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Saturday, 23 August 2008

Thunder in the glens.

The Scottish Harley Davidson owners clubs are in town for their annual 'Thunder in the Glens' so Aviemore has taken an apocalyptic twist, it's full of big guys in leather and every conceivable shape of motorbike. Over this side of the glen the screech of the angle grinder means the guttering continues. The only thing that makes this apparently endless task bearable is the prospect that the paint I'm using ought to be visible on google earth so when I'm finished the house will have skinny red lips.

In the meantime Jonny and Peter have been fishing. Jonny has caught 2 salmon in the last 2 days, had each in the net and each, with a gymnastic wriggle, got clear of him, bounced off a few rocks and somehow slithered back into the water. I was going to get Jonny to come into town for some hairy 1980s revival rock but his blood is up so we probably wont see him till dawn.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Making jam.

Take one fisherman, in this case Jonny Page, distract him from his flies. Take one 10 ton yellow telehandler, left in the driveway by friendly contractor. Combine to elevate fisherman into otherwise totally inaccessible cherry tree. Flushed with success, try to persuade someone else to make jam.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

It never rains but...

The gutters on the main house are a lovely profile in cast iron but the ones on the front were looking crooked. On Thursday I finally got round to getting the long ladder out and, wobbling my way to the top, a great can of worms was opened. Plastic filler, impermeable and unprimed paint, seams of silicone holding water in the soffits, rotten woodwork, splits in the lead and an infestation of both wasps and bees. The last decorator now has a price on his head. The yellow pages gave us George the wasp man, who turned up the next day, and Angus from Spey Building and Joinery stepped up to the plate with a huge yellow telehandler and the help of two excellent guys. By yesterday evening Nick and James had all the gutters on the ground and by this evening we had remade most of the soffits, repaired the woodwork, raked huge tongues of dripping honeycomb from between the rafters and started the arduous task of cleaning up each section of gutter, welding up any cracks, priming and painting them, so far 6 sections done, probably 60 to go.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Rich Pickings.

After a fortnight of partying both here (our first party in business, pictured) and at Standon Calling, it is back to being wholesome. We started with a little get together of everyone from the estate. Ewan and Sulekha run their company, Northern Greens, from the vegetable gardens and they brought a delicious salad of lettuce, rocket and nasturtiums (apparently Grace Jones eats a lot of flowers). This set the ball rolling and our neighbours invited us to make sure their splendid veg patch doesn't waste while they are on holiday so we dived in for sweet peas, beans, lettuces, spinach, more rocket and big juicy redcurrants.

To compliment these amazing flavoursome home grown vegetables there are the wild foods. The place is covered with little sweet raspberries, sorrel, chanterelle mushrooms, cherries and a carpet of blaeberries. After much debate about what a blaeberry scoop really is we have improvised with a bowl and a coarse nit comb. Half an hours sweeping gathered me a mug of berries and a similar volume of spiders, it's all sitting outside overnight in case it wants to escape.

If anyone has foraging recommendations please let me know, this time next year we will certainly run a found foods course. Hedgerows and roadkill or similar.