Posts Tagged ‘B&B’

A brief 2018 re-cap and looking forward…

January 17, 2019

I’ll begin by wishing you a belated Happy New Year and hoping that this won’t be the only post from Garybuie for 2019! This feels a bit deja vue-ish I have to admit, but I always start out with good intentions and then proceed to get swallowed up by major refurbishment projects, followed by increasingly busy B&B seasons. However, the D.I.Y issues were completed before Christmas this year, so I now have until the 1st April to re-charge my batteries, with a couple of time-saving plans thrown into the B&B mix!

2018 was another busy year in terms of visitors, April now being the only month when our three rooms aren’t filled pretty much every day. We also had a successful chicken breeding program, using both our incubator as well as the services of our ever helpful Silkies! Bruce was responsible for most of our season’s chicks, although in other respects he wasn’t the best of cockerels. He wasn’t great at getting his girls to bed so many of them tended to stay out partying well beyond bedtime, perching on top of bushes blethering and being completely uncooperative when we came to usher them coop-wards.



So, it was time to go online for eggs to incubate, this time Blue-Laced Wyandottes, with a view to rearing a more authoritative rooster! You can see our lacey youngsters below, perching with some pals.

Lord Lacey (A.K.A. Denis – more on that another day!) is now our resident cockerel, besides Wee Man of course, and so far his behaviour and crowd control are impeccable!

Probably the most time-consuming aspect of running the Bed and Breakfast is the laundry. Many of our guests are ferry passengers staying just one night before their sailing. Consequently, we calculated that laundry duties probably take an average of two hours per day, sometimes still pressing bed linen as the new day’s guests are arriving. We have a neighbour who runs a guest house/self-catering cottage and she sends her laundry out. She invited me to ‘piggy-back’ on her laundry service to see what we thought. What we thought was…WONDERFUL! The particular service didn’t cater for smaller B&Bs, but this year they are, so for this season I have my own contract with them – YIPEEEE! It’s amazing what a difference those couple of extra hours make. Not only is there more time to keep on top of outdoor chores, but it also means that we can occasionally get out for one of our three-hour-holidays, on the bike with some butties! And no matter what you may have read about crowds on Skye, there are still places where you won’t see a soul…

Another very special outing was aboard Red Moon, a boat that can be chartered for sailings around Skye. We climbed aboard in 2017 for Kevin’s birthday treat and enjoyed it so much that we did it again last summer, the weather being so much better on that occasion. To be fair it’s not a three-hour-holiday as we needed to take a night off, when, after stepping on deck, we sailed and spent a night at anchor, enjoying wonderful views, food and company! Anyway, here’s just a brief glimpse of Red Moon, as really she deserves a post all of her own!

Late Spring and early summer saw some fabulous weather; dare I say that it was too hot sometimes? Yes, I dare! I’m not a hot-house plant by any means! We even had a Spanish guest who was complaining (lightheartedly!) that it was too hot and that all the travel books had advised to bring plenty of warm/waterproof clothing. Consequently, he didn’t have enough tee-shirts!

Needless to say, the minute school holidays started, and our family came to stay for a week, the weather changed and didn’t change back! At least our granddaughter, Holly, was happy to be dancing in the Rain!


And the kids could hide under the trees for their picnic!







But we still managed to get out and about, poking around in rock pools and finding fossils and dinosaur footprints!






And when the season was over, the big project this year was the installation, after a sixteen year wait (!), of a new kitchen! Like everything at Garybuie, stripping things back ALWAYS reveals some flaw or other. On this occasion, it was historical water damage to the floor. It was worrying to say the least when the joiner had to keep removing more and more of the flooring before he could make any progress!


Anyway, in then it was well worth the wait and I’m looking forward to cooking all those breakfasts when the new season begins!


And now that all the work is complete, there’s time to catch-up on other winter tasks…

…Dottie likes to supervise my paintings…

…Hamish likes to check on any parcel deliveries…

…and Patches is in charge of temperature control!

We headed south for Christmas, enjoying the company of our family and all the gifts from Santa…

…and in particular a special gift in the shape of Sean, our fourth grandchild, who arrived in early December! His brother, Patrick, seems quite happy with his arrival so far!

A silver lining…

March 8, 2017

…or is that four silver linings? More like wee fluffy rain clouds really, but after the loss of Big Fella, BB cheered us up with the arrival of her first brood of the year.

