Panorama of hills and sea

Islay’s Festival of Music, Malt, and Magic

The intoxicating atmosphere of Fèis Ìle

and the island is swept along on a vibrant journey of music, malt, and more than a little ‘magic’.

It is Islay’s ‘magic’ that really makes this festival so incredibly special. Enveloping you in a warm, welcoming hug, as Distilleries host open days filled with live music and entertainment. There are master classes, tours and tastings, food stalls and craft fairs. Village halls host ceilidhs, as highland dancers and pipers lead festival goers on exciting adventures showcasing the island’s talent and heritage.

The Fèis Ìle offers a truly immersive journey

starting from the cruise across those turquoise seas on the Calmac Ferries, or through the deep blue skies with Loganair, as planes and ferries transport visitors and guests over to share in this exciting adventure.

The ‘magic’ of that warm Islay welcome

the smiles and waves as journeys across the island unfold. Each twist and bend on the roads revealing yet more scenic panoramas as the colours of landscapes and seascapes pull on the heart strings.

The stunning variety and warmth of the island’s welcoming accommodation

from the boutique hotels, to white washed self-catering cottages, tucked in beside the shore. The bespoke bed and breakfast apartments. Each option encapsulating that unique hospitality and charm of the Hebrides.

There is always a huge buzz in the air at festival time

Behind the scenes there has been months of meticulous planning. A festival of creativity as each Distillery celebrates and shares their own unique character and charm. From ‘Rockn’daal’ at  Bruichladdich Distillery, a ‘rock fest’ of fabulous fun on the shores of Lochindaal, to the ‘Ardcore’ workers of Ardbeg, who threw a ‘peaty punky’ party. From that ‘First Fling’ to the ‘Final Fling’, as  bagpipes and drums stir the soul. The accordions and fiddles, the singers and dancers, the world class entertainers, those live performances, all set against the refreshing salty breeze, cloudless blue skies, and sparkling seas. The island atmosphere ignites with contagious happy energy as those islanders, those festival visitors, that huge community from around the globe, come together to celebrate and make Fèis Ìle into one happy, spirited party.

From the tastings of fine malts, bespoke gins, rums, and beers, as the island’s produce is celebrated and sampled, to the tours and bottlings, as cocktails  and mocktails have been shaken, not stirred, and all the while the sun bursts across magnificent blue skies.

Away from the hurly burly dance of the festival, when time allowed, we headed for the shores of Machir Bay. The warm golden sands of a deserted beach, the waves breaking gently on the shore. The soothing dip in deep, crystal clear rock pools at the far end, refreshing the soul, as the sun setting in the skies bathed the island in a sun-kissed pink glow.

Come and visit soon, a warm Islay welcome awaits…

Until next time.

A large copper Still
Whisky and toast
Band playing on stage
Ardnahoe Distillery
Two people smiling
Cars parking in a field
girl swimming in a rock pool
pink skies as the sun sets
Highland cow

Islay Journey

The Happy Farmer’s breakfasts come in layers of such ‘juicy deliciousness’

As the morning air is filled with the mouth watering aroma of bacon crisped to perfection. Croissants and toast gently warming, intermingled with the heady scent of coffee, as beans are ground, ready to be added to a cafetière warming gently on the Aga.

Layers of bacon, egg, and potato scone, are gently placed on warm buttered rolls. Croissants are lifted from the oven. The toast, ready to be spread with marmalade, as everything is carefully arranged, ready to be served to our guests in the farmhouse bed and breakfast suite at Persabus.

It’s not just about ‘breakfast layers’

there are so many varied layers to the ‘Persabus Experience’. It is why a lot of our guests journey back to visit us time and again. Each party on their own unique journey. Journeys that flow with happy memories, as the island’s layers gradually unfold and unfurl, adding more depth and beauty to the whole Islay experience.

May brings a spring awakening as whisky journeys call

With the annual festival of Music and Malt, celebrated at the end of the month. There is a carnival atmosphere to island life, both in the gradual build up, to the start of the ‘festival week’, as the island gets swept up in a buzzing climax of celebrations.

