Jonathan: Okay, much of the known world might be occupied with pulling out the pegs, folding up the tent and setting off to hell on a hand-cart, but frankly we’re too busy keeping our bit of this crazy world terra firma!
Over the past few days, Autumn has had a series of short and surprisingly courteous meetings with the incoming winter, each reaffirming that the seasonal cycle is bigger than either of them, and each exercising the customary courtesies towards each other. In short, sunshine and showers. The showers have been sleety, the sunshine glorious. Never is Uist more beautiful than when the seasons change!
In such weather, we’ve no appetite for long-winded tasks that keep us indoors all day, and we’re equally unenthusiastic about committing to an outdoor project that might be more likely to end with a soaking than a sun tan! Thankfully, there’s a long list (several, truth be told!) of short jobs to do, indoors and out. We can pick and mix as we go along.
And for that matter, at home and away. With the Big Garden’s shop shut until next Spring, we can please ourselves, be a bit more spontaneous. The sheep, hens, dog, cats, geese – they’ll not miss us if we go out for the day! (Well, Pickle will definitely make a scene when we get home, but that’s Pickle!)
Truth be told, we only intended to go to Daliburgh. To post some fleeces off for mill-spinning. (Okay, not all that spontaneous – that was decided and the wool packed up and labelled last night.) That done, we called in at the Thrift Shop (known elsewhere as a charity shop). I came away with a couple of DVDs to widen the choice at Carrick (so not actually for us, then?). And then as we’d been talking about it as we drove to Daliburgh, we decided, on the spur of the moment, to head to Carnan at the northern-most tip of South Uist, to look at feeding equipment for the sheep. (So, not exactly us-time!)
When we got there we realized it was already lunchtime, so drove on, along the causeway to the Isle of Benbecula, for lunch at the Island Deli in Balivanich. (We recommend it highly!) Talking over lunch we thought we might as well call in at the Thrift Shop near the airport (we came away with a book to add to the library at Eight Askernish, and some clothing for Denise’s mother, Betty). (So, all about us again, eh?)
Well, time was ticking by, so we turned about and called in at Co-Chomunn an Iochdair – Carnan Stores (another example of a well-run island-owned business, in this case a co-operative – a co-chomunn), To be honest, we didn’t really know quite what we were looking for, as agricultural products like galvanized feeders and hurdles and so on tend to be geared to larger-scale farming, commercial breeds, level ground, and certainly not for rain that doesn’t merely fall vertically from the sky, but launches violent attacks – aided and abetted by the wind – from any direction, at any angle, and with bile and ferocity beyond the imagining of ordinary decent home-loving folk. If it had been just me looking, I’d have gone away empty-handed. Yet again – because today was not the first time I’d called in at Carnan Stores for this purpose. If it had been just Denise – well she wouldn’t have called in at all, as it’s not really her domain. But this time we were looking together, and thinking together … and we came away having spent £600 on not one but two feeders! (Still, we could always set them up in the dining room at home for ourselves to eat from , and give our old oak table chairs and dresser to charity.)
Spontaneity: the art of spending money you know you don’t have on things you didn’t know you needed … for people you don’t yet know – and animals who seem to know you far better than you’ll ever know them.
Well, at least the lunch was for us!