Posts Tagged ‘Cats’

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!

Can you spot the odd one out?

June 4, 2016

odd one out

Time to chill

December 1, 2014

December; time to chill…



If you snooze you loose

September 20, 2014

Patches and Pusscat

Now you might think that Brenda, Her Broodiness, is out for the count here, perched on the wee wall outside the kitchen door.


But do not be fooled; you only have to turn you back for one second if the kitchen door is open and she’s IN, devouring any tasty morsels left as a later snack by those comatose cats!


Just ten minutes ago however, she wasn’t quick enough when crossing the road outside and was caught by a passing van. We suspect that she just received a glancing blow resulting in a small cut on her left leg and a limp with her right. She is bearing weight on it though, so hopefully a good night’s rest will do her good. She’s looking a bit shell-shocked at the moment and Big Fella is keeping an eye on her, after all, she is Top Hen.


She’s our special girl so hopefully she will make a full recovery.


A jumbled week

April 12, 2014

tulipsThe horizontal rain has returned so no VIEW today. I haven’t the heart to show a non-view of the ridge again, so this is an indoor spring-like shot instead!
What a week! Last Sunday, we were expecting our first guests of the season; four guys who made their reservation back in December. What we didn’t expect were four guys on motorbikes, one of them being Kevin’s uncle who we’ve not seen for about twenty-five years! So our Bed and Breakfast involved dinner too on Sunday, but only after Kevin got to go out and drive around the island with the surprise guests. They got drenched!



Recovery after late-night socialising was difficult as we’ve had guests for most of the week. It’s so difficult to get back into the breakfast routines after a six-month break but I’m sure that we’ll regain the hang of it soon! After our surprise start to the season, the whole week seems to have been a catalogue of unexpected (some unwanted) events. The first one was when I decided to finally use the compost from the wormery. I’d planned to use it in the polytunnel but my plans were soon dashed when we removed the top few inches containing the worms to discover that the ‘compost’ appeared to consist mainly of un-composted eggshells! It was impossible to separate the shells and we had to throw the whole lot into the outdoor compost heap, in the hope that creatures other than worms will be able to tackle them.

compost disaster

I guess that B and B quantities of eggshells are just to much to handle! So, this season a maximum of a dozen eggs, finely crushed, per week methinks!

Thanks to the return of wind and rain, problems with the conservatory added to the week’s jumble of events. One of our leaks had returned. Nothing major but undesirable none the less. Obviously with the idea of killing two birds with one stone, the conservatory chaps arrived the following day to fix the leak and to plaster where the old lead flashing had been removed. Of course we have had two weeks of fine, spring weather but no, how about plastering when the forecast was anything but spring-like! Hence, later that day, slithering plaster…

slithering plaster

slithering plaster

The glass of the roof is a special, self-clean, tinted kind. Water only, NO chemicals. And what came leeching out of the cement but the chemical anti-frost additives. So poor Kevin had to get onto the roof (in wind and rain) to GENTLY wipe off any staining, rinsing off with a watering can. It was suggested that we tuck old sheets under the flashing to protect the glass. Of course heavy planks of wood had to be added or the sheets would have no doubt ended up at the end of the glen! Lovely. Thankfully, we have no guests booked in over the weekend and hopefully the slithering plaster matter will be resolved. And the leak. Again.

There have been animal problems too. Kevin disposed of one of BB’s chicks today as it had developed splayed legs and couldn’t stand. The other three are doing just fine although BB hasn’t ventured outside with them so far. Who can blame her in this weather! Can you see wee Three Lives peeping out from under mum?

BB and chicks

No eggs are being laid in the wee box in the polytunnel coop and it’s easy to see why. The Musco-teers detected something not quite right…


That’s no hen!


Hamie has decided that it’s the perfect place convalesce! There has been some laying going on in the ‘over-by’ coop however, which we opened up for that very purpose. Both Broody Brenda and the Nest Thief, among others, are laying in there and I’m hoping that Brenda will sit first. That way, we can then reduce the size of the pop-hole so that the Nest Thief can’t fit!

And finally, here’s one for Matt and Sarah…

wee garden

A good day all round

March 26, 2014

THE VIEW – early evening

the view

It’s been a glorious spring day today reaching a temperature of 13.5 degrees C in the shade! A big thank you to those of you who have passed on their good wishes for Hamie. Her breathing still leaves a lot to be desired but she’s nibbled her way through a couple of haddock fillets and a wee bit of cat milk over the last 24 hours. She’s considerably stronger today although she tires easily. Even so, she’s enjoyed the day as much as the rest of us, soaking up the sunshine and fresh air. A day like today makes everyone feel good so why not a poorly puss too?


She was unaware of her three curious visitors whilst taking an afternoon nap in the dry leaves by the fruit cage!


A couple of extra ups and downs

March 25, 2014


the view

Unbelievably, we’ve had three consecutive days of dry weather. The new conservatory looks so nice with a blue backdrop!


