It’s coming on Christmas

Like most men, I think, I’m not very good at present shopping. Truth is I failed miserably come birthday present time this year and Christmas may not be a whole lot better unless I get myself into shape on the next planned trip to the mainland. Island life brings about a whole new dependency on the Amazon parcel service but I still like to hold and feel an item before I buy (old school). So one chance to get this right next visit…..

But before Christmas there is another month to look back upon, including that birthday I didn’t plan well for but others did. A surprise visit from four of our friends to coincide with Karen’s birthday saw some great weather for walking. The picture below is one of us on Liem beach where we stroll to work up an appetite for the lasagna that lay in waiting for us back at the cottage. Elaine’s cooking never disappoints and was happily washed down by copious amounts of red wine to celebrate another year.

The weekend also saw myself and other friends on the island put the finishing touches to the infrastructure that will be the Dark Skies Theatre on Gigha. Benches have been waiting at the Manse for a while and with a plinth and information panel there time had come to be anchored in place. Fortunately, some good weather whilst doing the job allowed everything to complete without a hitch.

The Dark Skies Festival including an opening of the now prepared ‘Theatre would take place the following weekend. A mobile planetarium was deployed at the village hall and exhibits of local photographs, space suits and Virtual Reality kept visitors amused for the evening. A special mention to the troops from Cosmos Planetarium who, in the day, had hosted events for the local primary school before two shows in the planetarium that evening. A formal opening of the the theatre on the Saturday was followed by an evening lecture on robotic telescopes and an informal ‘ask the expert’ session hosted by yours truly. Very proud of what we as a group (take a bow Keith, Kenny, Casey-Jo & Julie) have achieved and my small contribution towards that. Much happens on this small Island to make it punch above it’s weight in terms of population and is evidenced by this and the support received from other groups and individuals. More than a third of all residents (guessing with the kids closer to half) attended events over the course of the weekend and input from Gigha Brewery (Dave & Anna), the Gigha Hotel, local comic book authors (Adam & Lisa), OGAM Project (Maggie) and Bookbug (Hannah) all made for an astronomical success (pun intended). My apologies if I have missed anyone from the list.

December has brought with it some clear skies and cold weather making for some great scenery both around the Island and at the Manse itself. It has also reminded me that whilst the caravan would have continued to provide us with cheap accommodation it would not have been warm accommodation. The log burner at the cottage has been well used.

Our friend Wendy commented, when she visited the island recently, that much of the social life revolves around food. No event can take place without the expectation of at least one of a sandwich platter, bowl of soup or (mostly present) cake. It isn’t helping my waistline but it has been comforting to share in the traditional whist drives with a perfect example of this catering.

Meanwhile, we continue our own traditions of a martini on Sunday afternoon before a traditional roast dinner. The apples that we have in abundance, are being steadily dealt with and cooking remains one of my favourite hobbies. So much so we have already had our first Christmas dinner when our son and his partner visited last weekend. More clear skies and walking on Sunday to walk off the excess of food completes the summary of the month.

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