Downsizing on the horizon

May 2, 2021

We had never planned to do bed & breakfast until we depart this world and unfortunately, Garybuie is not a house for two! So, time to downsize. We love the glen, both the scenery and the people. However, there’s nothing for sale here so we formed a cunning plan! We decided to demolish the old church and in its place, build a small, energy efficient home. When complete, we will sell Garybuie and move into the wee house.

Work began on the 8th March and will be completed by the 11th October.

The joiners are due to arrive in a couple of days, so we’ll begin to move upwards!

Death of a phone box

February 10, 2021

A big change here at Garybuie today, not to mention the Glen as a whole. The removal of our phone box! To be fair, it hasn’t been used, for the phone at least, for several years. Even so, as we sit right beside it, it’s an excellent landmark to use in directions to find us. Have to think of something else now!

If we had a pound for every photograph taken of the phone box by tourists, we’d have retired some time ago!

The beginning of the end.

September 7, 2020

There are huge changes in the pipeline for Garybuie. No details for you yet, but the first step is the construction of a new wee house for the Silkies in preparation for the demolition of their current abode…The Old Church. Lots of pre-construction painting, but today there’s been some progress. It’s got to be the poshest chicken coop we’ve ever had, but will those chickens be impressed?

The dreaded virus

June 16, 2020

Looking at the image above, nothing appears to have changed in the Glen. Of course we all know that things have changed greatly with the arrival of Coronovirus.

Usually at this time of year, we would be working flat out with the B&B. Not so this year and we won’t have any guests at all until the 15th July at the earliest. It feels very strange. One thing’s for sure, there’s lots more time to maintain the house and garden!

There are pros and cons to this whole viral invasion. Of course without doubt, the thousands of deaths and seriously sick people, along with the draining effect on our wonderful National Health Service and the economy in general, are devastating to our nation as a whole. On a personal level, we have been very lucky, with our family and friends staying safe at this point.

The most serious con from our point of view is a major drop in income. But on a more lighthearted note, NO HAIRDRESSERS is a big problem! Hence the “No.7” after arriving at my wit’s end

There are however some major pros to the situation! Aside from having the time to keep on top of things on the home front, lock-down meant that we could only exercise close to home. Luckily, we have a lot on our doorstep! So, finally, after 17 years, I managed to climb to the top of the Ridge…and what views!

Now we are allowed to travel slightly further afield, so out came the bike and we’ve managed to get out for a couple of picnics, enjoying the wildlife and even having the time for some sketching!

Skye is a strange place at the moment: roads are deserted, apart from numerous cyclists, hot-spot car parks are empty and there’s barely a soul out and about. Not good for tourism but must be a plus point for the over used beauty spots. Personally, I’d like to see a shift in the type of visitors to Skye: fewer “box-tickers” just looking for a selfie with an iconic backdrop and more people interested in the outdoors. Walking, cycling, bird and wildlife watching used to be the main pastimes of holiday makers. Let’s step back in time a wee bit…

The real thing

April 30, 2019

Chose some unsuspecting Dutch guests as guinea pigs for our new Outlander breakfast the other day. It was a hit apparently!

Outlander breakfast
The ‘Nettle Rolls’ were in fact spinach rolls because it was too early in the season for the nettles. However, the nettles are now growing vigorously, so today I did some harvesting and made our first batch of THE REAL THING! So, here’s a pictorial guide as to how they were made…

Essential tools! (plus wellies!)

Essential ingredients – just the topmost leaves.

Blanch for 2-3 mins, drain, refresh, wring dry and chop.

Roll prepared dough into 12 inch square, brush with butter, cover with nettles, finely grated lemon rind and chopped mixed nuts. Roll into a sausage shape.

Cut the roll into 12 rounds. Place on parchment in tray, cover with cling film and allow to rise somewhere warm until doubled in size. Brush with melted butter then bake at 180 C for about 20 mins. 

Et voila!

 

We have some unsuspecting American guests for breakfast tomorrow, so who knows…

P.S. It’s a sweet dough, very similar to Chelsea buns

 

Chilly day out

April 14, 2019

The Bed and Breakfast thing is really frustrating this early in the season. We’re all fired up, smiles and tourist information at the ready, only to receive a trickle of guests. It’s good in one way as it means that it’s a gentle reintroduction to our breakfast routines, not to mention finding our way around the new kitchen! On the other hand, it’s all a bit of an anticlimax. So, with the weather being blue-sky beautiful yesterday, Kevin suggested that we took a wee trip out on the Bike.

A trip which involved a ferry ride from Armadale to the mainland, with some lunch en route and a pootle around the coastline just south of Mallaig, the ferry port. It has to be said there was a fairly stiff breeze which tried its best to penetrate our biking togs but nonetheless, we arrived at Armadale feeling fairly comfortable.

