From the fireside

So much for the promise of spring. Right now I'm huddled close to the stove with a blanket around my shoulders as the weather rages outside. I listened to the radio yesterday morning coming home from the school run (having fought the wind to open the car doors) and apparently those winds are getting up to 100mph on the hills. I can believe it. Along with the gales, we have horizontal hail and rain, and last night was a wakeful one. It felt like the the roof was going to be torn off the house. The whole place was shuddering and rattling. 

As ever, Joe slept through it all. He enjoyed the short-lived power cut earlier in the evening too...

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. But Jay was working and we were just thankful that the road has cleared of snow and ice (it was back to leaving the car at the bottom of the hill last week). I'm also pleased that I confused my dates and the snowdrop walk at the castle is next Wednesday. Who knows, perhaps it won't be raining/snowing/stormy in a week's time.

I did some making earlier this week: some more little bound notebooks. I tried a new design too, 'Beech leaf', and quite like how it turned out. The 'Rose hip' one has already gone and I'll need to order some paper for the inner pages before I can make any more.

I started adding some new shop listings, including this cyanotype. I photographed some others but wasn't happy with the pictures so am planning a product photography session which will probably happen early next week.

I've also been sketching and working on some ideas for maps of Skye. I really enjoyed spending Tuesday afternoon sitting with my sketchbook and found a lot of inspiration on Pinterest and from a book Jay bought me for Valentine's Day: A Handbook of Type and Illustration by John Lewis. It's an old one, published in 1956, and I spotted it in our local cafe. They sell vintage books - lots of them - and you can leaf through as you drink coffee and eat cake.

Speaking of the cafe we've been socialising a bit more with our new neighbours. People are starting to emerge from hibernation and businesses are reopening as the tourist season approaches. On Saturday evening we braved the snow and went along to a bingo night in support of the summer gala. We met some lovely people, learnt a lot about the local area and picked up some good advice on buying houses (and building them).

There was a lot of cake; people had been busily baking so Joe was very happy. He played quietly (well, quietly by his standards) with a sewing box full of buttons, flicked through some old children's books and marvelled at the record player which was playing retro LPs. 

We're now members of the Parent Council and attended our first meeting. Plans are afoot to buy a polytunnel for the school which is very exciting, and we've offered to help out on weekends and during the holidays. I miss planting and pottering.

In the spirit of venturing out, I've put my name down for a crochet workshop at the library. It's something I've always wanted to learn but haven't managed. The session's only a few hours long so even if I lose patience it doesn't matter too much...

We're also - gasp - back on the mainland on Sunday. Joe has an appointment in Inverness on Monday so we're having an overnight stay. It's somewhere I've never been but as it's the Highland capital (and has lots of amenities) many islanders make the trip regularly. I've already started making a list but it's not very exciting: new school trousers and socks, decent shampoo and so on. We'll also be stocking up on certain things from an inexpensive German supermarket - you know the one - which are either unavailable or very expensive on Skye. Non-essentials but things which make life that bit nicer, such as coconut water and artichokes in oil.

I've given up chocolate for Lent. Not for religious reasons but because I need to. Seriously. I have quite the habit and I need to prove to myself that I can exist perfectly happily without either eating it or obsessing about it on a daily basis. So no buying my favourite dark variety with hazelnuts from said supermarket.

Jay's bought me a new sketchbook and pencils, and a pot of daffodil bulbs which are currently on the windowsill. So tomorrow could be an art day if the weather carries on being this inhospitable (the forecast suggests it will). It's currently just a case of darting out when absolutely necessary. So yes, most of the photographs in this post were taken a week ago.

P.S. I bought him the card from my new favourite shop in Portree. Lovely, lovely things in there... 

Joe's Skye journey is going well. School closed for the afternoon on Monday (snow) so we had lunch with friends then he went to their house to play while I stayed home to write some content for a client. At the weekend he tried monotype printing and made some lovely prints of a train, a leaf and the Loch Ness monster. He's also been making pizza dough with Jay.

The swimming lessons are a hit and his reading's pretty impressive. Although he does seem to have an answer for everything which drives me up the wall... And he's somehow managed to lose two woolly hats in the space of a week. One of them is somewhere near Portnalong lighthouse, no doubt whipped into the sea by now.

Later it'll be time to pull on the waterproofs and head down to the school for him. I'm enjoying that little ritual, storms or not. I sit in the car listening to Radio Scotland looking out towards the Cuillins with their snowy peaks, making the most of my last solitary moments before the human tornado comes running out of the door with news and chatter. There's a pan full of soup ready, the heating's set to come on and we're going to watch Highway Rat together once he's changed into warm clothes. There'll be hot baths this evening and - fingers crossed - we'll all sleep through the storms.