BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

17 October 2014

Hermit Life

BBC Homepage
» Island Blogging
Northern Isles

Burray & South Ronaldsay
North Ronaldsay
Papa Westray
Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre
The Mainland

Fair Isle
Muckle Roe
Papa Stour
The Mainland

Argyll & Clyde Islands
Western Isles

House Rules

From the BBC

Contact Us

Chancy Weather and Endless Winds

No, that isn`t endless winds in the way some might take it...*gives stern look....*, but the never ending weather, of course.
We had a brief foray into the winters of my childhood recently, with snow! Woohoo! I love snow...sigh...
It lasted all of two days then burgered off again, at least, from Sanday.
I can`t help it...snow leaves me spellbound..there is something, like it or not, magical about it. It blankets the world around us and to get up out of bed, go to the window and gaze out over a pristine white wilderness, sleeping softly under the hush of that soft whiteness, is just simply one of life`s pleasures for yours truly.
Forget the latest movie, forget the glossiest magazine, I`ll be happy just to stand in front of a garden of snow covered beauty and watch the world slowly wake to it as the sun kisses it with blushing rose and gold and makes the flakes in it sparkle bonnier than the most expensive diamonds.

Been a tough wee while a fluey thing that laid me low for ages, and now thanks to work, have tennis elbow. What a bluidy stupid name for it! I never play tennis...and it makes a joke out of what is an extremely painful condition. I am, effectively, one armed for the time being. And discovering how difficult even the simplest things are, with only the use of one arm. Typing, for a start.....
dressing....washing!...housework....tsk....not to mention work work! My job demands repetitive action, hard physical work, how`m I supposed to do that if it`ll keep giving me ruddy tennis elbow? *insert grumpy face here*
Anyways, half of me is enjoying the enforced rest, the other half is feeling pretty guilty about it. Is that just a woman-thing, feeling as if we do something `wrong` when we have to rest, to take time out? There are always a hundred and one things going through my mind, reminding me of needing done...

Christmas/Jul/Solstice?whatever ye call it will soon be upon us. I`m heathen, therefore it`s Jul. *big happy grin*
I`ve had my decorations up for a while now, enjoying the cosiness of the fairy lights at night against the dark outside, enjoying the tree, bedecked in a muddle of collected over the years decorations, a fairy on top looking bemused at everything glittery I could find, being strung around the place...
I never did give a damn for convention, being of the type that, if I want them up early, they`ll go up early. I believe in your own home, your own rules hold sway, not societys...*winks*

Have to say too, as an insomniac, there is something wonderfully cheering, in the wee sma` hours, to sit among the rosy twinkle of coloured lights and a green tree, defiant against the winter, listening to the seemingly eternal winds howl outside the window, or the hail pelt the glass.
I admit, I really am heartily fed up of the weather. It isn`t real winter isn`t snow and ice and still, calm winter days when the skies darken and fat white flakes fall and blanket the landscape. Instead it`s endless howling gales, whipping the seas into a frenzy, throwing dirt and sand up into the air and any other debris it can lift, and always, always, howling like a banshee.
Coupled with the rain, and the grey, grainy skies above, it can be..well...pretty depressing...
and no, I dinnae have the money to go abroad....the recession means I am struggling, like so many others. I do think one of the dangerous effects of financial hardship is how trapped it makes one feel, which in turn can lead to depression and a peculiar kind of hopelessness which seems everlasting.
So, the Jul lights went up, the tree went up, and I take kindness and comfort from them.
And now I sit here thinking, if the goose that always escapes the pen, doesn`t quit honking in the wee small hours of the night each and every night, I`m gonna roast the burger for Jul day dinner......

Posted on Hermit Life at 07:53

Dum Dum Dum Dah, Dum Daaaaah!

