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!
Jonathan: This might be too much detail for you, but I really do want to tell you about the shoes I threw out today – very reluctantly. Clarks Nature, dark brown, size 12. Bought in Shrewsbury in 2000. My, but things were different then – seems now like a previous life! Very comfortable shoes – almost to the last. Very me. Worn most days – or the black ones I bought around the same time. Much travelled – all over the England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland. Countless miles just in airports over the past 10 years! But during my recent ‘exile’ in England they were more or less walked to death. Soles on the black pair cracked through during my last week in Welwyn GC, and never made it back home. Walking the dog this morning, wearing the brown shoes I found the foam-type soles pumping water into my socks. So that’s that: end of an era. Our shoes – the longer we wear them – the more they reflect us, become part of the story of us. But no point in being sentimental about it, into the bin they go. New shoes for new times – the pair I’ve had in the wardrobe for at least three years, waiting their turn.
Denise: This afternoon J and I dug out the compost heap. It’s 2 pallets by 2 pallets in size, and after rotting down is about 1m full, so probably 10 tonne or more to shift. I was on the heap digging and loading, J was running and up and down with the barrows to the growing ‘pods’ (each within a low wooden shelter fence). 3 pods requiring compost, each taking 18 barrowfulls, plus 9 barrows each for two greenhouses and 2 barrows for a 2.4m x 0.8m growing box we use for salads. By J’s reckoning that’s 74 barrow loads. Absolutely exhausting, but incredibly satisfying, putting goodness back into the soil and the promise of good things next year.