Jonathan: Blue paint, to be precise. At long last – almost 2 years this has been hanging over us – we’ve made a start sorting out problems with the detail for larch cladding around the windows at Carrick. With Domhnail Iain doing the difficult bits (profiling and scribing larch to fit awkward shapes) and me doing the rougher work (removing the existing larch, re-sealing around the windows and refitting the outer boards, and then finally re-painting with the famous Carrick blue) it turning out a lot easier than I’d feared. Yes there was the cost of the replacement proper Nordan window cills (to replace the problematic ‘hand-crafted’ copper), but we bought those a year ago: all of the larch we’re taking off can be re-used one way or another, so the cost is going to be no more than the labour.
Denise: We’ve been letting our cottage at Askernish for almost five years now, and Carrick for nearly two: long enough for the longer-term pattern of income and expenditure to have become clear. Lettings from April to September are fairly reliable, but the income from these 24 weeks goes on keeping the business going (council tax, utilities, maintenance and renewals and consumables) and to provide a modest return on the investment. But we could have got pretty much the same without lifting a finger – just putting the money in a building society account! A return for our work (and a lot of work there is – cleaning and ironing, decorating and repairing, marketing and bookings administration) is earnt from the out-of-season lets – which don’t earn as high a rental. Conclusion: Don’t invest in self-catering accommodation if it’s an easy life and a steady income you’re after!
Denise: I dyed today – in fact I dyed twice; and in both case due to natural causes. First it was with Anatto and then Kutch,. I survived these strong doses, but there’s two batches of (formerly) white sheep’s wool now hung up to dry which are vibrantly coloured orange-red (Anatto – as photo) and mahogony brown (Kutch).