Kinbrylie Diary Page  July 2009

Sunday 5 July

Well here we are again, July now. I know I said that I would show you the polytunnel photos this week, but I have something better.  I had forgotten last week that we had arranged, earlier in the year, to go to the Gairloch Highland Gathering with a few friends. We had agreed that we would camp or caravan at the Sands Caravan site just to the north west of the village of Gairloch and right beside the field where the gathering is held.

Before we go on our weekend adventure I must show you the little friend that joined me in the polytunnel. He/she was comical and kept nipping in and out between the paving slabs to see what I was up to.


Not sure if it is a Lizard or a Newt but it was really cute.

 

The weather was really hot all week but on Thursday afternoon we had horrendous thunder storms and our phone line was struck leaving us without phone or internet until this morning so it was just as well we went away for the weekend or we would both have had withdrawal symptoms. So apologies for anyone who tried to contact us this weekend. The weather forecast didn't look promising for Saturday & Sunday and we wondered if we had made the wrong decision but as it turned out we had super weather apart from a light shower when we arrived and a slightly heavier one just as we left the camp site. 


Preparing for off, Don checks the lights on the van


View from the Caravan with friends in the foreground


Picture was taken from the sand dunes when we went for a walk early on Saturday morning.


This was taken on the same walk looking south towards the Torridon Hills, one of my favourite places in Scotland.


Goodness me is that a Great White or no wait a minute it's a Sand Eel.

After our long walk along the beach, our friends decided they were going to cycle 7 miles to the end of the road where there is a lighthouse and not much else apart from one of the best views. Now we are not that keen on cycling and so decided to go into the village of Gairloch. It is a while since we had been there and wanted to see if anything had changed, I am pleased to say that little had changed. There are still lots of different cruises you can take, from a glass bottom boat trip to a trip on a working lobster boat, and all this within a days reach of home for us.


Picture of Gairloch Harbour

Time was marching on so we made our way back to the Gairloch Highland Gathering.


A thistle, the emblem of Scotland, carved from a tree trunk by a very talented man with a chain saw.


There was a very good display of Scottish Country Dancing -


and sheep shearing, this sheep was looking very bored but glad to be rid of its heavy fleece. The chap who was shearing was doing a remarkable job, we reckoned he was shearing one sheep every minute, considering it was very hot that is some feat!!!


This was the great "Wellie" challenge. See who can throw the wellie boot the furthest. As you can see, this one didn't go very far.


This is the Ullapool & District Junior Pipe Band, they were very good and it is nice to see the youngsters keeping the tradition alive. In the background you can catch a glimpse of the Typhoon Lagoon, the big bouncy slide along with many other attractions to keep the kids (young and old) amused.

There were many other side shows and stalls which really made the day. I don't know whether it was the good weather but the games seemed to be a great success and we believe that this is usually the case in fact, while there, we met neighbours or ours who had come for the day and said they wouldn't have missed it for the world. 


Relaxing with good food and a drink after the games.

After a good day we had a good evening and all to soon the weekend came to an end and it was time to leave.


Getting ready for home.

All in all we had a great time and although we stayed for the weekend, we could easily have gone for the day, Gairloch is only a journey of approx two and a half hours from home.

Next week I promise photos of the polytunnel as it is now, we have eaten some of the lettuce and the tomatoes are beginning to form. But that is all for this week.

See you next week

 

SUNDAY 12 JULY

Right I promised photos of the poly tunnel so here goes. 


This is how it looks inside now, a bit of a green mess!! Note Bill or is it Ben keeping watch from above.


This is the courgettes, we call them Triffids because they have taken over and are doing their best to stop me harvesting the lettuce and spring onions.


Above the Triffids are the cucumbers, I am trying to train them up to the crop bars so they will grow along them and the cucumbers will hang down.  Well that's the theory anyway,


This is the salad section, as you can see we have eaten most of it, the lettuce on the far left was harvested and eaten for supper tonight, it was delicious, the Triffids have not managed to stop me quite yet, but I will learn from this for next years plantings.


The sweet peas are almost up to full height. As you can see they are nearly at the end of their tethers!!!! They are just about to burst into flower. I can't wait because one of the nicest smells of summer must be fresh sweet peas. On their right are the peas, they are flowering and already have some pods forming.


The tomatoes have done really well they have taken over the other side of the tunnel but at least they grow upwards -


except for the cherry toms, they decided to grow tall and then fell over, the packet assured me that they would bush but I did not expect them to be that tall or I would have staked them - too late over they went and attacked the strawberries.  I managed to lasso the top stems and pulled them up as far as I dared so here's hoping.  There are one or two fruits forming below.


