A frustrating week.

It was always going to happen. Trying to maintain a long distance relationship was always going to be difficult and the cracks in our relationship living 100 miles apart began to show this week, but more of that later. Let me first discuss the aftermath of last week’s visit and confirmation of the old wreck I am.

I awoke last Tuesday with a searing pain in my right foot, to be more precise at the joint of my big toe. Having received blows to the joint many times in my sporting years from both cricket and hockey balls I put it down to old war wounds aggravated by some vigorous digging days before. When I couldn’t bare weight on the foot on Wednesday a doctor’s consultation was necessary – her verdict, gout! So as my good friend Kathryn later pointed out, the common factor with others she knew with gout was maturing years and obesity, seems a fair and honest assessment. One that dictates that I need to start being more careful with what I eat and drink coupled with more exercise from the renovation.

We travelled back to Gigha on Sunday, starting the diet straight away with a bacon roll in Tarbet. A beautiful spot that allowed me to practice another hobby that hasn’t been at the fore for a while, photography. I really like the shot below, captured on an iPhone, for the largely monotone moody nature accented by the orange and blue boats just in shot.

We had returned to Gigha to meet with a chimney sweep and Argyll & Bute’s heating advisor. Obviously though, there were many other jobs to progress, but for once we put them on the back burner to meet other residents of the island. Delighted to have an invite to Achamore Lodge from our host Ellie and to meet several new faces. Also had the chance to try our hand at croquet!

In fairness beforehand we had managed to construct our old ‘party gazebo’ as a makeshift cover for the shepherd’s hut build. So Sunday afternoon was put to good use by Karen and I whilst Dan continued to persuade EE that the solitary mast on the island was not functioning as it should. We also continued into the evening attempting to clean brickwork with wire brushes attached to an angle-grinder. Realisation was soon upon us that to clean all the exterior walls in this fashion would be extremely time consuming and son had to abandon. Frustrating.

We woke on Monday to talk through options for heating the Old Manse with the man from A&B. We fear that our original idea of utilising ground source heating will be beyond our budget and it looks as though we need to consider more conventional systems. A report to those options is underway and will no doubt be the subject of many discussion before we can arrive at a solution.

The chimney sweep arrived later as planned. Perhaps unsurprisingly the verdict from the cameras post sweeping revealed a collapse in the lining of the chimney to the main sitting room. We had hoped that a fire could be lit here to temporarily warm the room we are using as our bed / living / kitchen prep area at present. Not to be, frustrating.

Meanwhile, in parallel to chimney investigation, the father son duo had begun work on the shepherd’s hut from the newly supplied instruction sheet. We were still missing parts required to connect the axle to the base frame but we now had within our gift all that was needed to plan the concrete pillars to act as a base. The frames were built and placed as plan, with the afternoon and following day planned to re-dig foundations and lay concrete.

But that was as much progress as we were going to achieve for this trip. The plan had always been for Dan and I to return a day later than Karen in the Hilux left for that exact purpose the week before. However, when Karen asked the question of ‘did I have the keys for the Hilux?’ on her departure I could only answer in the negative. A frustrating mistake by myself meaning we all had to return that afternoon in the CRV in which we came.

And that brings me to the point about long distance relationships, if we were 5-10 minutes away the issue could be easily resolved. We are not however, and at a point when the weather remains favourable there are so many jobs that could be progressed could we spend more time there. Lesson learnt and we continue to strive for a solution, in an ideal world a nearby rental will open up…..


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