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Saturday, 28 November 2009

Another different stile.

There is another oddity nestling in the landscape at Inshriach. Whipped up from bits of discarded house and other assorted salvage, this stile now crosses the fence by the march pool, joining the japanese bridge to nowhere, the stage in the woods and the medieval spiky stile to the squash court in the list of (I think) artfully formed and quirkily over engineered objects performing tasks that could be accomplished much more simply.

For those of you that know the March pool you can see the rise in water level behind the stile. Compared with Cockermouth we get off lightly but this week our fields are flooded, the livestock moved to high ground and for the third time this year the Spey is powering through a good 5 feet above its normal level. Snow is starting to settle on top of the Cairngorms, there is talk of the hill opening at the start of December and we are buckling down for winter, draining, burying and lagging pipes and stocking up on wood and heating oil.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Home Improvements.

We have a few weeks between bookings so have implemented some improvements. The first and most obvious is ditching the third sink in the kitchen in favour of this beautiful cooker, good for rentals, good for the destination dining club we have planned and I can't wait to see the merry dance of Aga and Kenwood in the hands of Big Al (the chef).

There is also now a shower in Mrs. Black's bathroom. We are gradually ticking off the list of trappings you traded in Sally Shalam's Guardian review.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Outdoor sports.

Last weekend there was a hen party in the house and Tracey and Ian Pullen from Active Spirit returned to give them a crack at archery. Then I bumped into John Mason from Full On Adventure at the Cairngorms Business Conference who has invited me to go white water rafting and can take groups of pretty much any size canoeing, climbing, snowboarding, skiing or rafting. I would recommend either of them and there is great wisdom in choosing a good guide with the right kit and training if you are heading into what can be extreme conditions in the Cairngorms.

Aviemore is also the ideal place to get your sports a bit wrong. Aimee came up to help out for the photo shoot we had a month ago but came off her bike just after we finished, shattering one of her beautifully prominent cheekbones. I will spare both you and her the gruesome ignominy of photos, suffice to say the Aviemore medical practise and Raigmore hospital were so efficient we decided to deal with the consequences here. One month, 2 operations and a little titanium later and Aimee is back together. In the meantime she made friends with everyone in the valley, ate a lot of soup, received a lot of flowers and by Wednesday was as sad to be leaving as we were to see her go. I suppose in all the drama that can be seen as some sort of silver lining.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Bothy part III.

What was the most orange bedroom since the advent of orange is now cream and a whole heap calmer as a result. Now there's just the roof and gutters to contend with.