And do you think that maybe our next rooster is waiting in this box? I ordered Wyandotte fertilized eggs online, a breed that sounds perfect for our needs.

Meanwhile, with no competition, Wee Man thinks it’s his birthday, surrounded by our new layers! Of course he can’t reach ‘the task’ with some of the bigger girls! We reared our new Cuckoo Maran girls last season to replace our old, decreasing stock.

The First Post of 2016

January 5, 2016

‘The View’ – plus two ducks!

Puff and Biggles and view

We’ve had a few welcome dry days and it feels like we’re walking on terra firma once more! No wind today either so feeling less raw. Constant wet weather has meant that collection of fallen leaves is much delayed this winter as they’re all stuck like glue to each other/the ground. Consequently, all of our pavde paths looked like this today…


…so it seemed like a good opportunity for a major belated sweep-up!

If there’s one thing I hate it’s food fads. There’s always something new that we should or shouldn’t eat and believe me, we encounter quite a few of them during the BandB season! Today however, I finally came across an article on ‘Yahoo Lifestyle’ which bodes well for our 2016 season:

P1020718 “LIFESTYLE”
Forget Broccoli – The Superfood Of 2016 Is Fry-Up Favourite BLACK PUDDING – by Andy Wells 05 January 2016…

‘One thing you wouldn’t expect when compiling your superfood diet now that January is here would be something you’d find on a fried breakfast.
However, this year you can include black pudding to your new year shopping list as experts reckon it is about to be extremely popular in 2016.
The divisive breakfast staple – traditionally made using pig blood and oatmeal – is actually full of protein, calcium and potassium.
It also enjoys the benefit of being nearly carb free and packed full of anaemia-preventing iron – something lacking in modern diets.
The addition of black pudding to the superfood list will be something of a shock to most, and Darren Beale from is just as surprised.
He said: “Some of the foods have been on the up for a while like avocado oil and maca root, but others like mushrooms and black pudding have been a total surprise to us.
“It’s great to have this new research available to find out the hidden qualities in food and we can’t wait to see how these new trends take off.”
The black pudding surge has already begun in earnest, with one Scottish butchers, famed for their blood sausages, already seeing sales soar.
Shona Macleod, managing director of Charles Macleod Butchers in Stornoway, told MailOnline: “The shop has just opened again.
“I opened the mail orders and we had about 40 black pudding mail orders to go out today.
“That’s is a lot for the first day open in January.”
Other superfoods set to be huge this year include seaweed, black beans and birch water.’

Birch water?!!

We always offer Stornoway Black Pudding – it’s delicious – but many times it evokes a wrinkling of the nose, so who knows, now that it’s firmly on the food fad list, we might not be able to keep up with demand! N.B. to all potential Garybuie guests, do NOT expect birch water – or maca root for that matter!


Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2015

Needless to say that at this stage in the festive proceedings, I’m very busy and I’m sure that you must be too! So, just time to wish those of you who do get chance to visit Garybuie over the Christmas period a very merry Christmas (holiday) and good health and happiness for 2016. Check BB out in her festive get-up!!

Festive hen

Brief catch-up

April 6, 2015

We opened for B and B on the first of the month. No gentle introduction this year; right in there, feet first, hit with a sledgehammer kind of thing. It’s weird but it’s really difficult trying to retrieve the smooth (most of the time) execution of the breakfast routine after a six month break. And we have evening meals on offer this season which is a new routine altogether! Consequently, I’ve missed reporting our wee bit of recent news; BB hatched three of her six regular eggs, just missing Easter but she is one happy Silkie anyway!

BB and chicks

We’re now down to 24 quail, gradually losing the less robust birds over the weekend. The remainder are all doing well and growing fast. They eat so much for such wee things!


Plans for 2015

January 4, 2015

Someone started early with their New Year plans. On the first of January, Polly-Bluetail, one of the Musco-teers, decided to go broody!


We could do without it but as she made her nest in a sensible place i.e. the duck house, we’ve let her get on with it so that she’s not tempted to lay further afield. We’ve restricted her to four eggs only!

After the beautiful, crisp days of Christmas, we’ve moved on to gloomy, wet and often windy weather. Everyone just quietly gets on with their own thing.

By the log store

Puff and Biggles

guinea fowl

Lucky and Chance

Part of my own thing is to keep up with my paintings. One of them I started well before Christmas but had to put it to one side whilst Christmas gifts were painted. You may recognize her; she’s been pregnant and produced six kittens since I first put pencil to paper!