The dry spell had been forecast so on Sunday we decided to take the opportunity to tackle the re-covering of the polytunnel. It was a family affair and seemingly Big Fella decided that my dad needed some supervision.

Polytunnel down

We now have a clean and shiny, hole-free tunnel (holes courtesy Hamie) and Kevin has even installed a couple of anti-Hamie devices including a scratching post at each corner and the removal of a couple of branches from the adjacent pine tree which were a perfect launch pad, the polytunnel roof being the perfect landing pad, provided of course that claws were fully extended for health and safety issues! He’s also fixed a chicken-wire extension on top of the tunnel door in the hope of deterring landing facilities, should an alternative launching platform be discovered.


Polytunnel up

However, the jury is still out on whether Hamie is ever going to be fit enough to launch herself from anything. Our poor wee lass is still poorly although we brought her home from the vet’s today. After a second X-ray yesterday, the vet could see that the amount of fluid affecting the lung has reduced slightly. Her breathing is still somewhat laboured but she’s on antibiotics/anti-inflammatory medication until the end of the week so hopefully matters will continue to improve. The other worrying point is that she hasn’t eaten since Friday morning and she is now supermodel-thin. The vet thought that she would probably be better off at home with regards to this issue and Kevin is going to bring some fish home this evening after work. Usually she can’t resist a bit of fresh fish, so fingers crossed! Hamie loves to be outdoors but we had to compromise this afternoon by allowing her into the polytunnel while we worked. Patches came to visit but decided that Hamie smelled funny!

hamie and patches

A week of ups and downs

March 22, 2014

the view

Apologies for being a wee bit remiss with blogging duties recently, but the last week has been quite eventful and not all in a good way. One of the ‘ups’ of the week has been that our new conservatory is now up and decorated! It’s lovely, so bright, clean and with a glass roof this time around, it’s pleasant to sit and watch the clouds drifting above.



Of course things rarely run smoothly and after a night of particularly foul weather, two substantial leaks developed. The conservatory chaps returned the following day however and all seems to be well at the moment. One leak came through the central ‘gubbins’ at the round end of the structure. That problem was solved by applying more sealant to the multiple joints. That’s great of course but it IS a wee bit of a concern to think that building costing several thousand pounds is relying on a tube of sealant! The other leak came in above the French doors which you can see in the second picture. Fortunately the water didn’t come down on my newly applied wallpaper but managed to soak the carpet on the other side! Anyway, the upshot is that on removing the old lead flashing, a considerable amount of the old cement also had to be removed (we’re still waiting for the replacement cement) and a crack was revealed under an upstairs windowsill. The main man deduced that that was the root of the problem and he sealed it with some lead-based filler until the cement man makes an appearance! With the rain showing no sign of a let-up however, who knows when that will be!

Some good news on the animal front! BB has decided to live up to the Silkie P.R. of being great broody hens. She decided to stay put on her nest a week ago.


Unfortunately, she’s being a bit too literal with the staying-put thing and makes no attempt to leave the nest for life’s essentials! I have read about this in our collection of poultry books but so far, our broody hens have always known what to do. So now, every morning, we lift her from the nest and put her outside to eat. drink, poo, dust bathe and whatever else a chicken can do in fifteen minutes! Then we put her back on the nest where she settles once more. Weird.

Now here’s a rare and happy picture before some more bad news. Hamie and Patches almost nose to nose on the rug! Usually for Hamie, being in the same ROOM as Patches is close enough, thank you very much!
Hamie and Patches

But now the bad news. Yesterday evening, we had to make a dash to the vet’s with our beautiful Hamie, who started to breathe rapidly and shallowly. The vet couldn’t see anything obvious, her temperature, heart-rate and colour were good. He suggested that possibly she had got something lodged in her wind-pipe and these things usually resolve themselves. Antibiotic/anti-inflammatory injection and home we came. This morning though, she was nowhere in sight and Kevin found her under one of the upturned duck ponds. Her breathing was worse so off once more to the vet. After X-rays, some fluid in one lung and some bruising has shown up, probably consistent with an impact of some kind. Anyway, as I write, she is currently on diuretics and the vet is keeping her under observation until Monday. Strangely, yesterday evening when Kevin went to close the ‘Winter Spa for Chickens’, there had been some obvious kerfuffle in there as the drinker and feeder had been knocked over. Maybe she’d got into a tussle with an intruder and she’s taken a blow to the ribs. We’ll never know but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for our girl. She’s in the right place.

The Tale of Boris and the Cat-Flap

February 11, 2014

Today we’ve returned to our more usual view. Better for the soul I think, well, mine at least!