Okies, that was me humming, `Happy Birthday To Meeee!` *big grin*
Yours truly is forty seven today! Eek.....
And I dinnae feel a day ower ninety, honest.....
Woke up this morning around four (curse you insomnia, grrrrr) to be greeted by, out the window, a scattering of snow and a frosting over the rose hedge and dried, crackling grasses.....
Now of course, the gales are back big time, the skies are a heady mix of slate and gold flashing, but the white is still scattered in pieces of patchwork across the landscape and it feels, looks and smacks of, winter.
And it`s ruddy freezing!
And I would kill for central heating.......
Hope a`body has a guid and bonny

Posted on Hermit Life at 08:39


Against the gale, that is. Hullo to anybody that `kens` me, ah`m back again, after a sojourn in no man`s land for a while.
Today we have a gale on Sanday. It`s the proper, dinnae gaun oot in it or it`ll blaw ye doon, kind.
My geese are walking backwards across the lawn in spite of, I`m sure, wanting to go forwards.
The ducks have hidden, flat to the ground, beaks under wings, huddled together. They could go in the barns, of course, but, well, `ducks to water`, y`know?
The hens have sensibly taken shelter in the barns. The perch up in the rafters pooping on any human daft enough to walk under them.
(Cough....don`t ask how I know such a thing)
Any vegetation in the garden is flattened by the winds, and we`ve had hail, sleet and driving rain at various times today, hail more than once and quite heavy an` all.
I was down at Kettletoft getting some shopping, when I opened the car door to get into it, (it was lashing down and blowing a hoolie) something blown by the wind clunked me in the heid! Eek....I have no idea what it was but I can feel the lump, and am only glad it wasn`t anything large enough to knock me out or draw blood...
mind you, I have a pretty thick skull....

In short, this has been a pretty rubbish October. I mind Octobers of late sunshine, Indian summers where I could be out in the garden, t shirt weather, `mists and mellow fruitfulness` kinda stuff.
Instead for the entire month it feels like..well no, it IS like!...we`ve had endless high winds and gales, rain and cold and now, hail and sleet.
Did somebody cancel summer and order winter early?
Can I shoot them?
Hunker down everyone, from the forecast, more is on the way.

Posted on Hermit Life at 17:26


I`m having a rough time just now guys, been going on for a while, so I`m retiring from online life aside from work, which can`t be avoided!
Just want to thank those lovely folks who commented on my blogs, haven`t been blogging that long but it was fun to read the comments and to get to know the posters.
Be well and happy, all of you. May life bring you what you wish, and be kind and decent to you all.
Take care, and bye. xxx
Posted on Hermit Life at 14:27

Early, one morning, just as the sun was rising....

So goes the song that I remember so well, dreading having to sing it at school, for I have no singing voice.
But here are some pics of the other morning, my usual routine, get up and go out and feed hens, ducks, geese and goats.
This month`s weather has been fairly fine. And though it was cool the other morning, it was what the Irish inspiringly call a `soft` morning, beautiful and pearly and mellow with the promise of summers end.
Been making the most of this weather, doing what I can outdoors...mowing grass and working hides, cleaning hutches and clearing paths. Keeps me fit but also sunshine helps fight depression, and I admit I do feel a lot better having been outdoors for a few good warm hours work, than cooped up indoors on a wild or rainy day.
Long may the sun shine on your heads, good people.
Enjoy each day for it never comes again.

Posted on Hermit Life at 16:40

That Wet Dog Smell.

What a fabulous week we are having, weather wise, aren`t we?:-)
It`s one of the bonuses of being self employed and flexible enough (by way of being able to haul ass outdoors with my work) that I can set up a table at the front of the house, looking over toward Stronsay, across the Peedie Sea, and work there, under glorious sunshine.
Of course, being a confirmed sun worshipper, I bake...but who cares! It`s sunshine! Isnae like we see all that much of it.....
So the past few days I have been busy outdoors, working hides, and watching a tiny wren build a new nest in my guttering. She took all of half an hour to get used to me being there, sander and all...then flitted back and forth, steadfastly ignoring the big galumph of a human, carrying the odd bit of dried grass, twigs of feather up to her nest.
I`m rewarded by one of the sweetest songs nature can sing, and today as an encore a male blackbird trilled his liquid melody just into the rose hedge.
So all in all, a good day...oh, my red and blackcurrant bushes are fruiting now. Normally I collect the fruit and cook and freeze it or make preserves. But have ot admit, with a precarious past year, my heart wasn`t in gardening so I let it`ll pick up again next season, no worries...but for now, it`s tidy enough, just not giving out such a lot to eat...more so as I stand there, picking off and eating the currants by the handful. And right tasty they are too!