'Butter wouldn't melt'

And something more wintry!

Mountain Hare

Dad got me a great present this Christmas. A couple of years ago, I read a book entitled ‘The Seven Daughters of Eve’ by Professor Bryan Sykes.
“The Seven Daughters of Eve is a first hand account of his research into an extraordinary gene which passes undiluted from generation to generation through the maternal line, allowing us to track our genetic ancestors through time and space. Professor Sykes has found that almost all Europeans can trace their ancestry back to one of seven women, whom he has named Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine and Jasmine.”

I’d decided that 2015 was going to be the year when any money I received for Christmas was going to go towards discovering which of those sisters was my prehistoric ancestor. But on Christmas morning, I opened a box which could only contain one thing…

Oxford Ancestors

…a DNA testing kit to determine my maternal origin! WOW! So, as soon as the Post Office was open after the Christmas break, off went my DNA samples to Professor Sykes’s team at Oxford University.

Apparently, dad was bitten by the DNA bug and had actually had his own DNA examined. For men, their ‘Father Clan’ can also be determined through the Y-chromosome, described in Professor Sykes’s book ‘Adam’s Curse’. Dad’s clan is that of Oisoin, which has existed for 35,000 years. His maternal ancestry goes back to Helena who lived 20,000 years ago. So, when I get my results in a few weeks time, not only will I know my maternal ancestry but because dad has his own DNA analysis, I also know my (indirect) paternal lineage too! O.K., I suspect that some of you have nodded off by now, so I’ll get back to the present day and our New Year plans for 2015!

On the Bed and Breakfast front this year, we are going to provide dinner for our guests should they require it. Nothing fancy, just good, locally produced food, a fair amount of it produced by ourselves. But the biggest project is to get into the breeding of Quail. We intend to breed them for both eggs and meat and will supply either local restaurants and/or the butcher’s shop. There’s a lot of preparation to do as we have to build accommodation from scratch, source packaging for our products and of course obtain Quail eggs to incubate and provide our breeding stock!

Frozen gate

Looking back

December 31, 2014

It’s weird isn’t it? All year long I think that we’re just doing the same old, same old, which in a sense we are; daily routines are the same, seasonal activities too. But within that daily and seasonal rhythm, many changes have occurred. Of course the weather alone is responsible for many of those changes and our regular shot of THE VIEW demonstrates that to a certain extent.

The View

The view

the view

the view

the view

The view

The view

the view

The View

Of course our other view can sometimes take our breath away too.



This year there have been a couple of structural changes around the place; a new conservatory replacing the old…



…and a new cover for the polytunnel. (The hens are VERY pleased – no leaks in their winter spa!)


It’s the animals however, who contribute most changes within a year. There have been some new permanent residents arrive at Garybuie this year. The Three Musco-teers…

The Three Musco-teers

…and latterly, the Guinea-gang.


There were plenty of non-permanent additions too. BB became a mum for the first time…

silkie family

…and helped to increase our Silkie breeding stock by two! Thelma and Louise.


Later, she raised six ‘regular’ chicks. Trusty old Brenda raised an early brood of four chicks and the Nest Thief reared 7. We thought that poor Brenda was doomed after being hit by a car but after some R and R, she seems back to her usual self.


And how can we forget what was probably the highlight of the year? FORTY-TWO Muscovy ducklings and all within the space of a week!


muscovy ducklings

We were fortunate this year as we only lost a handful of young birds. Unfortunately, we also lost Dotty, one of the Musco-teers, who was determined to make a nest across the river, never to return. However, our big loss this year was Hamie.


Overall, we’ve had a great year at Garybuie, certainly more positives than negatives. A great growing year for the fruit and veg, more success than failure on the poultry front and our best season yet with the Bed and Breakfast side of things, meeting many lovely people from all over the world. We have taken some time out from our wee patch of Skye this year, visiting Glasgow’s artistic attributes for the first time…

Some furniture designs by C.R. MacIntosh

Some furniture designs by C.R. MacIntosh

Druids, mistletoe

'A Funeral Service in the Highlands' James Guthrie, 1881-82

‘A Funeral Service in the Highlands’
James Guthrie, 1881-82

…and the prehistoric sites of Orkney. Beginning 5,000 years ago in neo-lithic times…

Skara Brae

Ring of Brodgar

…moving on to the brochs of the Iron Age…

Broch of gurness

…through to the Vikings…

St Magnus cathedral

…and the second World War – with everything that came in between!

