Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Creep, creep, shuffle, shuffle... i'm still here

This is awful? I’ve been away so long and longing to post but website wobbles have kept
us slaving away. First editing the image for the homepage and then scrapping it and trying something else and then finally scrapping that too and making a whole new one. So rant, moan grrrr! And to add insult to injury, you would think that with spring, inspriation would be flowing like...well like paint from a brush and words would be leaping from my fingers like lambs from the barn but there has been a serious case of BLOCK around these parts. Still, I suspect that this problem has been largely one of discipline, or lack thereof, for which I must apologise.

So, that’s the bad news, but the good news is mmm…where to begin? British Summer Time means we have a whole lot more day to accomplish all the joblets, chores, errands, etc and the weather has been stellar! The garden is pulsating with life; my hammock trees have burst into blossom, the ‘dead’ shrubs are all covered with leaf buds and the lack of rain means the ‘bog’ is drying out. There are unknown bulbs pushing through at the base of some fading daffodils and the birds sing all the time. I don’t know who’s enjoying all this more, them or me! The photo was taken on the way back from shopping; fog was drifting in and gave us this spectacular sight of the setting sun hanging, momentarily suspended, over Loch Fyne.

The trip over the hills and far away for necessary supplies (food) meant a detour to the garden centre and herbs, herbs, herbs! There’s no time right now for complicated gardening but M has worked out a temporary herb garden for my essentials so back we came with rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, sage, mint and parsley. I’ve also started chilli, garlic chives, chard (silver beet) and gem squash. These are lovely little squash that grow in summer, similar to regular summer squash but with an altogether richer, more buttery flavour. The seeds aren’t available here but we found some at a supermarket ‘down south’ last summer (imported from Spain) and I carefully saved seed. I really hope these grow. They’re a true reminder of ‘home’ and one of the few uniquely South African foods that are almost impossible to find. If successful, I will post pictures later in the year.

The uncertain weather for which Scotland is famous has been glorious. The last week has given us the longest, unbroken stretch of sunshine since we arrived here. A couple of times we woke to the wind blowing from the north, which meant a colder start to the day but by the afternoon the sun had warmed us up. I don’t yet know what we have to thank for the quality of light, perhaps the latitude; I wish could capture the colours of loch, land and sky. Every colour imaginable is represented; from the almost purple haze of the budding trees in some patches of native woodland to the russet of the spent bracken to the tender green of the larch tree’s spring cloak. I never realised that gorse was such a beautiful, rich yellow, each small flower perfectly formed. Daffodils are everywhere, lining the edges of the single-track roads, trumpeting the entry into villages, nodding and bowing and dancing in the wind. Patches of creamy primroses surprise you around the corners and decorate the spaces between the rocks.

I do miss the black-faced sheep that filled the pastures behind our house; they’ve been taken off to have their lambs, safe from predators, mainly crows and foxes but it’s strangely silent without all the bleating. Hopefully we’ll soon be treated to the sights (and sounds) of lots of healthy lambs (and their mothers) doing what sheep do best…eating and growing!


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