Our auld collie, Lassie, sleeps with an aulder ginger cat. This cat is a barn cat for sure, ancient and wobbly and deaf, and has hay fever of a kind that makes her sneeze with some respectable force!
And she sleeps ON the dog...a living cushion. So this morning when I went to stroke Lassie`s back, it came away with a huge `yuck!` factor, for she was covered in cat snot!
so nothing for it but to bath her. So here are some pics of one wet dog looking reproachfully at me, not liking being washed. And I dinnae blame her one wee bit. And afterwards, it being braw and sunny, I pegged her out on the front lawn so the sun would dry her quicker. And what did she do? Yup. Ate a snail, spat out the shell then dug a hole to bury it.....

Posted on Hermit Life at 18:03

Puff, Pant, Phew!

Well, I got fed up, that`s my excuse. Okies, had the cramps from hell, but, y`know, lazing around all day on the couch is, frankly, boring!
Watched a movie, Hitchcock`s The Birds, great film, scared the bejayzus outta me when I was a kid, and ever since I have eyed every passing seagull and crow with a jaundiced, expecting far, the worse they`ve done has been to thieve my ducklings and chicks, and poop on me, on numerous occasions....hmmm...maybe Hitchcock was more perceptive than we know, huh?
So, after twiddling my thumbs for an hour, unable to settle, loaded up with painkillers so the bellyache was down to that dull, still there but behaving stage...
I popped my bellydance dvds on and got up and danced.
Yeah, I know...mad....
but it did me good, if not the belly, which still hurts, it tired me out a little..well a lot....and it`s great to feel the taughtening effect of such a core conditioning dance.
I gave a few other types of bellydance a go ..not today, but previously..couldn`t get on with the Turkish tribal thingy at all....flirted with Gothic and will definately pursue that, only, well, it`s hard to look the part at five foot nothing with blonde/grey hair...all those Goth bellydancers seem to be tall willowy females with umpteen braids and looking much like the Tribal (which I also like a great deal) as if they have flung every piece of jewellery plus a dozen pheasant feathers at themselves....
but I DO like the modern American Tribal fusion dance..there`s one in particular, quite famous for it, called Neon. Looks boneless when she dances! No, really, that`s how fluid she can be....
I mean, ok, she`s about a foot and a half taller than me and very much younger, but she IS blonde and all, so...what I like about her is that she makes the tuition easy by breaking it down into each single movement, slowly, repetetively, which gives me plenty chances to get past the making an eejit of meself stage and into the still a beginner but it`s recognisable bits....
So for about two hours I had my ears full of exotic Eastern music, and pharases like taxim, camels, hip pops and snake arms ringing through my head. Can I get that camel movement right? Oh hell, no....but I`ll keep at it.
For the rest it isn`t going too bad at all, surprising considering I had a fair gap between dance sessions whilst life got in the way.
So now, I can get fully back into it. It means two things...I don`t need to do the boring exercise I had been doing, because bellydance is a real workout as anyone who does it will tell you, and it simply makes me feel good. Must be those elusive endorphins....

Well though, ok, am back on the couch, cuddling the hot water bottle again...not entirely sure belly dancing with cramps is a good idea, so don`t try that at home kids....
but I DO feel good... so...
and I`ll be back dancing tomorrow and all....a small act of defiance, nothing major, but a kick in the teeth to some miserable times....

Hey, other folks sing! But I just sound like a strangled cat. Seriously can`t sing. Really. At school, in the school choir, my music teacher told me, "Stand at the back and mime!"
I`ll dance instead. *Grins*

Posted on Hermit Life at 20:40

Bring On The Change!

Warning...I don`t think this is really a man`s kinda blog today...being about what used to be whispered as `women`s troubles` they might want to quit and walk away now, hee hee..

(Good grief! On the news this morning, a certain London deparment store has already stocked their store with Christmas stuff! What`s the matter with folks!? Did summer whizz by and I blinked and missed it? Sheesh....)

