Rusty boats

Down to Kintyre and Campbeltown today. It was blowing a hoolie in Campbeltown, which was a pain since I had to be on the new quay in sheeting rain for a short while. Parked up for lunch of egg sandwiches: my own eggs and my own bread – most satisfying and self-sufficient – and tasty to boot. The weather cleared up a bit after lunch as the rain and winds headed north and my route took me up along the east coast of Kintyre. This road is narrow, winding and single-track and runs for 35 miles from Campbeltown to Kennacraig. It’s not a road for haste and the patient driver can be rewarded with fabulous views across Kilbrannon Sound to the Isle of Arran, but not today. The south-easterly wind was whipping up large waves to beat on the rocky coastline, casting wrack and stones onto the road where it ran along the shore itself. This is the time of year when the gorse is in full bloom and celandines and primroses bedeck the roadside verges. The trees are starting to set leaf and discreet, delicate hints of fresh foliage are emerging on the lichen-clad branches. The light greens contrast vividly with the dark emeralds and blues of the pines, firs and spruces that cover so much of the peninsula.
Stopped in Carradale to walk along the quay and look at the boats in harbour. Carradale is a small port with a long tradition of fishing which continues today. Several of the boats appeared to be in need of much care and attention. One vessel – a scallop dredger – displayed a palette of the most amazing variation on the theme of rust. There were three boats from which fishermen dived for razors (mostly for the Spanish market), two prawn boats and three scallop dredgers. I stopped and chatted to a man who used to fish from here, but now spent his working life month-on and month-off the oil support vessels working the North Sea rigs out of Aberdeen. We talked of Aberdeen and I remembered as a child seeing the harbour there full of fishing boats, now mostly gone. Once, when I was about five, my father took me down the fish market early one morning as the catch was being landed and auctioned. We also went to look at tanks full of lobsters but I was too afraid as a child of being nipped by their claws to pick one up myself.
Tonight it’s sheeting down again and the wind is lifting the loft hatch – it was lifted half up into the loft when we came home from work this evening. The other trick the wind plays with The Chookery is to make strange noises from the letter-flap on the front door. Her Maj suggests sealing it up, since all post gets left in the box at the end of the drive, but it seems a lot of fuss to me for the occasional weird noise about the house. And after all, isn’t there something ultimately reassuring about living in a house which has its own voice, or is at least a musical instrument for the wind, and learning to live with and grow fond of the songs it sings?
The two black chooks are still on their eggs. If nothing happens soon, we’ll have to come to the conclusion that Chalky hadn’t been doing his job and the eggs are infertile. Grey goose continues her solitary vigil with her singular egg and actually looks quite sweet on her nest with her head resting over her back. Perhaps I should illustrate this with a photograph for readers in due course. The chinese goose has taken to laying the occasional egg at the bottom of the paddock under a pine tree and today’s offering was neatly wrapped in moss, at least it was until it was raided from the nest by PTC.
The Cat is at ease with nocturnal adventures and has started to hunt. This morning we were presented with a brace of shrews, one in the bedroom and one in the lounge, both deceased. She still doesn’t want to go out during the day, but at least she has become accustomed to her litter tray (dirt box for the sake of colonial cousins) and we no longer have to hunt richards in the early dawn light before the tea and toast refreshes the parts.
Swapped a loaf of Chookery bread for a pound of diced venison with Eddie a couple of days ago, so venison stew should be on the menu in the next few days. The beast in question was a red deer, so should be good.


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