Showing posts from April, 2019

The Crarae Cuckoo

On our journey home yesterday we stopped briefly at Crarae Gardens for a morning stroll. It is a Himalayan Glen, originally planted by three generations of the Campbells of Succoth and preserved by the National Trust for Scotland since 2002. Between Loch Fyne to the South and Barr Mor Hill to the North, we walked up and down both sides of Crarae Burn pausing for photographs. There are reputed to be 600 different rhododendrons in the garden and visiting, as we did, in late April the ubiquitous bluebells and the rhododendron blooms provided contrasting colours around the cascading stream. Many of the specimens are from China where the rhododendron is known as the cuckoo flower. Yesterday we learned that hundreds of years ago the King of Sichuan was killed and returned as a cuckoo. Flying round and round, he cried out "cuckoo" so often that his throat began to bleed, dripping to the ground beneath where each drop grew into a rhododendr

Restoration Project 6

  There's just something about Highland Cattle I may not have made a recent blog post about our somewhat overwhelming retirement project but I can confirm that it continues regardless. Indeed we returned today from another trip to Scotland, the aim being to complete the necessary work to get the boat launched off next month. The prospect of denying Mister E a second season's sailing really doesn't feature especially with designated crewman, the eldest, returning from New Zealand for a month. Hence it's been all hands on deck in a desperate attempt to finish. I confess however that on this visit "all hands" for the most part meant just Mister E's as sub ten degree temperatures severely hindered my ability to paint inside lockers although I did manage to complete those in the forward cabin. Hopefully we'll find an opportune week to spend in a marina over the summer to paint and varnish whilst leaving the installation of some of the elec

Defiant Activity

Isn't the weather glorious this weekend? It is strange how it can almost seem to jump from one season to another overnight. There I was in my last blog post bemoaning the fact that I've been able to do very little in the garden and then suddenly the cold northerly wind shifts direction and is replaced by a southerly airflow and warm sunshine. So warm that I've not only been catching up with those jobs in the garden but wearing shorts to work in. Imagine doing that in those "professional with a desk" days! It is certainly a little freaky just how high the thermometer has reached especially after the cold start to the month. Now I know that climate change and weather aren't the same thing but surely even the most sceptical must be feeling some solidarity with the stance being taken by Rebellion Extinction activists on the streets of London this week. Here in the hinterlands, however, rather than glueing ourselves to trains and pavements we have

Massacre in the Garden

Anyone reading some of my recent blog posts may well have appreciated the underlying anger at our current political situation. Anger is a powerful emotion and whilst it can spur us into action, irate reactions aren't generally the most productive. I had hoped by now to be working off my own wrath in the garden amongst the healing power of nature. The flower beds have been springing into life for several weeks, our hedge has turned green but the vegetable patch still needs preparing for the crops that I am going to ask it to nurture over the next few months. Since retiring, March and April have usually been busy months in the garden and I had anticipated that 2019 would be the same. Unfortunately plummeting temperatures, frosty mornings and a cold, biting wind have thwarted my intentions. I have tilled some of the soil and applied fertiliser but, generally speaking, gardening this year has so far been restricted to the raising of seeds in propagators. Hopefully i

Brexit and Retirement

Image by Foto-Rabe from Pixabay Brexit and retirement; the two were never meant to be synonymous. In fact when I retired in 2014, difficult as it may be to believe , who had even considered the concept of Brexit or factored it into their retirement plans? Now, entering the final few days before the postponed exit date, it is hard not to be caught up in the turmoil. Will there be another delay or, despite the best efforts of those working tirelessly to try to find a solution, will we actually crash out without a deal on 12th April? Whilst the rest of the world looks on at the UK with incredulity, on the surface, life here continues as normal. Or does it? The press are now reporting that civil servants are being offered counselling, more than 60% of the population feels stressed or anxious and you only have to take a look at a politician to see the effect it is having on them. Throughout this sorry debacle experts have always countered against the cliff edge ending of exi