Created by prisoners of war

Created by prisoners of war

Further time out took us south to see our rapidly growing grandchildren.

Holly and Jake


Finally, I’d like to share a touching moment with you. Two of our guests this year, Hans-Georg and Barbara, commissioned a pet portrait for Barbara’s dad as a Christmas gift. Just after Christmas, Hans-Georg sent me this photo of when dad opened his gift. Apparently he was delighted. It was a very kind gesture to let me share in the moment – a lovely gift for me in fact!

Sammy for Xmas


Good weather continues and some winter tasks

October 15, 2014

September was a beautiful month and October is trying its best to continue the theme. Here’s ‘The View’, taken at 6 p.m. today.

The View

Already I’m half way through the first month of our closed season and after scrubbing the place from top to bottom, a sort of spring-clean in the autumn, winter tasks are vying for attention. Firstly, it was the twin room’s turn to be spruced up. I’ve spent the past couple of days concentrating on that and finished today which means that I can now close both B and B rooms and forget about them!

twin room

Twin room

Secondly, I am working on a pet portrait of a wee dog called Sammy, which was commissioned by two of our German guests this summer as a Christmas gift. A bit of a deadline there then!


But the biggest task of all, is the re-upholstering of a recent (unplanned) antique purchase! We only went along to look for a couple of chairs and I found a rather nice carver chair. Then a matching dining chair around the corner. Then another one! In the end, it turned out, that dotted around the place was a complete Parlour Suite; two carvers, four chairs and a settee! Karen at the shop suspected that the suite was either late Victorian or Art Nouveau. I think that it’s more likely to be Victorian as the curvy bits don’t seem fluid enough to me for Art Nouveau – unless someone can tell me otherwise! Anyway, the frames are in pretty good nick but the upholstery definitely needs an upgrade. I have no idea how to do this but you can find anything on the Web these days!

Parlour Suite

Of course the problem with such an unplanned purchase is that nothing else goes with the thing! So, a new table was in order (sourced by the lovely people at the same shop) and the dining room now needs re-decorating!

The new camera arrives

October 8, 2014

new camera My new camera arrived yesterday. A shiny purple one (I am a 70’s girl after all!). Last evening we had a very gentle, soothing sunset. No brash colours shouting, “Hey, look at me, aren’t I specTACular!”

gentle sunset

gentle sunset

This afternoon however, there was lots of colour in The View…

the view

…and this was taken just two hours later, the Ridge reflecting one of those more ‘In Your Face’ sunsets!

the view

My new Purple Pal has got all kinds of new settings for me to get my head around, but I think that they could be fun! BB certainly looks impressed with her ’19th Centuary’ sepia portrait, complete with hat!


And Huff, I think, looks particularly distinguished with his Victorian look!


Choosing red as the only colour makes us focus on Biggles’ face rather than her semi-naked undercarriage! The poor lass is losing feathers by the handful, or maybe that should be bill-full, at the moment.


My bonnie girls, Puff and Biggles.

Puff and Biggles

Nesting urges and some intensive care

September 24, 2014

A certain duck named Dotty is in trouble. She’s stayed out all night a couple of times and we suspect that she was laying away. Dad saw her launching off his roof and flying towards the river on several occasions. The last thing we want are yet more ducklings (Kevin’s just about finished dispatching the abundant earlier group), especially not out with the bounds of Garybuie. So, before she had the chance of getting settled in the great outdoors, where of course predators lurk, she has suffered the indignity of having her wings clipped once more. Only a pool-side perch for now Dotty dear! Dotty Someone else who’s decided to nest in an unsuitable place is BB! Here she is, in the corner of Huff’s house. BB She’s taken to laying her eggs in this corner for a week or so. Of course I’ve removed them each day but she’s none the less gone broody! So now she has to be unceremoniously transported to her own home each evening!

A couple of you have been kind enough to enquire after Brenda. There’s not really any improvement in her walking yet, but the unwanted attentions of the great, galumphing Big Fella, was doing her no good at all! So last evening, after all the other birds had gone to bed, Brenda sidled quietly into the coop where she settled in the corner. She’d been hiding under the bushes all day. I took the opportunity to take her to a more suitable location for her (hopeful) recovery. So now she’s ensconced in the over-by coop where she has food and water and can get out into an enclosed run if she wants, safe from sexual harassment! Fingers crossed that the peace and quiet will give her chance to heal. Brenda

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