Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A Few Warm Days

For the past three days, we on the west coast of Scotland have been enjoying a period of exceptionally warm weather. This has meant a wide-open bedroom window, and some loss of sleep thanks to the cuckoos... (see my last post). But the result on our local flora has been especially dramatic.

In three days...

  • most grasses have grown about three inches
  • bracken has grown at least six inches
  • the deciduous trees in Roskhill have gone from barely open buds to full leaf
  • the last of the daffodils have gone over
  • the gorse has come into flower...
  • have the bluebells
  • and on the allotment - my runner beans have all come up...
  • have the peas
  • no sign of the carrots yet though...

Monday, 9 May 2016

Proof That God Has A Sense Of Humour

After a few days of busily creating the earth, the sea, and almost everything on it, God got round to the birds. He happily gave us blackbirds and song thrushes, and their beautiful voices, and even managed to squeeze a decent song into the little robin and even littler wren. Just as he thought he’d made enough birds, he chuckled to himself and thought, ‘Room for just one more – but just to be fair, I’ll only give it to them for a few months each year’. So he rubbed his hands together again and, with a ‘ploof’, there it was... a largish and slightly chubby plain grey bird with a long tail blinked up at him as he gave it its voice. 'I won’t give you a name’ he thought, ‘ They’ll soon think of one for themselves’. Hee hee hee’. And he shuffled off, still laughing.

And so it came to pass that we got the cuckoo.

Our local cuckoos arrived from lolling about in their warm and dry overseas wintering grounds a few days ago. They have now fully found their Skye feet... and their God-given voices. This morning, and for the second morning running, at 4.17am, just as the first grey fingers of dawn begin to creep over the moor, the night-time peace is shattered….


This is no sweet tweet or twitter. This is a full-on shout. Within two minutes, I am fully awake. God’s practical joke has a cunning plan. Unlike a dripping tap or ticking clock, which keep a perfectly regular soporific rhythm, the cuckoo ‘sings’ for about twenty COOK-COOs, then it pauses for just long enough so that you think it has stopped at last, before filling its ample lungs again and launching into a further foray of twenty or thirty COOK-COOs. Just occasionally, to really catch you out, it does a COOK without the COO…!! How hilarious…

The cuckoo also flies about a bit, so the ‘song’ comes from a variety of directions. The bird can still COOK-COO whilst in flight, but prefers to alight on the top of a pine tree where it can spot an open bedroom window to shout towards. By now, the rest of the dawn chorus is in full swing as well of course (also woken up by the cuckoo…??) – but the sweetness of songbirds and twittering and chirping of the finches, tits and warblers is all but drowned out by the cuckoo.

After a couple of hours of lying awake listening to all this, one’s brain begins to numb to the incessant ‘song’, and one returns to a fitful doze until the alarm goes off and the human day begins. Even then, the cuckoo is still at it, and today, one continued to serenade me throughout my morning amble up the road with Cupar where it faced spooky competition from several drumming snipe.  And you know what? I wouldn’t be without the birds for the world. 

Nice one, God.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Inside Roskhill Barn

Following on from the major re-configuring and refurbishment we undertook at Roskhill Barn during the winter of 2014/15, and the final completion of all the internal tweaks, I have been asked by a few people who are unable to actually visit us here, to post some internal photographs of the Barn as it is today.

So here they are - sorry, there's rather a lot of them... Click any one to view as a gallery.

The outer hall - front door on left
Then inner hall - there's a glazed door from the outer hall to this hallway
The kitchen
The kitchen is semi-open plan to the living room - that's the dining table on the left. We created a feature arched opening above the worktops to let extra light through.
This is from the kitchen looking into the living room.
The cosy living room - how many times has Cupar managed to photo-bomb...?
The utility room houses the freezer, washing and drying machines and a large airing cupboard (behind the door)
This window faces you as you come down the stairs.
The stairs from the landing
The landing is lovely, but so difficult to photograph.
There is a glazed door and side-light from the first floor sitting room onto the landing.
The first floor sitting room
Fabulous stained glass panels in the double doors into Sue's 'playroom'
From sitting room to playroom - Sue hasn't properly furnished her room yet, so no photos in there.
Our lovely friend, Rosalind, made this woven hanging for us. It is the view from the Barn. It was the last weaving Rosalind completed, as she tragically passed away a few weeks ago.
Our bedroom is an L-shaped room
Bedroom again...
...and bedroom again!
The first floor bathroom
Back on the ground floor - here is the centre of my universe - my study
My study again
The ground floor bathroom, which is 'ensuite' to my study.