First and foremost, we are now resident on Gigha. The stress of moving is behind us (for the moment) and we have once again counted the amount of possessions we retain by placing them in each of a storage container, the cottage we now occupy, overspill to the Old Manse and still a transit load left behind to redeploy to one of the aforementioned locations. Very grateful though to be here and within walking distance of our new home.
We always stated our new life was one that started to track toward self sufficiency and whilst we have made inroads to the garden vegetable patches will have to wait. The time was right however to bring bees with us to the Island. Understanding that the previously the Manse has had an apiary we were keen to introduce bees again. Karen has been learning the ropes prior to and through lockdown helping two friends with their own hives and the opportunity to take one for ourselves was too great a pull to ignore.
So last Sunday saw operation hive move begin at 6:30am with a bleary-eyed Andy helping to load some 30,000 bees cling wrapped inside a hive onto the back of the Hilux. With supervision by Wendy & the capable muscle of James, we managed the journey to the truck without incident. The whole affair went smoothly in fact with Wendy & Karen taking the lead once the hive was placed into the walled garden and the bees unwrapped and subsequently released.
We look forward to future production of honey to accompany the great yield the orchard has produced this year. I am delighted that new-found friends are collecting apples from us to turn into juice, sauce, vinegar and cider (no doubt the odd apple pie too). My good friend Julian suggests a future in both cider and mead, which doesn’t sound a bad idea.
At last, the scaffolding is down and the Old Manse can be viewed without the metal cage that has surrounded it for the last few months. I’m delighted with how the exterior is now looking with the render removed and grateful to Karen who persuaded me this was the right look for the exterior. Our builder has done a superb job and now the scaffolding is down we are hoping the ground floor can soon be completed too.
Likewise the windows. Our joiner, like much of Britain it would seem, has experienced supply issues but the glass to finish the glazing of the sash windows has now arrived to his workshop and the first windows should be back into the Old Manse next week. Not the same for the tin I have ordered for the shepherd hut’s roof. For now we wait for a dry day to put roofing felt on to try and prevent any further water ingress but the full roof looks like having to wait a little longer.
With the Old Manse renovation looking like it will have many months still before we can make it a home we are planning for next spring and the end to our tenancy at the cottage already. The shepherd hut is part of that equation, but we have also bought a caravan to go onto the grounds of the Old Manse recognizing that we will need more space should beds not be ready by April. Plans are underway for both hard-standing and French drains to allow for the caravan to be placed to the front garden (eventually). More on the caravan next time hopefully.