An Islay lockdown

An Islay Lockdown and

It felt as if the world had stopped spinning when the lockdown came

A mad race to get everyone safely home and suddenly everything seemed to stop. We disappeared into a bubble of family life on the farm and got a chance to really step back and appreciate everything around us.

From my very first trip to the farm,

when I had only just met the Happy Farmer, quite a number of years ago now, I was struck by the huge warmth of hospitality, the friendliness and kind hearted good humour that just encompassed me at Persabus.

The farm has such a long history in the Fletcher family and has always been a magnet for parties and gatherings. Memories of the huge pans of soup, pasta, casseroles, and stews on the go of yesteryear. Scones and home baking would flow from the oven as people came and went, family and friends, there was always a welcome, plenty of laughter and fun, and never a shortage of beds. That welcome, that hospitality, those happy times of friendship, and good craic, with food and drink flowing, making for very happy memories.

It has become a tradition that we have happily continued and prided ourselves on at Persabus.

It was just such a natural progression then, for the Happy Farmer and I to extend that welcome beyond family and friends as we began to welcome visitors and guests to our home.

Originally, we started out with self-catering lets in Persabus Cottage. Much building work later and we were soon welcoming the world, not only to the Cottage, but to enjoy Persabus Millhouse and then our Farmhouse accommodation suite. Our welcome spilling over into the pottery as more and more people called by, more and more lasting friendships were made, more happy days and evenings spent enjoying meeting so many people from so many varied backgrounds and lives, each with their own fascinating contributions and stories.

Back in the day my late father in law learnt so much of Islay’s history and his people from sitting as a young boy, at the fireplace with his old uncles who lived in Persabus Cottage.

Latterly with so many people travelling to spend time on Islay and holiday with us at Persabus, we have wined, dined, danced, and laughed our way through lots of happy gatherings and quiet evenings with some truly amazing people. People we have been lucky enough to share our island home with.

So, when the world seemed to stop, we missed the friendship, the buzz and energy of our lovely guests and visitors. We kept in touch, via social media, phone calls, zooms and emails. We kept our fingers and toes crossed and hoped so much that everyone would remain safe.

We also got a real chance to step back. To stop, and really appreciate what makes Persabus such a special place to stay.

The huge beautiful colours of the amazing sunrises of the early spring mornings. The pinks, reds, purples and oranges stretching across the sky line, just above the sea and the hills, as the huge ball of a yellow sun rises slowly up behind the Paps of Jura, spreading her rays across the turquoise waves below.

The dawn chorus and excited frenzy of the birds arriving home to the farm to build their nests, hatch their eggs and nurture their young.

We got to really appreciate the wide-open space of the farm. The views of the sea and hills. The peace and quiet, away from the hum drum of the busy world, a ‘quiet corner’, secluded among spectacular scenery, each day a myriad of different colours. Huge skies and those amazing cloud formations.

The beautiful walks from the farmhouse,

along the tracks through the woodland, past the Lochs. Up to slate bench, which sits high above the Sound of Islay, the perfect viewpoint to watch the ferry sailing down the Sound. The walks down to the pebble beaches. Watching the seals and swans.

Through the fields and down beyond the Distillery at Caol ila, to the remains of the beach houses and fisherman’s huts of bygone days.

The Happy Farmer’s good humour, craic and antics have kept us all going.

Flower beds have been tended to, and we have had time to grow a vegetable garden once again, which is now brimming with tasty treats for the kitchen.

The old barn has been cleared and the pottery workshop is getting a huge make over, which seems to be morphing into the Happy Farmer’s very own man cave, such is his excitement of moving forward in the ‘new normal’. He is already working out his safe distanced ‘socials’ as he looks forward to welcoming his friends back to Persabus once again.

Lockdown has had its highs, but also its lows, as we have had to move through these strange and uncertain times.

We now emerge into the ‘new normal’.

Keeping everyone safe is our absolute priority as we are already moving forward with excited caution, getting ready….to be able to offer you a warm and hearty welcome to come and stay on the farm at Persabus soon.

Stay safe.

Until next time…