A good Friday

A 6am start gave us plenty of time for a stop on the route for a bacon roll and still make the 10am ferry. Fantastic weather had been forecast for the weekend so plans were already changing from the indoor task of wallpaper stripping to further clearance of ground in the garden. The journey to the ferry didn’t disappoint, clear skies and scenery that makes me smile every time we make the journey.

We had cleared many brambles the week before, but there was little opportunity to dispose of, so a fire was the first task. We figured there would be plenty more cuttings to add over the day and we weren’t wrong. More brambles were cleared from the meadow and attention turned again to clearing the out buildings and the space immediately behind the house. A good job we came fully armed with boys toys.

I hadn’t appreciated how invasive ivy was to buildings, in fact I had always quite admired old buildings cloaked in a coat of the climbing plant. As ivy grows it seems to seek every crack to gain a further foothold and, once it has infiltrated, continues to separate the mortar and reek damage. The best illustration I can find from todays photos is the one below where the ivy has lifted half a dozen bricks from their intended position. Care needed when cutting further.

So with some care whilst employing the might of the chainsaw and loppers the task proceeded to good effect. Still work to be done but the outbuildings are becoming more accessible and ideas for how they can be used in the future are already starting to take shape.

Another feature of ivy is how well it burns. I am told by a learned friend that it contains large amounts of oil making it highly combustible, very handy to our cause. The fire that was started at 11am raged well until we stopped at 6pm and included a ceremonial burning of the ‘For Sale’ sign that until last week hadn’t been taken down and stored for this very purpose. After a 2 year journey to buying it felt very good to remove it.

Further work on Saturday would be required to finish clearing behind the house but the work party was pretty spent and the aforementioned chilli-con-carne was calling (as was a gin & tonic). I didn’t think to pack sun tan lotion it being April in Scotland but I’ve left feeling a little burnt tonight, although I’m not sure whether it’s from direct sunlight or the heat of the fire.

Anyway after shower and food we decided a trip to the North of the Island was in order to seek out a sunset that the day had promised. A very clear view out to Jura provided a brilliant backdrop for the photo below. I cannot state how much I love the natural beauty of the West Coast of Scotland, I feel at home here already.

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