They were able to swim in the waves in the sunshine, before exploring the beautiful arches, cliffs and waterfalls. They set up camp for a quiet night under the stars, complete with a seaside fire, made from driftwood, and a feast of steak and baked potatoes. The midges were kind to them, not descending until late into the evening when they were about to retire for the night anyway.

At the farm whilst they watched the sunset from Bholsa, we were sat in the farmhouse garden eating a hearty supper with the sheep shearers. Beer and food are very welcome after a day of clipping in the heat.

Saturday was spent dodging between the pottery and farmhouse as the final preparations were under way. Changeovers were happening. Washing was being pegged out. Relatives were arriving off the ferry. Burgers were being made, yes it really would be far too simple to buy the ‘ready’ ones, and skewers were threaded. The Bholsa team returned just in time as people started to arrive. The party really was a lovely one. A good gathering of young and old partied in the garden, moving indoors as dusk fell. The weather held. We had singing and dancing and good music, and in true style it ran from 4 ‘til 4, and the Happy Farmer even made his ‘papers’ on Sunday!

Until next time….

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