Eventful week – not all events good!

The BeastIt’s been quite an eventful week since our return to Skye, but not all the events have been happy ones. Things were running smoothly for the first couple of days; holiday laundry out of the way, meeting up with the Garybuie creatures once more and even fitting in a couple of hours painting. Then, a presence we’ve not heard from for a while, decided to remind us that it’s still around and still has an attitude. The Beast. After last year’s encounter with the Fire Brigade, when solidified tar fell down the chimney and caught fire in the flue, we decided to plan ahead and arrange for the chimney-sweep to come and clear any potential hazards. But, he didn’t return our calls/emails and we suspected that he was ill/on holiday (serious knee problems it turns out), so, no swept chimney. On our return, I’ll swear that The Beast had an aura of malevolence, like a darkly brooding Jabba the Hutt, although Kevin does often accuse me of “having too much imagination woman”! Even so, we kept a wary eye on the flue thermometer and Kevin diligently removed any falling tar ‘meteorites’. However, even though everything seemed to be hunky-dory, secret plans were seemingly afoot behind that inexpressive façade. On Tuesday evening – the one evening when Kevin works late at the library and after burning happily for three days – the same night of the week as last year’s combustive calamity, the iron hulk grinned (I’m sure) and commenced a repeat performance but THIS time by stealth, not even raising its own temperature by one degree! Yes, it squatted there, looking all peaceful and efficient but just as Kevin was about to go out the door, the phone rang. It was a neighbour who asked, “Do you know that there are flames shooting out of your chimney?” Well, no actually. “KEVIIIIN!”


  • Douse the flames
  • Shut down stove’s air supply
  • Closely observe chimney along with its pyrotechnical display and its newly acquired crack followed by dramatic explosion into cascading, terracotta fragments coming to rest outside the kitchen door. (Pyrotechnics continuing)

fragmentsUnfortunately, it was a gale force wind (Gale force 10 in fact) that evening, which didn’t help matters, feeding the fire wit oxygen aplenty. Gradually though, the offending tar burned itself out and all went cold. And The Beast sulked. At least we didn’t need to call the Fire Brigade!

On Friday, the chimney sweep arrived, swept the chimney and installed a new, wider chimney-pot, which he thinks might be the answer to our problems. Apparently, the other pot got narrower towards the top and he thinks that gases were encouraged to condense and solidify within the chimney, rather than escaping as they should. Today, we’ve re-ignited The Beast for the first time and surprisingly, it’s now burning at a much higher temperature. In the past, we’ve struggled to get above 350 degrees but now look!


And that’s with the air vents partly closed, so maybe the wider pot theory is correct. Early days yet though, it’s more likely that the iron brute is lulling us into a false sense of security!

Onto happier events now. This week, January 30th in fact, was our tenth anniversary living on the Isle of Skye! Celebrations were called for so we had a supper/wee get-together of some of our friends and neighbours last night. Dorinha, our nearest neighbour, made a delicious, chocolate and raspberry-filled anniversary cake to mark the occasion…


Also, to help mark the occasion, I dug out some photographs of when we first arrived. Here are a few before and after shots of the garden for all you green-fingered/self-sustaining readers of Garybuie’s blog!

The veg plot, then…

veg plot

…and now.

Ready for planting

This ‘jungle’ was situated along the right-hand fence area on the picture above…




…and now…


No forseeable events for this coming week, but who knows? Kevin suggested that we should try to invoke some good karma surrounding you-know-what, by re-naming it Beauty. I don’t think so though; once a beast, always a beast as far as I’m concerned, but at least it’s on its best behaviour for now…

The Beast


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7 Responses to “Eventful week – not all events good!”

  1. cecilia Says:

    Absolutely once a beast always a beast, just watch that squatter closely. Spring is coming? Isn’t it?.. c

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Oh I hope so! We have snowdrops making an appearance in the garden and other bulbs showing their first shoots but even so, we have horizontal, freezing hail today – not very spring-like! Keep warm,

  2. souldipper Says:

    Och…that’s scary. I rely on my airtight to take the chill off the house so i don’t have to turn up the thermostat. I’d be lost if I had to worry about having the chimney catch fire. I really hope this change resolves the issue.

    Happy Skye-versary!

    • garybuie01 Says:

      I have no idea what an ‘airtight’ is but I wish I had one! So far The Beast is behaving impeccably – we’ll see how long that lasts! Thanks for the anniversary wishes!

      • souldipper Says:

        It’s another name for a wood stove – basically like yours. They are very air-tight so burn very well. They are free standing or can be inserts for those inefficient fireplaces we used to think were wonderful.

        Mine is an insert – placed inside the old fireplace, sealed off well – and uses the fireplace chimney.

      • garybuie01 Says:

        Obviously yours is more of a Beauty than Beast Amy!

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