Jonathan: A good day in Uist, in winter, is a day when you can hear passing traffic above the buffeting and bluster of the wind – in fact, when you can hear anything above the wind! A better day is when you catch, between gusts or squally showers, the call of birds – or the crash and tumble of waves on the beach. The best kind of day is a day spent entirely outdoors, soothed by a symphony of birdsong – percussion provided by a gentle lapping of the sea and rattle of the stones at low tide. And then there are those days, truly exceptional days, when the song of the sea – Ceol na Mara – ceases entirely: the island lazes under a warming sun, and even the wind and the sea agree between them to take the day off. On such days the song of birds fills not just the air, but fills also our hearts and brightens our voices, and even the buzz of flies amongst the veronica bushes is something to remember the day by. On such days we overhear conversation from outside the high garden walls ; and the call and bark of crofter and dog shimmers across the smoothed and settled sea from as far away as Eolaigearraidh, Barra – the clarity preserved by the dry cold air. Such days are, it is true, few and far between, and more likely in winter than summer ; yet there have been many such days since we came here in 2002, some memorable to the end of days. Many islanders will recall with a smile that day after the great hurricane of January 2005, when all the isles rolled up their sleeves and set about clearing up and rejoicing for all that had survived, the innate wonder of life. And then there’s today: busy working all day, but all of it pleasant, or made so by taking it easy ; lunch with friends ; outdoors most of the day ; not dark until after 6pm, and the days lengthening rapidly as we near the advent of spring. As days come and go, a day such as this is as near to perfection as any day can be!