Well, lassies, you know how it is...that time of the month creeps up on you, and to be fair, I`m a fairly low key woman where that is concerned, never usually any bother at all besides the odd twinge and a craving for stodgy biscuits....*blushes*
But oh man! Last night the killer cramps kicked in and are still here this morning and BRING ON THE CHANGE OF LIFE because this is ruddy awful....*grumps*
What eejit designed the human body to be this way, huh? It`s faulty. I wanna refund! Or better still, a trade-in. I want one that works the way it says on the tin it`s supposed to.
No glitches, no dents or knocks or scratches, no defects or proneness to breaking down if the batteries run out...and if it can knock twenty years off as well, I`d be happy! :D
I used to say to folks (cos, well, I`ve had some pretty strange conversations in my time, y`know?) nature messed up. Sure, we get pain in order to alert us to something being wrong, but what use was that to the cavemen, huh? Who had almost zero ability to do anything about it.
Or was that nature looking ahead, a forward thinking, upwardly mobile wifie sitting somewhere at a drawing board thinking "Well, if I build in this/that/the other thing NOW, it`ll save me having to remodel later, I mean, ok, it`ll be aeons before the units can respond efficiently to these rather spiffy alerts I build in, but what the heck...."
Then she goes and gives us pain, or rather the poor caveman/wifie, pain, without giving us the knowledge to know precisely what is causing that pain (it`s only recently in history, yes? that we discovered `referred pain`, which means you get a cavity in your tooth and your foot hurts.....)
and there is the poor cavewoman sitting of a night, gnawing happily on a mammoth spare rib, watching the pictures in the fire (which would actually be an improvement on some modern soaps, sorry beeb) when WHAM! Out of the blue, period cramps. Oh aye, the joys and wonderment of nature.....*grumbles*
C`mon nature, admit screwed up! Ye created faulty goods, with so many glitches in them that if we were able to take ye to court for compensation you would be bankrupt within an hour!
I mean, aging...what`s the use of that, huh? Just as our mind actually begins to grow up and appreciate life, the body betrays us by breaking down by degrees, getting ever more creaky, joints going, speed and agility going and don`t even mention flexibility!
The hair goes grey...why? What`s the point? Is it a marker in nature for the killer prey of those stone age days (who were probably all colour blind anyway), an arrowhead pointing right down above said caveman or woman going, "Here ye go, lookit the grey one! This`ll never be able to run away, hey fella, almost a free snack right here! Come and get it! All ye can eat!"?
And hey nature, don`t give me that rubbish about women needing that layer of fat around the middle for some obscure, crucial reason! Because it`s a fine line, according to the advanced medical bigwigs of today, (not so far removed from the Stone Age in my opinion) because just a tad over so many inches of waistline is liable to kill us with cholesterol and other goodies, so nope, not buying that `essential fat` tripe (see what I did there? To borrow a phrase from the wonderfully eloquent TWS, I made a joke, hee)
Anyway, they do say now, slim is best, exercising yourself almost to death is best, because we no longer have to run away from dinosaurs or chase after wild ox for the Saturday night barbeque....we are LAZY, people, compared to our illustrious, heavy set ancestors...
I will remember that the next time I collapse, knackered, into bed after spending all day working/plus doing housework/plus dealing with paperwork which, by the way, is a hundred times worse than being chased by dinosaurs....

Nope, I remain unconvinced..far from being the pinnacle of evolution that we are touted to be, I figure we are defective, faulty, badly built bits of rubbish that nature, in her wisdom, threw together as an afterthought to feed other things in the food chain and fill a gap.

Though, doesn`t it say so much about our own inbuilt tenacity, that we made it so far, huh? *big happy grin*

Well, I hope everyone has a fine and bonny day, despite the glum but soothingly pretty weather, all soft cloud and light sea breeze, no summer at all today but a hint of autumn, crisp and sharp to the senses.
Me? I`m going to wrap a hot water bottle in a towel, hug it to the offending area and find a vintage movie to shove on tv...and maybe nibble on a choccy biscuit or two....

Posted on Hermit Life at 07:15

Trying Again....

