March notebook

I think that, after what feels like the longest of winters, spring is finally coming into view. Although there’s still much brown and grey, and the greens are tired and faded, there are signs.

The seedlings Joe and I planted on the windowsill are now growing very quickly indeed; the pumpkins in particular are almost doubling in size each day. And my orchid is almost in full bloom once more. Strange how some plants didn’t survive our long journey here, and the cold, but this allegedly fussy exotic has coped perfectly well.

One of the things I’m happiest about is the return of Gardener’s World. I love it – that Friday night ritual of gentle viewing as the year is marked out and the seasons observed. But it’s inspiring too; once we get our own garden we’re keen to get planting and digging and growing. We brought quite a few things with us, like apple trees and a hydrangea, tulips and a few magnolias. All in pots, all awaiting their permanent home.

We’ve been out and about. Another visit to Glenbrittle beach on a blisteringly cold day to play hide and seek amongst the rocks, and to look for interesting shells.

Skye is a very windy island. It’s so deceptive when you go out in the car and the sun’s shining brightly – you quickly forget just how freezing the wind can be. And how strong it is, too.

Saturday was bright but again, fearfully cold in the wind. We visited the Fairy Glen near Uig, further north than here and where you take the ferry to the Outer Isles. We’re trying to see all the ‘attractions’ before the tourists start arriving in large numbers, as parking can be almost impossible in certain places.

And, of course, it’s just nicer sometimes to have these places to yourselves.

The Fairy Glen is an area where the topography is strange to say the least. Pointed little hills, ridges shaped like dinosaur’s backs, mossy hollows with trees dwarfed and twisted by those winds. The turf is closely-cropped by the sheep so you can see all the strange steps and lines swirling this way and that.

There are stone circles placed there by visitors, little towers too – although I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s a meeting place for secretive groups carrying out ancient rituals by firelight. There’s definitely something magical about the area, even in the middle of the day. Speaking of which: all this harsh sunlight isn’t great for photography. As you know, I far prefer it overcast for taking pictures but it felt good to be out on such a bright afternoon. Joe found some frogspawn, and there were catkins on the bare branches.

The heather burning continues. It’s much closer to us at the moment, and it’s quite surprising how a small area can produce so much smoke. It makes everything hazy and drifts on for miles. We took a little drive to get some pictures (Jay fared better with the zoom lens on his camera), but it looked best at night: lines of flame up on the hillside illuminating the darkness.

We’ve got plans for Easter and beyond; trips to Inverness and Edinburgh, family visits. People often assume that because we’re in Scotland, cities like Edinburgh are a stone’s throw away. We were actually closer to it when we lived in Lancashire (a 3-hour journey or thereabouts; from Skye it’s closer to five hours). So we’re looking forward to that. It would be nice to see the Botanic Gardens again and perhaps take Joe to the Museum of Childhood.

I’m thinking of making an Easter tree with him. Perhaps collecting some twigs, blowing some eggs and decorating them. He’s still very much into art and is always drawing and snipping, folding and sticking. School finishes next week so we’ll be out adventuring providing the weather stays reasonable…

I’ve yet to make more things for the online shop - admittedly, I've been struggling lately with a lack of creative urge - but I have been drawing again. I’ve also been asked if I’d be interested in running printmaking sessions locally, which I think I would. So that’s something exciting in the pipeline.

Until then, life here goes on. The postman leaves parcels in my (unlocked) car if they won’t go through the letterbox and we’re not around. We’ve had to ignore the tame sheep and stop feeding her as she continues to thrust her head through the fence and end up stuck. I can see lots of green rosettes everywhere which promise foxgloves in the summer.

The days consist of small things. Fewer things, too, than our old life – and it’s a good way to live. We're still adjusting but we're learning and enjoying the changes.