Denise: A problem with the water supply somewhere: pressure so low the electric shower wouldn’t fire up, and the washing machines were beeping and flashing and eventually had to be turned off. House is certainly cold, but not enough to freeze pipes inside. Buried pipes here in Uist are often just below the surface, as frosts are rarely more than light or short-lived: but J says the temperature outside is only just a fraction below zero, so perhaps its nothing to do with the cold.
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.
Denise: Today the wind has shifted to the north, and that always means clear skies and a stream of air that is razor sharp – cold, but also so clear that the sun can be dazzling bright, even in winter. Yesterday, when the sun was at its highest (admittedly not very high!) we were both out in the garden, me second-digging to find remaining potatoes, J working on new fences. These will run across the garden from the front corners of the house, so as to create two realms: a front ‘public’ garden and a private back garden. The back will also become more sheltered, and we should be able to confine Tilly when we need to! J stayed out until it started to get dusky and cold – although he did spend a good while talking with our neighbour Domhnall Iain! – but by then I was glad to get indoors to the warm and press on with some spinning and knitting.
Denise: A bullying, bruising wind all yesterday and today. Gale force to sever gale. Not wet, thank goodness, but a struggle to do anything outdoors – even opening the car door (or stopping it being wrenched open!). Unusually, it’s not a cyclonic storm, but a constant stream from the south east. Perhaps it’s worse in Argyll and Cumbria? I’m sure they must get this sort of thing in the Algarve, too: I really can’t believe it’s sunny and warm all the time.
Jonathan: This morning’s walk with Tilly was from the road end at South Smerclete along the track at the head of the beach and round the point at Ceann a’ Garraidh. A cold grey dawn, blustry wind carrying spots of rain; the breath rasps from the cattle browsing the marram grass and morsels of seaweed; great heaps of brown-gold kelp cast onto the beach, and strewn with wind-blown flotsom. Strangely beautiful!