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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Alastair Sawdays.

Its time to thank the lovely people at Alastair Sawday Publishing, they have been super supportive to us getting Inshriach off the ground, given us this listing, been full of advice, good PR and quality introductions and their discerning approach is reflected in the enquiries we receive. If anyone reading this is considering getting themselves into a similar situation I couldn't recommend them highly enough.

We also have them to thank for this in the travel section of Saturdays Guardian...

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Dem bones.

Is the farm flat possessed?

Having spent all day searching Inverness for plastic skeletons, skulls on strings, prop bones and halloween teeth I got home to a call saying there are bones coming out of the hot tap in the farm flat. My best guess is that a bat has found its way into the system. There are a lot of bats in the Cairngorms, pipistrelles and horseshoes, they swoop in around you fishing at night and squeak between the rafters in the barn.

We had the house rented last week, 2 families with lots of food, fishing and clay pigeon shooting on Rothiemurchus, since then it has started snowing in earnest, this pic of Loch Morlich was a beautiful break in yesterday's largely challenging weather.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Stock the loch.

Restocking the loch had taken on a ceremonial significance. The means fell into place when I found myself working just round the corner from Craig Ireland's organic trout farm. Craig is a lovely guy, full of fishy enthusiasm. He has huge tanks bubbling with spring water and trout, a growing sideline producing delicious smoked fish and he was happy to come round on a Saturday afternoon to spoon in a few hundred lively silvery little fellas. They are mostly yearlings, 4 to 6 inches long to put on weight for next year but there are a few dozen big monsters to splosh about. They set off in a clockwise direction, rising, exploring, probably looking for the side of the tank in which they have spent the last 2 years.

We have a few families and lots of youngsters arriving on Tuesday, I would like the fish to settle so rather than catch them we will chuck handfuls of food at them, lulling them into a false sense of security.

Thanks to Dan Light for keeping me connected with the world through the media of online Scrabble and his US election coverage, the only coverage worth following.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Demons in the midst.

The onset of Autumn has shown the skill of Jack Drake, who lived here until 1970 and was responsible for the Nursery Garden next door; the trees round the house are now rich reds, oranges and yellows mingled in the evergreens.

No wonder the highlands is such a popular place for filming. This week has been a roll call of beautiful locations, Glenfeshie, Pattack falls, Laggan. The kids have been climbing, rafting and paddling among other activities and in the course of this I have got to know expert guides for winter climbing (the Cairngorms being world renowned), canoeing and mountain biking so we are putting our heads together to offer these to guests.

Between other jobs a few of us were called upon to be demons.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Loch Laggan.

Last week there was an early dusting of snow on the hills and today we have had a day filming at Loch Laggan. Loch Laggan has a great pale sandy beach at its east end and tremendous views up to the mountains, the crazy spires of Ardverikie house (Glenbogle in Monarch of the Glen) poked out from the mist mid morning and the light and cloud and haze on the hills changed all day.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A benefactor.

A certain gentleman brought an experimental party here some months back when the house was nearly but not quite finished and said that he had a decent fridge we could have in Edinburgh. Today I went to Glasgow and, despite grotty weather and train strikes, planned to cross over to collect on this kind offer. On leaving Glasgow he instead told me to head back north to an industrial estate in Kingussie (12 miles from Inshriach) and introduce myself at Unit 2.

Now, in the scullery, is a fridge that means business. A huge, catering grade machine from the True Manufacturing company of St Louis, Missouri, square jawed and stainless with fat louvres round the base and beautifully utilitarian. Its opening growl has settled to a hum. The old fridge would fit inside with space for cheese.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

TV, Folk and Squash.

The producers for a childrens TV show came here a few weeks back looking for locations and came away with me so for the next 10 weeks I'm making shields, boats and spears and not a lot of progress at Inshriach.

Abbie and Hannah came for the weekend so Thursday night we took in another Alvie musical evening, an excellent gig by Session A9, some seriously talented local folk musicians. Continuing with the folk theme we went to the Newtonmore museum for some inspiration for next years projects. They have relocated such endangered oddities as a bothy, a tin school, a railway office and a church then built a little village of mud and thatch blackhouses in the medieval style that persisted probably until the early 19th century. This is a worthy and excellent operation, entry is free and next year they are rebuilding a sleeper house, another rarity, so I might well volunteer.

Today the squash court came in for some attention. The business wall had been dropping chunks of plaster for a while so I'm patching that up, Abbie got down and scrubbed the stairs and the gallery and Hannah had the windows out and got busy gluing, clamping and puttying them up. We thought the court dates from the 1930s but I'm starting to think it might be the same date as the house, ie 1907. The planning officer from the National Park was extremely excited by it as a rare example of a large corrugated building built purely for leisure and if there was any danger of it coming down the Newtonmore museum would be an excellent home.