Testing, testing, one two three....I did write a blog to be posted on Monday but it hasn`t been, so if it does get posted now it`s kinda redundant and folks will be wondering why I`m wittering on about the mist and fog when we`ve had a gloriously sunny week!
So this is a `test` blog, hoping it makes it through the trenches to the other side, to plant the flag of postdom...
Can`t believe it`s August already, eek! Where is the year going...? (actually, where do things like years go? Where does time go when it`s used up? Urk, brainache, shuttup Hermit, it`s too early in the morning to be this early in the morning....anyone seen or read The Langoliers? Hee....)
Hope everyone has a bonny and kind weekend, and that the sun shines for us all, though according to the national weather, it`s gonna chuck it doon and lightning is gonna play pin the flash on the human with us all....

Posted on Hermit Life at 06:49

Random Meanderings...

Second day of fog on Sanday....*cue Hammer Horror music*.....
I don`t mind the fog, really, except when it goes on for days, then it becomes claustrophobic.
But for the time being, it`s nicely eerie, if a tad damp.
One of my peedie young hens died last night, no idea why. The son went into the barns and there she was, legs up on the floor, so thinking her dead he lifted her up and she kicked said legs!
So, he brought her indoors to yours truly and we wrapped her in an old teatowel and put her in a box of hay in front of the old Doric stove, where for a good few hours, she clung onto life and even stood up, looked a little perkier, and seemed as if she would make it, before simply...keeling over, dead, finally.
These things happen, seen it especially happen in isles cats before, they are born, grow up then for no apparent reason, drop dead.
In a few weeks I`m having a `Bag Yourself A Duck For 50p Day`....the bulk of my ducks are being rounded up, put into one of the barns and I`ll advertise that anyone who wants any, for breeding, pets or food, can pay 50p per duck and come up with a sack and catch their own. *Grins.....*
True though. And it`s just part of my `paring down` of my life, getting rid of clutter and streamlining things, making life simpler and therefore, more comfortable and at ease....
I redecorated..nothing wildly exciting, cream and white, but isn`t it amazing how fresh and clean the place feels when ye do that? :-)
And in clearing away the clutter, you come across quite a few possessions that either have you thinking, wow! I`d forgotten I had that, great!...or, what the heck was I thinking? Eek!
Most of the latter exclamations accompany some of my clothes....
so will internet-auction them (am I allowed to say Ebay?) and hope some peedier wifie than me can fit into them, or that they`ll appeal to some other woman with..erm...a unique taste in clothes! :-D
(Hey, am partially colour blind, so no, that purple and cerise ensemble were NOT meant to go together!)
Ferry fares have gone up here again, sigh....considering we are distinctly limited in our mode of travel if we want to go offisle, that isn`t good news. I do appreciate Orkney Ferries need to keep going, but...if fewer folks can actually afford to take the ferry so often, aren`t they cutting off their noses to spite their face, a little?
The isles, have to admit, are getting awfully expensive places to live..and that is wondering if I can see the day when only the retired wealthy can afford to live in such places, with the cost of fuel, another essential in such a remote place, going up, `public` transport ditto, food prices everywhere rising drastically, energy prices, also ditto.....
Time, I think, to look again at all those self sufficiency books that were all the vogue in the hippy seventies that I still hang onto, huh?;-)
Don`t get me wrong..I`m not in any way saying islanders should be subsidised! But when what you can earn doesn`t keep paced with the basic cost of living, something`s gotta give.....and some solution needs to be found, probably fairly quickly before many more folks desert the isles, reluctantly, for southern places with access to cheaper (!) food and fuel. And easier travel.
But no good asking me, I`m just a wumman, a blonde ane at that, so therefore, any opinions hereafter should be considered invalid ;-)

The weather forecaster has just described the day as `murky`..isn`t that a great word, hee! Very fitting today too, when I cannae see beyond the rose hedge.

Sigh, back to planning how much wood is going to be needed to repair the garage doors and how much rendering will be needed for an outbuilding roof afore winter storms hit this year.
Hope everyone has a grand week, and that the sun shines for you all at least, at some point in time. :-)

(p.s. Dee, gonna mail you soonest girl x )
Posted on Hermit Life at 08:13

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy