Jonathan: Last night I filtered and bottled the blackcurrant wine we racked a month ago. 24 bottles, plus a full carafe and a about four glasses to help us along the way. That’s a very good yield from 4 full-size demi-john and one half-size. Thanks to the previous racking, there was virtually no sediment, and I got it all done with just one filter. As I was sterilizing the wine bottles, I realized I hadn’t done that since we lived in Minsterley, Shropshire, at least 8 years ago. We haven’t made so much wine here, but when we have it’s … Continue reading →
Jonathan: It’s now late autumn and the wind is a just a big bully, standing in our way and pushing us hither and thither whichever we we turn. And for good measure it will bring with it a blustry shower to soak us through. I’ve not got much done outside since I got home Sunday night. There’s been enough to do indoors for now: sorting through accumulated post, making arrangements for taking sheep to abattoir, collecting some lambs I’ve bought …
Jonathan > Thanks to the windy weather, the air temperature is mild, though in the wind and wet it’s another story! The electric Aga keeps the kitchen cosy and the rest of the house reasonable, but in the evenings the whole household – Denise and I, Tilly and the seven cats – all gather around the fire in the living room. Our wood-burning stove is very effective and economical, but thank heavens for all that scrap wood from our building projects So today I’ve been sawing up the heavy baulks (some around 10″ x 4″) that Denise has been unable … Continue reading →
Jonathan: After an uneventful voyage from Oban via Castlebay, I arrived at Lochboisdale and pushing my bike up the ramp was first off the boat – and immediately could see Denise waving to me from the car. Absolutely lovely to be home at last!
Jonathan: Clansman has arrived in Oban bay and is just as I write firing up the bow thrusters to turn about and dock at linkspan 2. Time to log off and get myself sorted. This is the last ‘In Exile’ category blog: as soon as I’m on board that boat I’m as good as at home.
Jonathan: Fish & Chips sitting on a bench on the North Pier: feeding the seagulls with the scraps – holding them out for them to take on the wing. Next I cycled north around Dunollie Castle and winding around the coast to Ganavan Sands. Large development of showy houses being built that will effectively appropriate the sandy beach to the residents, despite the long-standing public access to the beach and the large public car park. I can see conflicts arising between the new residents (though I wonder how many will just be holiday homes or lets) and the public. Ganavan … Continue reading →
Jonathan: I’m writing this using the free WiFi hotspot at Calmac ferry terminal. After a really good night’s sleep and a leisurely good breakfast, I repacked all my stuff and got out onto the streets. Cold but still and thankfully dry: in fact the sun is shining. Bought my ticket and then looked out for things to amuse me until the ferry at 1500hrs. Ferry to Lismore going soon, but wouldn’t get back in time (unless I just went for a there-and-back). How about Kerrera? I cycled down that really beautiful lane to Gallanach, but the ferry had just gone, … Continue reading →
Jonathan: Writing this in front of a huge log fire in the lounge/dining/games/kitchen area of the Oban Backpackers Hostel. Just £19 for a bunk and breakfast, and a nice relaxed atmosphere. As it happens I’ve got room to myself, so that’s handy as I can spread out all my stuff to dry on abover or near the heating radiator: Just after I left the station it started to rain, and quickly it came down like a deluge. By the time I’d cycled to the hostel I was really wet! Mobile phone contract now cancelled to save money so I went … Continue reading →
Jonathan: Queen Street is such an easy station to get around and it took just a few minutes to get round to the Oban train, get the bike stored properly in the special bike racks (train has capacity for 12, which 4 times more than the HST to Edinburgh!). Now dark, so unfortunately I won’t get to see any of the wonderful scenery, which is a pity as this is the first time I’ve used the train between Glasgow and Oban. Time to raid my panniers for goodies to eat, and then put my head down for a rest after … Continue reading →
Jonathan: Wonderful scenery all the way – especially after York, highlights being Durham, Newcastle on Tyne, Alnmouth, Berwick on Tweed. Delays due to a broken-down cross-country train and a ‘bridge-strike’ (ie a vehicle having hit a rail bridge) mean the train got into Edinburgh 45mins late. I now had just two trains, each 15mins apart to get to Queen St or I’d miss the Oban train. Waverley is a complicated station to get around, all the more so with a bike, having to use the lifts and even having to queue for them! By the skin of my teeth I … Continue reading →
Jonathan: On the train from Welwyn GC to Stevenage, the only space for the bike was across the double doors on the opposite side to the platform. Coming into Stevenage I realized that the platform there was on the side of the bike, and as a passenger was already up and tutting and looking to move the bike, I got up quickly to shift it myself. Soon I had a load of passengers behind me wanting off and tutting and huffing, so off I got. With 2 hours to kill before the next leg of my journey, I thought I’d … Continue reading →
Jonathan: Discovered last night that the bike and loaded panniers is so heavy and wide that I couldn’t get it into the van, so cycled over to the buyers house, left the bike and walked back. Exchange of motorhome and payment now complete. Cycled up to the station, and found that the only way of getting the bike to the station ws a service lift in the Howard Centre, which you had to ask for – by going upstears. Instead someone helped me get the bike up the steps to the bridge from the Broadwater side of the railway. No … Continue reading →