Jonathan: Early this morning Denise and enjoyed a romantic dawn on the beach at Smercleit Toabh a Deas (South Smerclete) – about a mile to the west, the very SW point of South Uist. The sun came up over Beinn Sciathan on Eriskay the countless islets and skerries of the Sound of Barra were thrown sharply into sillouhette. We left Tilly to tire herself out, rushing hither and thither in search of something smelly or to chase. We enjoyed the soft sea air, the call of the many sea birds, the tumble of the waves on the Atlantic shore …
… and pressed on regardless with gathering seaweed for our compost heap and mulching the soft fruit. Denise selected the seaweed and loaded the wheelbarrows, I took them up to the trailer and loaded that up. After half an hour the trailer was as full as it could take without risk of bursting a tyre, Tilly was called back (she came with a great lump of fresh fat, recently cut from a home-butchered beef or mutton carcase I suspect) and then back to the walled garden.
After a cup of fresh coffee and toast, we reversed the operation, with me emptying the trailer into barrows, Denise taking them to the compost heap.
This was the second trailer load – we did the same thing yesterday. That’s well over a tonne of weed taken together. We’ll make a similar trip each week – weather permitting and if enough weed has accumulated – right through to Easter. A fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of a Hebridean winter: Keep warm, keep fit, grow food!
Denise: Tilly is unquestionably a very bright and loving dog. But she also has her problems. Mainly it’s that she doesn’t like being separated from me even for a few moments. if I put her out behind the house (with makeshift barricades until Jonathan comes home and makes something better) and I walk up the garden to serve a customer: if she hears me talking she’ll bully her way out and race up the garden to join me, sometimes alarmig the customer! Or if I leave her in the house, then she’ll wet on the hall carpet – even though she’s just been let out a few mintues ago. I go into the bathroom to use the loo, and I come out to find …. yest you’ve guessed. And yet she’ll go through the night without any problem. Jonathan says that it’s to do with her experience with her previous owner: she was left all day in a residential caravan whilst her owner was out of work, and the sense of both abandonment during the daytime and heightened dependency on humans when they are present has resulted in this pattern of behaviour. There were similar problems with Dusky (our black cat) earlier in the year, and Jonathan’s analysys and advice proved spot on then, so hopefully we’ll find a solution for Tilly, too. I hope so, ‘cos at the moment this is stretching my patience!
Denise: I’m sitting in the conservatory and for once I’m not carding wool, spinning it, knitting or anything remotely like. I am making a fuss of Tilly, the sort of gentle fuss that is intended to distract and calm a very excitable young thing. And Tilly is VERY excited because she has just this afternoon arrived at her new home, and there’s so much to discover.
Tilly is NOT another cat (7 is a very nice number to have – a pity to spoil that!); and she is NOT a greyhound. Tilly, is a black labrador, about 2 years old, and KC-registered, though I got her from the Uist branch of the SSPCA. And what really matters is that she is absolutely adorable!
She doesn’t annoy the cats, and is no more than amused by chickens. Molly and the rest of the cats are more curious than put out (though that may change the firs time Tilly helps herself to their food!). She’s very bright: soon after getting her home I took her across the road onto the beach, and coming back she knew exactly where to find our gate and the way back to the house. Excitable, but not daft!
You’ll be dying to see what she’s like. I’ll take a photo and J can add it for me tomorrow perhaps. You’ll just have to wait a bit – J hasn’t seen her either, and won’t till he comes home at beginning of October.