And the Hair was Cut

‘Strike a pose’

The Persabus welcoming committee have been out in force

Ever since the lockdown restrictions were eased you would think those Highland cows had received some sort of inside knowledge. Telepathic waves between Scot Gov and those Highland ladies. They can be seen posing away, just behind the hill gate, putting on their absolute best pouts, waiting eagerly to welcome all our guests and visitors back to Persabus again. They boast the absolute best in lockdown looks. Their eyes peeping away through those beautiful long wispy fringes and windswept locks. With hairdressers re-opening once again the Persabus girls were all queueing up to get lockdown hair trimmed and coiffed.

Racing home on the ferry

on Saturday afternoon, after a whistle stop city visit to move youngest  from one student digs to another, and the Happy Farmer was managing Persabus HQ from the very portable office of the MV Finlaggan, as he sailed home across the Sound. At short notice he received the very welcome news that the clipping team were heading to Persabus later that afternoon. A few quick phone calls and the Singing Shepherd and eldest were soon swiftly organised into gathering the flock and popping them neatly into the various pens.

There is always huge excitement when the shearers arrive

at Persabus with their portable clipping station, which handily comes on a trailer towed at the back of a van. It is a busy few hours as sheep are shedded and sorted, before being loaded up the ramp in single file. The clippers, shears at the ready, harnesses on, seem to dance expertly around the sheep. Flipping them over onto their backs, as tummies are trimmed, before casting them over and onto their sides. Electric shears buzzing and shaving away. The shearers have it down to a fine art and a sheep’s fleece is removed in one piece in a matter of seconds. They make it look so easy and yet the reality is hard manual labour, testing muscles and joints to the limits. However, with a few helping hands, the whole exercise runs like clockwork as sheep can be seen squashing their way up the ramp, a quick pamper session on the platform, and those ladies are soon positively skipping and jumping back down the shoots, their cumbersome heavy fleeces shed once and for all.

Team Persabus were ‘cooking with gas’

Whilst the Happy Farmer and crew were at the sheep fank, and I was knee deep in duvets and sanitiser in the cottages, back in the farmhouse kitchen, youngest had taken over the Aga. Lots of  chopping and mixing, garlic and spices, and a huge pot of bolognaise was soon bubbling away and at the ready for ‘close of play’. Washed down with a few beers in the garden at a social distance and the ritual that has been part of farming life at Persabus each summer for generations was over for another year.

Life on the farm has upped a gear in these past few days

After weeks of living in a bubble, suddenly it has become a frenzy of guidelines, protocol sheets, spec sheets, lists and tick sheets all flying at a rate of knots from our sturdy ‘hot to trot’ printer.

PPE has been donned, cottages have been cleared of games, books, ornaments and extras. Cushions and throws have been carefully labelled and packaged away. Everything, including the Happy Farmer, has been washed, scrubbed, and polished meticulously from top to bottom, before being wiped, then re-wiped with sanitisers and disinfectants. The results are nothing short of ‘gleaming’ and as our first guests since lockdown left today with huge smiles on their faces we are indeed moving into the new normal ‘full steam ahead’.

A week of misty, wet days had not dampened their spirits

or lessened their holiday experience at Persabus. As fellow farmers, they enjoyed the chance to get away from it all, after the hectic demands of a busy lambing and calving season. Relaxing in front of the toasty Rayburn in Persabus Cottage, with a few socially distanced drinks, and they had a chance to really unwind with a good rest and a fabulous island holiday. The chat went on long into the evenings. There was a ceilidh or two and suddenly it felt so good to once again be able to welcome people back to enjoy the way of life at Persabus.

I hope you manage to ‘escape’ soon and a warm welcome awaits you on our farm if you happen to find yourself yearning for a taste of the Hebrides.

Until next time…