The main event for us in early June was a trip to the Eden Festival in the south west of Scotland with Emily, Richard, Caitlin and Roslyn. Not a mainstream festival and definitely not blessed with the best of weather. Nonetheless, well worth the visit. The camping site was very pleasant but the campervans were packed like sardines. We had to leave before Boney M played on the Sunday night but we did get to see Mr Motivator on Saturday afternoon. I guess some people are born lucky.
July saw Jo, John and Johnny jetting in from Oz for a surprise 40th birthday visit. (Can our wee girl really be 40?) The party at the Livingston Inn was good fun and provided an opportunity for the “Coon Cousins” to meet up and have another photograph taken.
Suse went on to a taiji week at Penicuik working on her Wudan form with James Connachan. This meant missing Tai Chi Caledonia for the first time in many years but it felt like the right thing to do.
We popped down to Glasgow for the Merchant City Festival and to meet Suse’s cousin Marion with hubby Michael at the airport. They had a week at Larick House visiting Kilmartin and Taynish with local trips to Campbeltown and Tarbert. I think Kintyre made a good impression.
We escorted Marion and Michael to Perth en route to Dundee and there we teamed up with Emily and Roslyn who were joining us at the Scottish 6 Days at Ballater. For the first half of the week Emily’s friend Carol and her daughter Bethan stayed in the ‘big tent’. The orienteering was pretty good but the Ballater campsite was even better and when Richard and Caitlin joined us midweek things got even better. Caitlin made a new Finch friend, Esme, to go round the string and white courses with. The Day 4 String Course that we organised worked out well despite a nasty shower at the end and I think most of us were pleased with the week in general.
In September, we decided to attend the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival principally because Cabin Fever were playing for free. The weather intervened and the free gigs were cancelled but it gave us the opportunity to visit the cave painting on Davaar Island which was something we had been trying to do for several years.
The evening concert in the Heritage Centre was well done and Suse got to see a folk group called “She” which she likes. Another old friend and colleague Gordon Mooney’s daughter plays the fiddle with this band, a very talented group of ladies.
Another highlight has been the arrival of 3 barn owls in the owl box on the big oak tree. We had heard them at night but were amazed to see them lined up on a branch one morning and couldn’t believe it when they started entering the box. The box needs a ledge for them to land on and we’ll probably build something new for them in due course.
Following instructions from Johnny and Aiden, the tree house now has a back door from the Rainbow Café; John has been enjoying himself building a roof and various cranes, wind vanes and doing some painting. Work in progress.
The garden has been an on-off success. This has been the wettest summer for many years and that has resulted in some poor soil conditions, slow growth outdoors and slug damage. On the other hand, the regime of the long beds in the vegetable garden and raised fruit beds seems to be manageable (that doesn’t mean 100% weedfree all the time!) and the mulch elsewhere is working at weed control. There have been some mysterious non developers, e.g. peas and tomatoes, and carrots which have taken months to germinate.
The decision to hack back the willow hedge and replace it with a fence which can accommodate the climbers will allow better planting in the flower borders. The willow maze now has sufficient growth to create arches so work there is really taking shape now.