The many layers of sensory journeys

with whisky adventures unfolding, as each Distillery hosts events. Behind the scenes a culmination of creativity, talent, and hard work, celebrated in each unique experience. The nosing and tasting of fine drams. The concerts and ceilidhs, as talented musicians and dancers, from across the Hebrides and beyond, entertain.

A celebration of the finest of Islay produce, as restaurants, food halls and stalls, conjure up and capture a magical journey that leaves those taste-buds tingling.

It’s been a soggy, wet start to this exciting month, but as those whisky gods will tell you, the distilleries need plenty of rain to keep the lochs and spring water flowing, the vital source of the whisky’s journey.

Nature too is a hive of activity during this busy month

The hedgerows are filled with the chatter of nesting birds. Swallows swoop and dive around the old farm buildings as nests are constructed, and the mating season gets underway. The cuckoo can be heard, waiting for an opportunity to evict a few eggs from a host’s nest, who unwittingly will be left to adopt and  raise the cuckoo chicks.

Tiny dragon files hover in around the trees and shrubs, like mini helicopters. The hum of buzzing fills the air, as the bees work overtime to pollinate all of the spring flowers that have opened up, lifting their heads to enjoy the warm burst of sunshine.

As we journey down to the beach

the swan raises her long neck, waking from her slumbers. She is perched, majestically, on her nest of seaweed, as she patiently waits for those eggs to hatch. Her mate, keeping a watchful eye, as he fishes in the still waters of the Sound.

From the tiny insects, to the huge Sea Eagles, from the deer on the hillside to the otters, the layers of wildlife unfurl in May, as you sit a while, at the water’s edge, taking in the layers of colour in those huge, beautiful, vibrant skies.

There are so many layers to the ‘Persabus Experience’

Come and join us on a journey soon and adventure through those layers of Islay life.

A very warm welcome awaits….

Until next time…

Breakfast rolls on a tray
Teapot on an Aga
Sand dunes, sandy beach and sea
Old ruin in field
Highland cow
looking out across the sea from the ferry
A farmer followig sheep along a single track road
A lamb feeding in the sunshine
Girl walking across the beach
Lobster platter

An Islay Spring

Sometimes, at the end of the day…

A day spent exploring and adventuring….

A day of following delicious journeys, journeys that ignite the senses

Days of whisky tours and tastings, as you meander along the coastline, happening upon Islay’s historic Distilleries, tucked into the shoreline, ready to transport the casks on the Puffer boats of bygone days. Today vast welcoming visitor centres, filled with island charm and character, allowing you to sup your way through whisky journeys, from the source to the tip of the tongue. As spring water bubbles out on the hillside, leading you down on a journey to the fabulous peat bogs, as clods of peat cut like slabs of thick butter, neatly stacked, ready to be transported and stored.

Days of running free across the machair

and down to the sandy shore, paddling in the bluest of seas, as the waves ebb and flow across the shore. The icy cold water, the refreshing afterglow, as those toes tingle and tickle, from nature’s very own spa therapy, long after the beach has faded into a happy memory.

Days spent hiking out over the headland

The sweet scent of bog myrtle, the crisp, refreshing, salty sea breeze, blowing in from the shore. The couple of deer, that stand poised high on the hillside, watching as we make our way across the tussocky grasses, under huge skies, with billowing white clouds.

An Islay spring

and the air is fresh, with an icy sting, the sunshine is bright, as the bluest of skies emerge over crystal clear seas, which are calling, guiding you on sea adventures to watch the dolphins and seals at play.

The Corryvreckan whirlpool

on the north tip of Jura, and a day spent exploring the dramatic and wild coastline on fantastic sea adventures.

As taste journeys unfold

and days flow into evening, the platters of the finest of seafood, freshly harvested and served up in the Lochindaal Seafood Kitchen. The melt in the mouth lamb, beef, and venison, oysters, scallops and halibut, freshly prepared and cooked in the nearby Ballygrant Inn.

The opportunity to forage and harvest

from the shoreline and beach, enjoying feasts of cockles and mussels, samphire and kelp, cooked over open fires made from driftwood, gathered along the shore, if the spring weather is kind.

