Islay’s festival of Music and Malt has begun. The island is bouncing. So many happy people have yet again made the journey over to Islay to celebrate with the musicians, the dancers, the chefs, the distilleries and of course the islanders themselves. There are whisky academies, master classes, nosings, ceilidhs, gin tastings and cocktails, special bottlings and limited-edition releases.
The island’s hospitality service goes into overdrive at this time of year as beds get completely booked up. Restaurants and bars work alongside pop up bakery stalls, pie stalls, seafood stalls, craft tents and this year the iconic ceilidh bands of Skerryvore and Trail West have also made space in their busy schedules and travelled across to get the crowds ‘heching and teuching’ as they provide amazing first class entertainment.
I missed the opening of the festival. The Happy Farmer was left ‘sailing the good ship Persabus’, looking after all our guests and running the pottery. He was left in charge of welcoming our new guests and saying fond farewells to guests who were leaving. He obviously did a good job as I came home to a huge box of chocolates left as a thank you from a couple who had been staying at Persabus for their honeymoon.
Without a backward glance I was away to Edinburgh. I had a very important date. One I would not have missed for anything. I was at the National Museum of Scotland, where I was treated to an amazing evening showcasing the work of some of Scotland’s finest and most talented young designers. The ECA fashion show. The highlight of which, for me, aside from the outstanding graduate collections, was to see our youngest daughter’s designs hit the catwalk for the first time. A team of professional models led the charge. I was hugely impressed. The venue, the professionalism and then those collections. It was inspirational.
Packing up halls and squeezing nine months of university living into a few suitcases followed as youngest and I got an early flight home to Islay at the weekend. As she returns to her summer job at the distillery as a seasonal tour guide, we hit the island’s whisky festival in top gear. I therefore had to miss my annual visit to Bruichladdich open day on Sunday. The Happy Farmer and our eldest stepped up to the mark. I asked for photos for the Persabus social media. They left full of enthusiasm promising faithfully to capture the day’s events on camera. As the festival spirit took hold, and the party spilled out from Bruichladdich and on to the bars of Port Charlotte, the long day became a longer evening, as the buzz and the craic continued into the wee small hours.
Today I have the one photo they remembered to take. One photo between the pair of them, but as the saying goes ‘every picture tells a story’, in this case it’s the pictures that weren’t taken that tell the best stories.
Until next time…
ECA photo credit: Gareth Easton