The strawberries did not seem to mind the advances of the tomatoes - here is the first one beginning to ripen, I wonder who will get to it first when it is ready. I reckon we should cut it up and share it.


and look what I found, this is one of Donald's Beef tomatoes, when we got the plants he wanted some beef tomatoes so that he could make a REAL tomato salad.  Oh I hope they are nice 'cause he makes a mean tomato salad.

So that's the photos of the tunnel, I do have a couple of problems in there. some of the strawberries have gone hairy mouldy and rotted before they have really formed, I think this may be an over watering problem, does anyone have a good idea as to how to tell how much water plants require, is there a formula that can help with watering?

Now for one more photo, thanks to the super weather we have experienced in the early part of the summer, our hanging baskets have out performed this year.  

I wish we could have weather like that every year, but we are back to the more seasonal norm now.  It is cooler and damper but, although we have had some rain recently, it is not as bad as has been known at this time of year.

So that's it for this week.

See you soon.

SUNDAY 19 JULY

Well it has been a really busy week for us, most of the British schools are on holiday now and it is coming up to the peak of our season.  So as a result I have some photos of an event that we attended a couple of weeks ago and have not had a chance to share with you.

As members of the local tourist association, we were invited to attend an evening at Fort George near Inverness airport. I am ashamed to say that, in all the years I have lived in Inverness-shire, I have never visited this amazing place despite the fact we used to live less than 10 miles from it before we came to Whitebridge.  However we rectified that and I managed to get a few reasonable photographs as we had a lovely evening.


The Ramparts, looking south west towards Inverness.


These are the cannons, facing out into the firth, that were strategically placed to protect the Fort.


This photo was taken from one of the lookout posts across to the Black Isle.


This was taken looking down to the wall protecting the Fort.  To the left you can see the cemetery for the pets of the soldiers.

 
The Chapel at Fort George, a place where many services have been, and are held to remember all who have given their lives in service for their country.


From the ramparts we watched an oil tanker navigate through the narrows between Fort George and Chanonry Point where the dolphins can often be seen - in fact


this was one just landing after a spectacular leap.  We stood and watched for ages as these magnificent creatures gave us all quite a show.

I would certainly recommend a visit to the Fort, it is the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, if not Europe. It was built following the 1746 defeat at Culloden of Bonnie Prince Charlie against further Jacobite unrest. The garrison buildings, artillery defenses and a superb collection of arms, with muskets, pikes, swords and ammunition pouches provide a fascinating insight into 18th century military life. 

You can find out more about this fascinating place at www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/nairn/fortgeorge/ or look for Historic Scotland on a search engine (when I put the link in it comes up with an error so the best thing is to just type Historic Scotland into the search and look for Fort George)

Hope to have something interesting for you next week. I will try to update you on our garden wildlife, pheasants and roe deer etc.

See you then.

SUNDAY 26 JULY

Haven't done very much this week as we have been busy.

Don decided the lawn could do with another cut, this warm weather is making the grass grow twice as fast.


Well he does have a lot of grass to cut !!

Earlier in the week our very dark hen pheasant appeared with eight chicks but by the time I managed to take a photo the next day, she only had seven.  


Mum and Chicks having a feed


and exploring


Playing "King of the Castle" on the rocks.

I really wish the mothers were a little more protective of their chicks, it is so disappointing when they disappear like the "Ten Little Indians". We have not seen mother or chicks for the last few days but will keep you up to date if  we do see them again.

While I was out in the garden I thought I would take a photo of the boat that we planted earlier in the year. I am a little disappointed with the outcome, the bizzie lizzies are growing well but they haven't covered the area as I hoped they would - bits of grow bags are still showing.


The Flower Boat

As a finally, this week, it is with great sadness that I have to report my old trusty Peugeot 405 estate failed it's M.O.T with honours.  It has done really well though and has been in the family from new, belonging to my sister before it came to us. Don decided that it would be too expensive to repair as it is starting to rot underneath. 


The Old Pug

We had to find something quickly for me to take to work and luckily one of the local lads was selling a Peugeot 406 saloon. It had a few minor problems, but after a bit of negotiating and a week in the garage, Don had it looking like new and running like a dream - well we will see about that last bit as it will be its first outing tomorrow.


The New Pug -


complete with Nodding Nessie. 

Will try and have something more interesting for you next week.

See you then.

P.S. While I was out watering the polytunnel tonight, I caught sight of our dark pheasant and her chicks, she has only five now. By the time I had gone for the camera, she had settled down with her chicks underneath her, I couldn't resist a photo.


We call her Mrs Black, I know she is not black but she is very dark for a female pheasant.

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