We are poised on the exciting cusp

of the changing season as winter fades, with the dawning of an Islay spring, and all the promise this beautiful season presents.

The beautiful sun’s rays light up the landscape as on the farm Highland cows and Hebridean sheep can be seen chewing the cud and basking in the warmth, sheltered from the chill of the breeze.

Farm tracks and villages are lined with vibrant yellow daffodils as they flower across the island.

New life emerges, as lambs begin to appear, puddles and bogs are filled with frogspawn, and the hedgerows are alive with the many species of nesting birds that have migrated back to these island shores, ready for the nesting season.

And sometimes….at the end of a day…

All you need is a huge, comfortable bed, with the softest of sheets, to snuggle down into, as you relax and unwind, and enjoy the refreshing glow of those days spent exploring and adventuring, as the island envelopes you in her magic.

A warm welcome and huge comfy beds await at Persabus Farm, as you hop on that ferry or plane, and head over to enjoy your own island adventures and journeys.

Until next time…

Hills and blue skies
People walking on beach
The sea
The sea and hills
A river flowing
A field of daffodils and a bench
lamb and sheep
A ferry sailing at sea
Bedroom
The snowy Paps of Jura

Immerse yourself in an Islay Winter

A Walk On the Wild Side

As the last of the sun’s rays cast their shadows

Hikes across the boggy coastline, as the burns boil and bubble, and out on the hill a shepherd, and three eager dogs, work hard to round up the sheep from the headland.

The flock make their gradual descent over the hills in formation. Neat single files of white lines cascade down the hillside, forming circles across the land, meeting once again at the base. A steady stream, making their way from the hill-top and beyond, towards the burn, in neat formation.

Sheepdogs lie close to the ground

Noses poised, ears pinned back awaiting commands, eyes glued on the flock, before darting at speed, to round up any ‘meanderers’. It is a skilful dance as shepherd, dogs, and sheep all perform this timeless routine.

Away from the gathering, a defiant ewe

Oozing with attitude, stands, staring at us. Two ‘foot soldiers’ at her side, jaws chewing determinedly at the cud. Beady eyes glaring at us for daring to be on her territory, daring to be making an approach, whilst she susses out if we are part of the sheep gathering committee.

As we venture further towards the coast, a couple of raggedy sheep take to their heels, flying off, away into the distance, their long tails wagging behind them. Their hanging fleeces and crooked horns, depict a tale of complete abstinence from the shepherd’s regular and necessary ‘gathering routines’. This pair have opted to go ‘feral’, skilfully taking advantage of the huge expanse of land, with its gullys and caves, providing ample and sufficient hiding spots.

As the rocky crags give way to shoreline,

we stumble upon a further illicit gathering

A few more cheeky sheep, hidden from the shepherd’s view in the distance. A smiling, gleeful, ‘breakaway’ contingent, happily munching on the rich pickings.

Enjoying a private party to themselves

appearing to view us as the uninvited guests. You can see their expressions change, wondering if they need to break up the gathering, as we gingerly make our approach down the hillside. The rest of their flock will be neatly gathered by now, beyond the burn and through the gate. Know that by morning curiosity will probably have got the better of these nosey sheep, leading the defiant rebels to finally make their own way across the burn to that gate. They will be stood waiting impatiently, bleating through the bars, annoyed at being separated from their flock, when the shepherd arrives in the morning. They will be indignant, wondering why on earth he had not thought to leave the gate open for late arrivals.

As February draws to a close

we are immersed in the depths of an Islay winter. Heavy hailstorms and wild gales, dramatic flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder, followed by huge blue skies and sunshine when those winds retreat to a whisper. Four seasons are served up in an hour, never mind a day, leading to spectacular colours in those skies and light shows across the landscapes.

The crisp brightness of waking to a blanket of snow

across the fields. Just the tiny patterns from early morning birds to mark the path. Dramatic storm clouds frame the seas as the ferry makes her way up and then down the Sound of Islay. It is bitterly cold and stunningly beautiful.

