Old Man Problems

Another month behind me when I look at the last blog date and will try and take things chronologically, jogging my memory from iPhone photos – first OMP (Old man problem) to note memory loss. That wasn’t quite what I had in mind though when titling the blog entry, another birthday has passed and the hernia I acquired through heavy lifting in the summer has been dealt with, but more of that later.

Knowing that the Manse needed emptied for imminent arrival of workmen we employed local joinery services to reroof the shed. A good solution to storage problems in the short term supposing we could make it waterproof. Very pleased with the new tin to keep out leeks and further application of sealant to the window seems to have done the trick.

Over the last month we have got back to walking, not as regular as I would like but the next photos on my phone remind me that at the start of the month in relatively good weather, we found the path from Ardailly Mill to Springbank. I say found as on at least two occasions we lost sight of the next waymarker making it difficult to navigate in a straight line. The walk though provided good views of the West Coast of Gigha and one I shall repeat with knowledge provided OMP#1 and my ever failing sense of direction doesn’t impede that.

OMP#2 lifting heavy things in your fifties can cause damage. I am very thankful though to the local health services that have speedily put me back together. A diagnosis of hernia in the summer was resolved on the 6th October with an outpatient visit to Oban hospital. The visit gave me the excuse to buy Richard Osman’s third book ‘The Bullet that Missed’ and read it in 48 hours of pre-op and post-op recuperation. All went well and, for the main, I have regarded the advice to ‘take it easy’ for a few weeks.

Pleased to report though, that I was in rood health for my birthday 9 days later and did the things I enjoy. The weather was less good for the scheduled walk of the new Southern loop but we managed all the same. A few difficulties again due to finding markers, but more to due to lack of strength in my core to clamber over slippery rocks. Came back very wet but a shower, bottle of good red wine and a steak dinner concluded birthday celebrations nicely. OMP#3 too many birthdays makes it difficult to buy for. However, I’m pleased to report new walking trousers, a new toy for the camera and a Scotland rugby shirt made for a pretty good day!

The week following my birthday saw the last week of our caravan summer. We are moving back to solid walls for the duration of the winter months but feel I should pay tribute to the steel box we leave behind as it has served us well this summer. Lately, also, the walk back to our home has provided great views of the night sky and when the skies cleared I was able to test out my automated shutter release birthday present (photo below). More of a concern in the Manse garden was the first mink attack on the chicken coop. Karen dealt admirably with the predator but a new chicken coop and mink trap had to be ordered as a consequence.

Last of the three walks this month I want to mention was the path to Fisherman’s cave. Another wet October day saw our mission to find the cave on the West Coast and after the first boggy field to reach the stone path, the effort was worth it. Some lovely views when you find the entry point and again a walk to be repeated on a summer day. I can tick the walk of the list I have from the book below that I would highly recommend to any visitor to Gigha.

So a flurry of moving into the cottage, attempting to pick any remaining apples and turn them into something worthwhile, building a new chicken coop before a weekend off-island fell largely to Karen. First batches of (experimental) cider underway and a complete coop below are evidence of what a tremendously hard working wifey I have. All of this set us up for a lovely weekend of seeing friends and family just gone. A chance to indulge my passion of rugby watching with our good friends proved an excellent highlight to start the weekend. A trip to the concert hall in Glasgow to see Squeeze book-ended a great three days of good food and the odd indulgence. But I don’t miss Edinburgh / Glasgow traffic.

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