The view

Now here’s a funny thing. A week or so ago, I promised to tell you the tale of Boris and the cat-flap. However, when I was beginning my ‘Glasgow’ post yesterday, I noticed that the cat-flap story was still only in draft form! Presumably I’d had a head full of feathers that day! So, I shall endeavour once more to tell you The Tale of Boris and the Cat-Flap! I have no photographs of this incident, so the tale is illustrated in a less technical fashion!

Some early followers of Garybuie’s blog may remember Boris. He was getting on in years when we brought him to Skye and resembled a cuddly, well-worn pyjama case! He had been a stray and as a consequence, his main concern was where his next meal was coming from. Even though he had a new home and plenty to eat, his enduring hobby was theft of neighbours’ cats’ food. When we moved to Skye there were fewer neighbouring cats – as well as longer distances to reach them – but he still retained his cat-burglar status, as well a stealing from Hamie and Wallace when they arrived on the scene. NOT a slim cat!


Several years ago, I was awakened pre-dawn by some fairly loud, irregular thumping noises. I lay for a while trying to decide what could possibly be causing it. Kevin was fast asleep and it seemed a shame to wake him. Did I dare deal with this noisy intruder alone? What if it was someone noisily filling his swag-bag with our treasured possessions? I dismissed that idea as such incidents are virtually unheard of on Skye. That thought made me feel somewhat braver. What if it was some kind of wild, highland beast beating up our feline friends? An illusive Haggis perhaps? Either way, I had to get up and deal with this seemingly clog-dancing thug and rescue the cats. The thudding continued as I crept down the hall and opened the door into the dining room. There, sitting stock-still with a look of sheer bewilderment on her face was Hamie!

surprised cat!

She was transfixed by what she was witnessing through the door to the sitting-room. The intruder had apparently not heard my approach, which was hardly surprising with all the noise he was making! Creeping forward slowly to join Hamie, I too stood stock-still when I saw the culprit! Then I laughed! (Well, we both did!) There, in the middle of the sitting-room floor was Boris who appeared to be wearing some kind of ill-fitting, Edwardian corset! He sat there, defeated and on closer inspection it turned out that the corset was in fact the cat-flap!

Boris + catflap

His face was a picture, a cross between total resignation and a look that said, ” Well DO something instead of laughing at a chap’s predicament!” I just picked him up using the top lip of the flap and he just slithered out in an undignified heap! He was NOT amused! (Of course Hamie and I were!)

It would seem that the cat-flap had eventually become too tight for Boris’s expanding girth, finally giving up and removing itself from the door along with its feline captive. Presumably, all the thumping sounds had been Boris rolling around trying to escape the clutches of this new, unwanted plastic peril!

So THAT’S why we had a spare cat-flap to use on the old church door!

“Weather for ducks? I don’t think so!”

August 31, 2013

That was certainly Huff’s opinion yesterday after some torrential downpours.  He always looks thoroughly miserable in the rain and yet for some reason chooses to stand out in the open rather than finding shelter under a bush! Looking for sympathy I guess.


All the other ducks are quite happy; the Aylesburys love to get out into the field and forage for worms I suspect, the Muscovy ducklings are young and carefree and Puff and Biggles are warm and dry on their shared nest.

puff and Biggles

Some regular visitors to the back door mat are Brenda and her chicks, either looking for shelter or a quick snack of grain. They very often just sit on the step and have a preen and maybe forty winks. The chicks are seven weeks old now and Brenda usually abandons her offspring around about 5 weeks. Perhaps she particularly likes their company of this threesome, or maybe she’d rather share the polytunnel coop with them rather than go back up her tree! Unfortunately, when they do visit, they have no regard for other residents who are trying to get to their lunch!!!

Let me in!

Here’s something that made me smile the other day. This is a shot of the recently refurbished bird dwelling in the old church. You can see some of our mixed bunch of chicks on the left and the wee ducklings (only 3 now) under the lamp on the right…


Now look more closely in the nesting box on the ‘mezzanine’ level – it’s certainly no Silkie!

no silkie

This is Hamie’s latest favourite spot and she actually spent the night in there earlier in the week. We knew nothing about it until Kevin went to open the church door the following morning! Of course it’s the perfect place for a girl; no other cats to bother her, nice and cosy and a window to watch the world through. We are however checking that she doesn’t get to stay in there overnight again, just in case she fancies a midnight snack!

One good thing about the showery weather is that once I’ve taken advantage of the sunny spells to get any outdoor tasks completed (which doesn’t mean that I always manage to stay dry I have to say – soaked right through to my underwear yesterday whilst cleaning ducks out!), then I can sometimes manage a couple of hours in the conservatory, painting. Recently I completed a portrait of two cats, Melody and Harmony, for a guest from Australia who stayed with us earlier in the season. I used colour pencils and it was probably my biggest challenge so far as they are seriously multi-coloured moggies!

Melody and Hamony

Now I am revisiting a canine subject who some of you might recognise – not yet perhaps! His original portrait got lost somewhere between the Old World and the New so I just HAVE to capture his wise old face once more!

Big Dog


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