The winter spirit of the Hebrides

is encapsulated in these wild storms, as the waves dance in tune to the winds, creating spectacular patterns. As huge and angry seas sweep across deserted beaches, revealing a colourful palette of greens, blues, and turquoises, and every shade between. Deep blue skies, filled with rainbows and racing billowing white clouds, light up the landscape.

It is a time for wrapping up and immersing yourself in the beauty of stormy wild weather. Battling against the sheer force of gusty winds. Enjoying the salty sea spray whipped up from the surface of the waves, nature’s very own ‘spa therapy’, before toasting those toes, and sitting rosy cheeked in front of the cosy glow of a roaring fire, with the necessary dram of Islay malt whisky to ‘warm the cockles’.

Which Islay malt will you choose to celebrate your ‘Islay time’ I wonder?

Until next time…

A fast flowing burn
Waterfall
Sheep on top of silage bale
The snowy Paps of Jura
Girl feeding sheep in the snow
Persabus Cottages in the snow
dram measure on the rocks
Sunset across the sea
Person sat on beach

Sending Over Some Islay Sea Air

Who else has been shimmying and jiving their way through the very beginnings of 2022

as the weeks begin to flow, and the blank canvas of another exciting year really starts to unfold?

Did you miss the blog posts?

Did you even notice how they had jumped onto the ‘back burner’ for a while?

It was not intentional

but as October, slipped gracefully into November, then on, seamlessly into December, time seemed to pass and overtake me at some rate of knots, such was the madness of a busy end to the year.

That crazy Christmas season, it catches me every time, sweeping me up and carrying me along, as

my arms and legs seem to grow octopus tentacles

as I multi-task my way through the exciting preparations for the festivities.

Faithful pottery kilns fire away constantly, each day delivering more glossy, shiny pieces ready to be posted out across the country. That fantastic support from all our lovely visitors to my little online emporium. A sea of baubles, each with their own Islay inspired story, carefully tied with colourful ribbons, transporting us into the magic of the season with all its trimmings.

Then, there is also that wonderful ‘excuse’ to enjoy more time connecting with you all, as social media and website journeys grow arms and legs, in the darkness of short winter days, as indoor living takes over once more.

I enjoy transporting you along with us on our adventures

as we capture those special moments to share with you.

The beautiful vibrant colours of an Islay winter, enticing us on, as we leave the cosy comfort of the farmhouse behind. Heading out into the stormy weather. The promising glow of the winter sun melting in those huge, open skies, above angry, choppy, seas. The oranges, browns, and yellows of the peaty, boggy headland, set against those deep blue skies, as we wade our way across burns, raging their way down the hillside, and on we clamber, precariously, to the sea.

On grey days, the refreshing spray of mizzle and drizzle

The magic of oyster catchers, picking at the shoreline, as a heron takes flight. A couple of stags watching us from a far. The beady eyes and ‘attitude’ of the ‘raggedy taggedy’ sheep following our journey. The magic just spurs us on, knowing that on those hikes, however grey the day, across the headland, nature comes out to play.

Back at the farmhouse

soggy jackets and socks are peeled off, then it’s that warm, refreshing glow of rosy cheeks and windswept hair, as we dry off in front of the heat of a roaring fire.

It’s the time spent playing with images, and words, holding on to that ‘Islay time’, all under the happy guise of ‘marketing’, as website pages grow and social media stories unfold. A time for more painting, and more creating, as

I get whipped along on creative adventures,

getting to share with you, the beauty of this quiet season.

Which just leaves me to thank you for guiding me on to clamber over those hills, through the peaty mossy bogs, and down to the shore.

For encouraging me to sit for just a while longer among the white shells and coral on my favourite beach. Listening to the ebb and flow of the waves lifting the pebbles back and forth. To really envelope myself in the magic of just a little more ‘Islay time’, just so I could really capture that refreshing sea air, and send it over to you, inviting you to share in our journey.

Which just leaves me to ask?

Have you booked your Islay time yet?

Until next time….

