Jonathan: A couple of inches of snow fell last night which is unusual enough, but having – as usual – started to melt immediately, the skies cleared in the early morning and it re-froze as ice. The roads don’t appear to have been salted either, so getting to the croft and back was a bit tricky. The drive up to Aird on Benbecula for the dry stane dyking course didn’t attract either – 65 mile round trip of ice snow and single-track road: I doubt I’d have been the only one not to turn up! But a lovely bright day all the same.
Pickle didn’t come in this evening, despite the bitter cold and us calling out for her frequently. A week or more ago she didn’t re-appear until morning, absolutely ravenous for her breakfast; and she’s done the same before. I was beginning to worry that she was unhappy at our house: she’s always been a bit of a loner and independent, and maybe she’s taken up with a neighbour who fusses over her and doesn’t have a house full of other cats and dogs! I’d just reconciled myself to that possibility, and mentally ‘let go of her’ when suddenly she appeared at the window desperate to come in. But J says she wasn’t cold or damp, so she may have been – say – mousing in Mary and Patrick’s shed or store, and got shut in, escaping when Patrick went out to shut the dog in the shed or get some coal for the Rayburn. Whatever the explanation, Pickle has been purring and fussing us, just to let us know how much she likes us.
Denise: Tilly was spayed today. Yes, she’s a lovely dog, and I’m sure puppies would be cute, but there’s enough dogs at the animal refuge with homes to find … and anyway we’ve enough already on our hands with Tilly and the seven cats! So, no food this morning and no walk either: off early on the 25 mile drive to Creagorry on Benbecula. This afternoon both J and I went to collect Tilly. She’d woken up some time before, and she was on her feet alright, but a bit unsteady. Her tail was wagging though! J was less enthusiastic with the bill: £180, plus two round trips of 50 miles each (and a third in a fortnight to have the stitches out).
We set off an hour or so early to collect Tilly so as to give us some time first for some errands and a rare treat. At the hardware store we bought a new kitchen bin – a rather nice Brabantia stainless steel affair at £57: the old plastic one is showing its age – we bought it in 1986 when we moved to Shrewsbury. At the charity shop in Balivanich we handed in some items Catherine no longer wants, we can’t use, and aren’t good enough to sell: three boxes of books, videos and other items. After some shopping for bulk items at Lovat’s store in Iochdar, we went to Hebridean Jewellery, just nearby, for a treat of coffee and cake, watching the light fading over the wet sands, the high dunes of Gualam island, and the glowering winter sky beyond. Winter can be lovely!