September

September

September’s been a good month here on Skye - in our corner of it at least. We’ve had some mild, sunny weather and spent time lounging in the garden with books and the cat and Joe’s den kit. There have been walks in the woods (and we’ve seen so many toadstools and huge Fly agaric mushrooms), after-school trips to the castle gardens, and little adventures around the village.

We’re getting ready for hosting a few parties in the outbuilding next month. The house is getting autumnal too - and I picked up some bargain holders for my beeswax candles from a charity shop in Portree. I always stock up on seasonally scented candles too when we go to Inverness, little ones from TK Maxx, and I burn them in the evenings. Each one lasts roughly a week, and during the day I burn scented oils.

It’s always nice to have the kitchen door open in autumn. Leaves come skittering in across the floor and because the house is L-shaped, it’s a relatively sheltered spot on this windy island. The small toad keeps returning of an evening (and is duly rescued from the cat) and we have several resident house spiders.

My prints have appeared in the ‘Gifts for Nature Lovers’ section of the Country Living magazine Christmas special issue. This makes me very happy. I’ve been printmaking this week - mainly the lino cut of a hand filled with stems and leaves, but I’m stuck - I can’t think of a name for it…

Speaking of magazines, I’m still going to the little group at the library on a Thursday evening. We sit and drink tea and flick through piles of interiors and lifestyle and nature mags, and talk a lot and it’s lovely. We’re thinking of ideas for workshops in the run up to Christmas because who doesn’t like making stuff?

The way things work on Skye, it’s all about who you know, so you discover lots when you sit down with a group of people: where to buy things, good places to visit, where to eat, who can teach you pretty much any skill you want to learn… Who knew that there was a hidden footpath down there to an amazing deserted beach? Or that you can buy free range meat from that farm by going into the shed, helping yourself from the freezer, and leaving money in the honesty box?

We’ve been baking - the tin is literally bursting with miniature gingerbread men (should’ve used half the amount of ingredients) - and we’re making cheese and spinach muffins this weekend. I’m currently reading Theft by Finding (David Sedaris) and really want to see the Downton Abbey film, but doubt the local arts centre will be showing it. I know it’s not a very cool film to want to watch, but I don’t care. Unfortunately it’s looking like I won’t get to see it on the big screen, probably have to wait until I can buy the DVD…

I’m supposed to be going to the Red Roof Cafe next week with a friend, and there’s a newly-opened place near Carbost I’m going to check out with another friend and our kids. We’re making all kinds of plans for the coming weeks and the October half term (two weeks!!!): trips down to the Sleat Peninsula, a possible ferry trip to Glenelg before it closes for the winter, maybe hopping over the Skye bridge to the mainland to visit Plockton and Balmacara…

The sycamore leaves are already falling and are ankle deep on the drive and in corners of the front garden. I’m back to my wardrobe Happy Place: colourful tights, ankle boots and woolly jumpers. I washed and ironed my old college scarf, which is gold, green and purple, and I haven’t worn it in years. There are a few moth holes here and there but that’s just character, isn’t it?

Joe’s having a great September, what with Forest School and Beavers and swimming lessons, seeing his friends at the weekends, and lots of reading. He devours anything with facts and figures - I knew he would, as he’s so curious - and he still likes to hang out in the stream in the garden. The pre-Halloween excitement levels are right up there too.

And with that I’m off to free up some space in the biscuit tin.