October Restrictions on Islay

With tight restrictions in place during the pandemic, October on Islay, and the pottery remained busy with the fantastic support from our lovely local community. The restrictions allowed the Happy Farmer to spend time working on restoring his childhood tractor, and by October the tractor was featured in The Scottish Farmer, sharing its fantastic story.


The blog has taken a bit of a back seat 

We have been ‘cooking with gas’ in the pottery. Our Halloween ghosts and ghouls in the form of our ‘pottery takeaway’ painting boxes have literally been flying off the shelves. The first two days saw us sell out of stock completely. Thankfully we were able to restock quickly as more happy and excited children could be seen clutching their fabulous spooky Halloween creations as they left the pottery this week.  

From the depths of the haunted kiln at Persabus 

skulls, spooks, spiders and haunted tree trunks have emerged. Pieces, all glazed and fired, ready to take pride of place on windowsills in homes. Flickering brightly, with the addition of tealights, as the nights really begin to draw in with Halloween approaching, adding a warm glow to those beautiful autumn nights. 

The support from our wonderful community and beyond in these crazy times has been fantastic

From pottery boxes, commissions and orders. To sales and a friendly chat, muffled from the face masks. It has been lovely to see everyone again. Do get in touch if you are looking for an extra special gift or some original and unique ceramics for Christmas gifts. Am I allowed to mention the dreaded ‘C’ word yet? And do keep an eye out for our ‘Christmas Pottery Takeaways’ which are coming soon. 

The Happy Farmer also has a spring in his step

and a huge smile spreading from cheek to cheek. ‘Auld Lizzie’ his childhood tractor has a starring role in the week’s The Scottish Farmer magazine. 

The article recounts the story of ‘Auld Lizzie’ from when she arrived at the farm back in the 1950s. My late father in law had at the time been informed his new tractor would be arriving on ‘tomorrow’s boat’, only to then be told ‘tomorrow’s boat was fully booked’ (some island traditions continue to this day). Instead ‘Auld Lizzie’ was shipped on the Loch Frisa, a steamer, from the Kingston Docks in Glasgow to Port Askaig,  where she was lifted by the ship’s jib, slung in a net, across onto the pier, to serve her time at Persabus. 

She was the first four-wheel drive tractor to come to Islay. The Happy Farmer’s tractor throughout his childhood years. He could often be seen ploughing the fields, missing out on school, whenever the opportunity of tractor work arose on the farm. 

Eventually as newer tractors took over, ‘Auld Lizzie’ lay in rusty bits around the farm for fifty or so years, until lockdown arrived, and with more time on his hands the Happy Farmer set about restoring her to her former glory. 

It is not the article though that has really given the Happy Farmer his huge happy grin and an extra spring in his step, but that after all these years, and all his hard work, new life has been breathed into the very springs of his old tractor.  

Finally, he could step back and enjoy seeing the younger members of the clan, after a few shaky starts, take off around the fields of Persabus on his childhood tractor. 

This week we have enjoyed the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets

The rich and vibrant colours of a hebridean autumn as the Paps of Jura have been lit up in golds and reds as the sun lowers in the sky. Each day when the pottery door has closed, I have been off with the dogs, for rambles through the woods, making the most of the last daylight hours, as in a month’s time it will simply be too dark to venture out after work. 

With the Barnacle Geese home on the farm too, once again we can enjoy watching them from the farmhouse.  Flying high above the field in close formation. Before lowering those wings. Spreading out their webbed feet, and then ever so gently parachuting down, slowly, for a soft landing in the field below.

What remains in the front field it would seem is now ‘goose paradise’ as they can be seen heartily tucking into the leftovers from the crop of barley. 

Until next time…