Sunset over beach
Machir Bay, Islay
Crystal clear sea
Lichen covered rocks
Person sat on beach
Peaty burn
Sunrise
Person on beach

Enjoying Islay Time

There is something just mesmerizing

when after a long, hot trek across a wild and rugged landscape, suddenly the vista unfolds.

The steep climb, trudging through the heather and bog myrtle, a herd of deer spying on your every move.

The heat of the day and as you climb over the hill

and the view unfolds. First, it’s just a teasing glimpse of the sea in the distance. Then as you gradually descend, the fresh, crisp, sea air hits you, and way down below you can see the whitest of sands being bathed by turquoise waters. The fresh white froth of the waves uncurling as they gently lap to shore.

This is Bàgh An Dà Dhoruis beach

translated from the Gaelic to the ‘Bay of two Doors’. Jagged rock formations rise from the huge white expanse of sand. Huge cliffs with deep inviting caves carved into the rock. The sound of the sea, as a few sanderlings skip along the shoreline.

A deserted bay. A tricky climb down, as bracken, rocks and uneven terrain make the journey slow, when really you just want to hurl yourself onto that beach, race down the hill like a child.

Boots abandoned

thick socks peeled from your feet, and then the bliss as the soft sand gently massages the soles, the clammy heat disappearing, as underfoot the surface hardens as you step towards the waters’ edge. The soothing, refreshing, cooling of those feet, rewarded at last for their huge hike, as the icy sea envelopes them. The sun glistening down and dancing across the waves. The solitude, the quiet, peaceful tranquillity with blueness stretching ahead as far as the eye can see, as huge blue skies melt into the blue seas below.

The inspiration is endless

The many beautiful patterns and colours of the sand, the rocks, the waves, as the skies meet the sea, and the sea meets the land, and the story unfurls back in the pottery studio. A moment in time, captured through gentle brush strokes, the mixing of colours, dabbing the brushes from paint to ceramics. Lost in this beautiful island. Enjoying its calm serenity.

Step back and enjoy a little Islay time

At Persabus Pottery art is translated onto ceramics, with each piece carefully painted by hand, each range with its own story to share. In the workshop, the painted ceramics are hand glazed, then left to dry, before being sponged ready to be lifted gently into the kiln. The layers and shelves of the kiln are carefully built around each piece with every firing. It is here the magic happens, when the kiln is finally cool enough to open once more. Pieces are gently unloaded then taken across to the studio and photographed for our online shop, ready for you to enjoy.

Pieces of art, inspired by island life

capturing those colours, patterns, and memories onto ceramics for you to take home and enjoy…bringing a little piece of the Hebrides into your home.

Until next time…

Islay Beach
Islay Beach
Islay Beach
Artist painting
Person on beach
sand patterns
pottery
Green glazed ceramics
Kiln
beach range
Flowers

Ground Control to the Happy Farmer

Excuse me if those mighty wheels of the Persabus blog appeared to grind to a halt again

With days flying past at a rate of knots, it has been quite a journey this past month.

In the pottery

those fabulous commissions, and orders have been rolling in. There’s been magazine interviews and photos shoots. It’s been an exciting time in the little studio as the art journey continues to evolve in happy ways.

This month I’m very excited to share all about the studio space at Persabus in an interview with the lovely Kate MacDonald of ‘The Needlesmith Magazine’.

Then there was the lovely visit from the passing Japanese photographer.

I am sure she just called in to browse the pottery ranges, but in no time at all her camera was out and she was clicking away. With the ease of a professional, lenses were hoicked on and off, as camera settings were carefully adjusted, to suit varying angles and heights. I did start to feel incredibly self-conscious, but equally so happy that she really liked my pieces, wanting to spend time capturing an ‘artist’ at work. Recording the different patterns and designs through the varying lights. Gathering photos ready to be pored over and edited before they head off to the lifestyle magazines of Japan, taking a tiny piece of the Hebrides to shores far away.

The Islay weather has been a very mixed bag recently

but with sun shining brightly yesterday,

The annual white washing project recommenced.

Thankfully, things have progressed big style at Persabus. The times when those painting heights were reached by the ‘old-fashioned Hebridean style’ of tying two old ladders together, are a very long and distant memory. Those were the days, when some poor soul would be left balancing on the bottom rung to keep the ladder in place, whilst dodging any AWOL splodges of paint.  One Farmer would be seen trundling his way up into the clouds above, pot of paint and brushes to hand, as if he were on some Beanstalk climbing expedition. (Please don’t try this at home, definitely not a good idea at all).

These days those old heavy paint brushes have been exchanged for a fancy motorised spraying machine, and then there’s the positively ‘space age’ piece of kit, that very happily ‘landed’ in the garden at Persabus. As Dolly arrived with the Handsome Farmer’s tele-handler. A colossal and mighty piece of machinery. With Dolly steering the ‘space machine’ from ‘ground control’, the Happy Farmer could be seen being beamed up to new heights in his life. Well as high as the chimney pots of Persabus anyway, allowing him to indulge in a spot of white washing, all from the safety of a hydraulic platform.

Freshening up the walls on the farm is like maintaining the Forth Road Bridge. Getting them all gleaming and white, before the wild winter storms batter them once more.

Yesterday then, it wasn’t just the walls that were left gleaming.

With a tad of a breeze, and the fancy new spraying machine to hand, even the Happy Farmer looked positively freshened up at the end of the day. It certainly puts a whole new perspective on ‘spray tans’, this farmer’s ‘tan’ was looking positively whiter than white!

Until next time….

Flowers growing
Pottery
Pottery jug and bowl
Farmer walking
Tele-handler
Tele Handler
Two men in the garden
Pottery Bowl
Pottery pieces
Machir Bay

An Islay Summer

We have been swept up on the crest of a wave as July living carried us into the hurly burly dance of an island summertime and then led us on into August.

Just as you thought that the mighty Persabus blog was slipping away off the face of my trusty laptop know that the words have been whirring round in my head but have had to travel with me into the fast lane of island living. The days blurred in that beautiful shimmering sunshine.

Immersed in the holiday season the island is bubbling with happy relaxed people enjoying some ‘Islay time’.

Morning runs through the fields have been filled with the heady scent of wildflowers lighting up the path. The salty sea air clinging in the skies as the heatwave has given way to a fresh breeze and the hedges and trees enjoyed a much needed, although short lived, misty spray of drizzle and mizzle.

Everything is bursting with life.

Smiley, happy people can be seen walking, running, exploring, splashing in those waves. Blobbing, and bobbing in that glorious sunshine.

Paddle boards hover over the still waters of Lochindaal, almighty squawks and huge smiles as they topple, a necessary part of the adventure and fun.

Cyclists wobble along the roads, heavy panniers clinging from the back of their saddles, as others zoom past with the freedom and style of Olympic champions.

Smoke signals rise from the barbeques at Saligo, beckoning us to laze for just a little longer, enjoying the warm golden sands, as juicy steaks and succulent chicken never tasted so good. Beach life grows the appetite, and the calming waters, glistening in the heat, make for the perfect spot for a bite of supper.

Those mackerel are positively jumping from sea to boat, and the lochs are filled with trout.

A time for adventuring, and the Happy Farmer seeks them out. Happening upon a weekend of wild camping expeditions, and we were soon supping on fresh cockles steamed on an open fire enjoying the sunny shores of Killinallan with friends.

Then that refreshing ‘buzz’ of immersing the body into those cool salty waters, before walking across miles of white sandy beaches with the gentle waves washing across the shore. Inquisitive seals, out to play, as they follow our journey.

It has been a magical time of welcoming family, friends, guests and more to the farm at Persabus.

Tonsils have been tickled regularly, ‘sticks’ hoicked, poked and prodded up those nostrils, as regular lateral flow testing has become a part of the normal routine. All doing our bit to keep everyone as safe as possible, allowing at last just a little bit more of a social norm, as the clans have gathered once more.

In the pottery the kilns have been firing on all cylinders, with pottery boxes coming and going, with a steady stream of lovely customers.

It has been a time of madness, with ‘Instagram takeovers’, magazine interviews, and impromptu photo shoots. The juggling of orders, those special commissions, keeping that stock flowing, whilst allowing for creative play. A time of welcoming so many lovely people back again, and all before the magic of that ‘beach time’ glow, a glow that takes us late into those long summer nights.

Everything ups a gear at this magical time of year.

Just as the flies and bees are buzzing, the hedges are bursting with blooms, and the birdsong and chatter couldn’t get any louder. The days stretch on forever and still don’t seem long enough to make the most of this truly amazing season.

Have you booked your Islay time yet?

A warm welcome awaits, as always, from the whole gang at Persabus.

Until next time….

Islay Beach
Bathing in the sea
Boy on tractor
Machir Bay
Sunsetting over the pottery building

Islay’s Garden

It is a cat’s life on the farm at Persabus

Our tigers roam the fields at this time of year. Enjoying a spot of hunting with all the fresh pickings that arrive as the grass begins to lengthen. The fields are a sea of yellow just now, with the brightness of the buttercups gleaming skywards to capture those gorgeous sun’s rays.

On evening walks, two googly eyes appear

spying from the depths of the undergrowth. Carefully studying our every move, before pouncing. Hamishina, our little tiger, catching at our feet, running between our legs, teasing, purring and then insisting on rolling over in our path. Getting under our feet, so she can enjoy those much-loved belly rubs. She would happily skip at our sides and accompany us on the whole journey. So, at this point, she is usually scooped up, returned to the farmhouse, to allow the walk to continue in earnest, without fear of losing one cat along the way, as we venture off the farm, through the woods, and down to the shore.

The colours of the season unfold across the landscape. The delicate flowers, the pops of pink, purple, cream and white set against the grassy vivid greens and yellows. The sun’s rays casting golden lights and deep shadows.

Down at the shoreline, the seals bob in the water

The swans majestic and protective of their young family, as new life emerges all around. The deep blues of the Sound of Islay, the pale bronze and golds of Jura rising in the background.

Craggy rock formations hang with moss and ferns. The lichen spread over thousands of years across their surfaces. The patterns, texture and colours, delicate, wispy flecks, pops of mustard, pale greens, and greys. The atmosphere of those aged rocks against the stillness, with just the sounds of nature as a heron swoops past.

Back in the pottery

and in between all the lovely visitors, and goodness it has been a busy month, and those fabulous orders, I am taking a little time to enjoy the energy and creativity that flows from those evening adventures walking from the farmhouse to the shore. Playing with the patterns and colours, capturing nature’s inspiration as new ranges emerge…’Islay’s Garden’…and suddenly the possibilities seem endless.

With all the wonderful inspiration around why not enjoy exploring your own creative flow?

Head off to the shores of a loch, or a grassy meadow, with a Persabus ‘takeaway pottery’ kit and enjoy an afternoon capturing the vivid colours of nature’s designs onto your own piece of pottery in a beautiful setting, before heading back for glazing and firing. We will guide you through the process and send you on your way with a beautiful selection of colours, full instructions and all materials.

Happy days. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Until next time…

cat rolling in grass
buttercups
River flowing
Sound of Islay
lichen
Persabus Pottery Studio
Lichen patterned milk bottle vase
Pottery bowl
Flowers at Persabus
Dog and pottery

That Gaping Hole

It has been a difficult few days…

I know she was an old girl. I know she was ready to go…but ouch, that huge gaping hole…

Like an old pair of shoes

she fitted so comfortably into our lives. Had skilfully trained us all up to meet her every need. Always a huge smile on those chops as she came bouncing out of her kennel each morning, tripping you up in her haste to roll over onto her back for a belly rub. Always begging at your heels for whatever tasty snacks were on the go. Always fussing. Always in the way and always just the way we all loved her.

She arrived on the farm, a little tornado full of mischief

A surprise for the children, my parents kindly collected her from her Ayrshire family and delivered this squirming, wriggling bundle of fluff into our lives. Her introduction to life at Persabus began with her sizing up and taking on the  Happy Farmer. Wielding one of his seemingly huge boots, nearly as big as her stocky little puppy self, she hauled it, dragged it, fought with it with all her little might until she had it sat in the middle of the sitting room rug. She then proceeded to sink her sharp little needle-like teeth into the soft leather. One eye cocked on the Happy Farmer looking for a response as she soothed her ‘puppy gums’, little tail wagging ten to the dozen. She had those puppy teeth ready to clench into anything that dared to take her on.

