Making and meandering

Towards the end of a 22-day dry spell, the clouds finally gathered. The past few days have been wet and blustery but we definitely made the most of the sunshine with lots of walks and trips to the castle. Best of all, we tried a new path next to the house which is apparently a shortcut to another little road where our friends live.

Joe and I often spend time around the bottom of the lane by the stream. It's full of wildflowers and insects. But we'd never explored further until the weekend, and it's a lovely walk which leads to a meandering path through the bracken and past little croft houses. There are lots of wild raspberries on their way, and wild thyme growing here and there.

I'm still collecting lots of stems and blooms for printmaking as they'll have to last me right through until next spring. And now I've got access to an etching press (and am taking part in an exhibition), I want to make even more. 

So I've been busy creating things and planning workshops - there's another on Sunday - and am thinking about trying new techniques. Drypoint etching and collograph look interesting, particularly having seen my fellow printmakers working away at our monthly group.

There's been a great deal of pottering going on in the garden but the gate definitely needs to be kept closed. I had to chase two ewes and their lambs out this morning after seeing them getting stuck into the borders.

At least this rain will give all the plants a good drink. Some things were flagging a bit.

Speaking of the house, we bought a lot of paint in Inverness recently. We're just going to blast everything in white and then in time do each room a bit more thoroughly. There are curtain poles to put up too, and the worst bit of redecorating: filling and sanding. I know preparation is key etc. but really, just... no.

I always admired this house when we've been to Skye previously and we're really lucky to now live here. So it comes as no surprise that people seem to like photographing it. I've met some very nice people from all over the world snapping away with their phones. But last week I was on the computer in the middle bedroom and spotted a couple having a good look. The man had a camera with a very big lens. He aimed it at the house and then saw me at my desk in the window. He lowered the camera, then thought better of it and took his pictures anyway.

It felt intrusive somehow - maybe because I was looking at him and he was looking straight at me? I know I'm a hypocrite because I love photographing beautiful houses and gardens, and often get up close to capture little details like door knockers or things displayed on windowsills. But if someone was sitting in the window or out in the garden I'd probably just leave the photo opportunity and keep walking. I don't know. Perhaps I was just having a bad day?

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Our house is actually in this post. I'll give you a clue: it isn't one of the rusty sheds! (How photogenic are they, though? They're everywhere up here and I love them).

There's much knack-ery to master living here. Locking the back door requires a bit of handle-jiggling. The bathroom cold tap needs coaxing - it's like some strange, hurried and exasperating little morning dance. The sash windows upstairs can be temperamental. One day it'll all become second nature. It'll have to, as our budget doesn't currently stretch to non-urgent repairs or replacements...

The school holidays start in a few weeks. Late June until mid August. Which means I have a lot to do beforehand as Joe being with me every day is not conducive to productivity. So I'm writing down lists and ticking things off - in order of importance, too - and trying not to feel overwhelmed.

But I'm really excited about my new position at Creative Countryside: Deputy Editor. I can really get stuck in and find contributors, write more content and feature my artwork. I'm brimming with ideas and am looking forward to growing the magazine. If you'd like to order the latest issue just head to the website - the latest issue 'Light' is double the length of previous ones and has had a little re-design too.

I'm actually sitting here next to a little convection heater at the minute. Putting the central heating on in June isn't an option (out of principle), and I can't face the thought of messing around with lighting a fire. But I'm going to go and busy myself now and hopefully warm up a bit. The front of the house is more or less west-facing so it takes the brunt of the wind, even though we're much more sheltered down here than we were in the previous place. So I'll decamp to the kitchen instead and get the fairy lights and kettle on. They always make things cosier somehow.

P.S. There's a short picture-heavy post in the Skye journal section of the site if you'd like to see more flowers...