Denise: A couple came to the Hebridean Woolshed today, and bought some Hebridean lambswool – the lovely dark smooth worsted-spun yarn we produced a couple of years ago. They were from Porgugal – near Lisbon. And despite that they knew more about the Big Garden, the Hebridean Woolshed, and our croft and all our doings than most folk who call in or even our neighbours do, because they regularly read our The Big Garden Blog! And we learnt something today about the regional specialities of their part of the world. Moments like this make our efforts seem so much more worthwhile!
Denise: For many folk who come on holiday to Uist – especially the regulars, the islands offer an escape from the drudgery of daily life, the chance to ‘live the dream’ – if only for a week or two. The more active bring bicycles or walking boots or kayaks (and some bring them all!); for some it’s binoculars and cameras and wildlife guides; for a few it’s guns and fishing rods and wellies; and I suspect most bring a book to read in case it rains. But for a lovely couple who came to the Big Garden the other day, staying at house over Boisdale way, the ideal runs along differrent lines: he’d brought his Clarsach (the small Celtic harp). and she her bread-making machine. Now this I really do understand! Anyway, just in case you think that’s a bit over-the-edge, what about our neighbour and mentor Eòghann – an Mullach, the man of Mull. He came here to Uist in 1962 with a young wife and eventually set up a family croft between Stròm and Loch Baghasdal Taobh a Deas, where there was no road and the children had to go to school barefoot on horseback over the hill and anything and everything came to the house in a small boat from Lochboisdale. In 1967 he and the family made a rare holiday ‘back home’ to Mull: they took with them their croft milking cow, so that they could be sure of good wholesome milk for the children and anyway how else would the cow get milked? Seems reasonable enough to me – especially as the return fare for the cow on the ferry to Tobermory was just £1!
Jonathan: Sales of garden produce – sales generally – plummeted at the end of August: it was if Calmac had simply cancelled all sailings from Oban until further notice – there’s scarcely been any visitors on the island since the beginning of September. And those that come aren’t for spending much. Campervanners are renown for bringing half the shelves of their home-town supermarkets with them and scarce a penny here; but this year it’s others too. A young couple declined the offer of juicy sweet freshly picked tomatoes because they’d brought their own home-grown with them – picked a fortnight earlier in the south of France! A regular guest at our Askernish cottage brought the essentials with her – from her local supermarket at home in Canada! Mind you that’s a different matter altogether: when I think of my morning ritual of fresh roast coffee and toast, I think I’d do the same. Too important to leave it to chance!