Garden Comfort

Jonathan: I’ve now installed at Carrick the new big garden benches and table for the deck outside the sitting area windows. They were hand-built by Angus MacDonald at his joinery workshop in Daliburgh. (He’s now made for us a total of four benches and two tables.) They are very well made, and very comfortable.  They’re the garden comfort equivalent of the sofa and coffee table indoors: even the same layout, but with a view instead of a wood-burning stove! We’re considering getting or making weather-proof cushions for the seats, though we find them comfortable even without.

These are the natural untreated larch of the deck, and a primer on the new furniture. Deck and furniture alike will be left to naturally turn silvery grey, a process which occurs on exposure to natural daylight over a period of nine months to a year. Once grey the deck and furniture will blend in with the natural surroundings.

I was relieved to find my calculations that the new furniture would not intrude on the view were correct! Even sitting on a sofa in the sitting room, the garden furniture appears ‘below’ the sea and the glens and mountains of South Uist.

Any visitor to Uist who has experienced a big winter storm – or even a summer gale that strikes out of the blue – will understand why we’ve bolted all the garden furniture to the deck! However the layout of the deck and positioning of the picnic bench, the garden benches and table, are all the result of careful study of the conditions at the house, and take advantage of the natural sunny spots and natural shelter (and as you see from the photos, Rhubarb the pet lamb managed to find one such spot within minutes of arriving on his first visit!). With the benches and table installed, I made myself a coffee and sat down outside to enjoy the view. Lovely!

Four Horizons

Jonathan: It’s half past ten and still just light.  Rhubarb has been fed and settled down for the night. Tilly and I have completed our evening walk – the first time this year without a torch. It’s time to go in and put the dogs, cats and myself to bed after a long and busy day, but the rare calm and quiet of the evening keeps Tilly and I lingering on the bare summit of Cnoc a Deas, taking in the drama of light and dark played out between four horizons.  In the north east, the mass of Eisebhal is etched out in reverse with remaining patches of snow – like a plate for a Wainwright walking guide. In the south east, the lights of Eriskay glimmer across the sea, smudged and scattered by a wintry shower heading south. In the south west, more distant Barra and the many smaller isles between here and there – and all of existence between the sea and the heavens, have been swallowed up in a slowly moving mass of falling snow and ice. But in the north west, clouds are assembled in ranks across the horizon, back-lit with the soft hues of pink, yellow and palest blue, as the sun sets somewhere in the far distant lands of ice.

NW nightfall horizon, at An Garradh Mor, Isle of South Uist