Securing bikes before sailing

 

To cut a long story short, the ferry was delayed due to some plastic having got wrapped around one of the propellers. We soon discovered that no matter where we stood, the wind managed to find us and make a thoroughly good job of chilling us down while we waited for the next ferry, a tub of a thing which appeared to have all indoor seating situated in a very efficient wind tunnel! Needless to say, by the time we reached our destination for lunch, we were almost as blue as the sea!

Anyway, lunch and several cups of tea later, we were sufficiently thawed to continue our exploration of the coast, although with thanks to the ferry delay, we had less time than planned before our return sailing. But my, what a beautiful coastline…

 

At least there was a conveniently positioned container to shelter behind while we waited for the return ferry! Very cold, but still a lovely day out. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to return, with a picnic maybe, when the weather is warmer!

The Outlander effect

March 24, 2019

Many of our Bed and Breakfasts guests are fans of the Outlander series, quite a few of them visiting film location sites during their Scottish holiday. In fact, Diana Gabaldon, the author of the series, recently received a major award from the Scottish Tourist Board for her significant contribution to Scottish Tourism. So I thought it would be fun to add an Outlander breakfast option to our menu!

 

CODDLED EGGS SERVED WITH CRISPY BACON AND TOASTED NETTLE ROLL

 

The recipe is taken from¬† the ‘Outlander Kitchen’, compiled by Theresa Carle-Sanders. This early in the year, there’s not a nettle to be found, so I substituted spinach but come the spring, (PLEASE come spring!), I shall be out there with my rubber gloves, harvesting the abundant nettle crop around Garybuie. They will certainly be a very locally produced breakfast ingredient!

 

It will be interesting to see if the new breakfast will be as successful as the series! If not then never mind, at least the egg coddlers make a pretty collection!

 

Not so bird-brained after all?

March 18, 2019

Stupid, foolish and scatter-brained, or maybe just a head full of feathers? As far as our Silkies go, I’m not so sure. You may remember that all three of our girls went broody at the same time, Thelma abandoning her nest after a couple of days, even though she sat tight alongside BB and Louise until hatching.

Last year, we noticed that Louise was having trouble with her sight; bumping into tufts of grass and tall weeds, needing to see the jug of grain/mealworms up close at treat-time. The bridge between her home in the old church and the main garden proved in fact, to be a bridge too far. She stayed within the environs of the church therefore, with occasional visits from Thelma and Wee man – rarely grumpy, granny BB!

A bridge too far

So, I’m wondering, is Thelma aware of her sister’s problem? Could she sense that she would be of more use to the newly hatched chicks if she stuck around to get to know them? You may remember that BB stole Louise’s chicks on the first day and six non-bantam chicks are a real handful for a wee silkie mum. Did Thelma anticipate this? You may think that I’m crediting Thelma with far too much of the grey matter, but there are stories out there of animals sensing ill health or vulnerability of other beasties, even of a different species! A certain dog named Boo, over on The Farmy in Illinois is just such a caring canine, relishing taking care of orphan lambs, piglets and kittens.

At four weeks old the chicks are becoming very adventurous, needing as may pairs of eyes as possible to keep them out of danger. So whether I’m right or wrong, Thelma has certainly turned out to be a godsend for BB, even if it’s just to cover the youngsters should they need a nap!

So, although Louise looks a wee bit lost on her doorstep, no doubt wondering where her babies are, all is well come bedtime as she still gets a couple of her offspring who snuggle beneath her for the night!

P.S. It has to be said that at this age, chicks are at their least appealing! A bit like gangly teenagers really; legs and necks too long and their clothes not fitting too well!

 

Fifty shades of grey?

February 28, 2019

It’s certainly the perfect description of Skye’s appearance today. Not a grey, miserable kind of day. A calm, restful, utterly peaceful kind of day.

 

The light was soft and not a whisper of wind. Birdsong was clear and far reaching. Grey waves under a grey sky, rolling softly on to the shore.

 

We had no power in the glen today because of maintenance work, so decided to have a day out to Talisker bay. We had the place to ourselves. The kind of gentle day which is good for the soul.

Chick-napping!

February 18, 2019

BB and Louise hatched three chicks each on Saturday. A motley crew for sure!

 

 

 

 

But can you believe it, that rascally BB has kidnapped Louise’s chicks! Louise doesn’t seem overly perturbed and calls her chicks to food, which they readily respond to.

But cuddling up with mum appears to be not an option! Things might change as the chicks start to grow because as you know, these are not bantam Silkie chicks but BIG GUYS, so BB will soon be unable to cover all six. Maybe poor Louise will get a look in then, or even Thelma, who is still waiting in the wings, just dying to be of help!

 

Silkie chicks

(Thelma is on the right)

 

 


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