Jonathan: During the night a wild north-easterly laid down a carpet of fine powdery snow. Icy cold despite heavy cloud. Roads not salted, so a bit wobbly going to the croft. Loaded up with my bucket of grain and egg collecting bucket, I’m enveloped by a ferocious blizzard, blasting in from The Minch. In seconds I’m lost in a maelstrom of needle-sharp ice and swirling darkness. The geese are calling for me, and I for them, but I can scarcely see my own feet. I abandon the usual feeding point and rush headlong down the hill, for the shelter of the old ruins. Amidst the howling wind and stinging ice I can make out their call, but in the meagre light before dawn I can see nothing. Then, suddenly, the heavy beating of wings and looking up, the air is filled with geese descending around me, their wings outspread, all white feathers and bright orange legs lit up against the black sky by no more than the ethereal light of the snow itself. One of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. A moment I’ll never forget – not least because one goose thumped right into my chest!
Jonathan: Engineering work has taken up most of my time over the past week. More work for the extension to Roscommon Way in Canvey Island Essex. Fixing problems with the design, even whilst the construction work is under way! Thanks to this I’ve now earned enough to keep our heads above water for another month at least. If I’d gone to Madeira for the week, as had been proposed, I might have earned a bit more, but would have had to simply abandon all other domestic and croft work for a week.
Jonathan. A week or so ago I got a phone call today asking if I’d be interested in going to Madeira for a week. Yes, that’s the Portugese island off the coast of Africa, but not for a holiday. The call was from my boss at Mouchel in WGC, Dan Clarke. Storms last January caused extensive and severe damage, and engineers are needed to support international loss-adjusters dealing with insurance claims. I was asked before, back in March or so, but it never came to anything. And the same again this time. A pity, I was beginning to think I might quite enjoy a niche role as island-engineering specialist!