It really did not take her more than a few seconds to endear herself to the whole clan, except the Happy Farmer, who could see all of the wonderful trouble that lay on the path ahead. Not a fan of dogs as pets, Ruby knew it would not be long before she had him chasing after her every demand too.

Part of the Persabus welcoming committee

Ruby would always take it upon herself to sneak round to meet new guests on the farm. She would belly wriggle across the yard before flipping herself over onto her back, at their feet, a huge grin across her face, as she demanded belly rubs. She could suss out the dog-loving guests, and happily turned a deaf ear whenever the opportunity of such a meeting arose, making sure she never missed out on that infamous ‘Ruby welcome’.

On hot summer days she would sneak across to the pottery for a nosey, happily adopting a family, she would sprawl out her long body in the sunshine beside her new friends at the picnic benches, enjoying all the treats of the day, as they would feed her cakes and crusts. Oblivious to her presence as I served more teas, I would venture over to say hello to the pooch on the lawn, and realise it was my own Ruby, who should have been tucked up in the garden at the back of the farmhouse.

She quickly became my little shadow

everywhere I turned Ruby would be following. Lazing out beside me as I weeded flowerbeds, smiling as she sniffed at pottery pieces on photoshoots, running at my heels through the grass, up the hills and down to the shore.

The farm was her home. A place where she enjoyed absolute freedom, during lockdown, with all of the family home. She couldn’t have enjoyed more love, more snuggles, so many walks every day, and of course lots of her favourite belly rubs.

She had perfected the

‘I don’t want to go in my kennel just now’ routine

down to a tee. She would fix her eyes on mine, stand perfectly still, and give me that ‘Ruby look’. If that did not work and the word ‘kennel’ was repeated, she would look again, before slowly dropping her head, then those shoulders, and then ambling one paw in front of the other, she would take two small steps, before stopping again, to repeat the process.

How could I resist?

Ruby always got her own way. She refused point blank to stay in the farmhouse at night though unless she was ill, on those occasions she would lie on her seat, staying firmly put.  You always knew when she was starting to recover as she would once again jump up to go out at night. Even wakening the Happy Farmer in the middle of the night, demanding to be let back out to her own bed. Latterly we had to lock her out of her kennel knowing we would struggle to convince her to come out again.

I have tried to remember the downsides, to see if that would ease the painful gaping hole. The times Ruby arrived back from her run, caked literally in thick wet manure, a huge smile on her face. She loved a good scent around her. Countless times I would tussle with her, struggling to hose her down as she looked on sorrowfully, soap suds everywhere, one very bedraggled looking hound.

The times she would take off after a rabbit and just ignore my shouts.

Those muddy paws. Her smelly wet coat.

It’s been a difficult few days. I know she was an old girl. I know it was time for her to go, but it never makes it any easier.

Lying in the sunshine, enjoying those lovely belly rubs, under the washing line, she peacefully slipped away….

‘Miss Ruby Rose Berry Bramble Rhubarb Rhupinder Maisie Tilly Lilly Coll Snuts Jetta Dusty Posy Cocoa Cola Irn Bru Shadow Molly Fletcher’, yes there were a few issues on which name to choose at the time, and the kids could simply not agree, so to keep everyone happy we kept them all in and she ended up with a very posh, long list of beautiful names… but was definitely a ‘Ruby’ on most days.

I miss my old ‘rug’ dreadfully, losing one of the clan is just the pits…so, give your furry friends an extra wee snuggle today.

Thankfully, Bramble dog is not feeling our pain.

Instead, she has happily stepped into her new role as top dog, snoring away contentedly in her chair, waiting patiently to go for her run….

Until next time…

Puppy chewing a boot
Puppy Sleeping
Smiling dog
Black dog
Dog on beach
Dog walk on beach