Saturday 5th August. Home comforts.

As the weather changes (usually starting with mist or rain) I continue to spot islands that I’ve never seen before, as far out as Col and Tyree. The inner ones: Iona, Staffa, Trishnish Islands, Inch Kenneth, as well as the Ross of Mull, fade in and out of sight with the passing weather. Anyhow, this morning I finally stopped for a while to enjoy it all whilst waiting on the headland for a call from Louise (my sister). There’s a little knoll that I now sit at that is in range of an EE mast, but it is a bit exposed. Today, though, is fine.

Katy’s spirits were lifted massively by the arrival of her ‘Welcome Pack’ from Glencruitten hostel, and we spent a few uplifting hours filling out the consent many forms. I haven’t had the chance yet to register her with an Oban G.P. Nor myself with a Mull one, so these will have to wait until we are making the long journey to school.

The stroller was put to good use this afternoon taking walking sticks and a stick stand (made from an upturned footstool and broken library ladders that I found here) down to the Gometra Gallery. It took me an age to price them, and I think they might be too cheap, but whose to say? I put some copies of my book in there too, and an honest box. So now I’ll just have to keep checking – about an hour round trip.

Gometra Gallery and honesty shop
Gometra’s Gallery and Honesty Shop with Jane Anne’s Bothy just peeking into shot on the left. Even this shop takes a hour to get there and back, from our house.

On the way back we picked up dried heather for the fire and foraged some Laver seaweed and Gutweed, which I plan to dry to make crisps from – and anything else that occurs. Katy was a bit disappointed that her lovely bay (the one she’d earmarked for ‘mermaiding’) was covered in fermenting seaweed, dumped on to it and left to rot by the storm that blew in on the day we arrived. It’s a pungent smell, but it is the besmirching of the pristine beach that she resents most. It, and the waters there, are thick with jellyfish just now, which worries Katy, especially hen Faffy gets too lose. They are gorgeous colours though – some blue, some purple and some with coloured veins circling around them.

I’m starting to relax now and let the island work on me. Percy the cat has been chilled-out for days already. I never thought I’d be taking my cues from him! However, he isn’t eating enough, I think, so I may be forced to sacrifice the pemmican that I brought along.

Food-wise we are dong alright. Today I decided to slow-bake the biscuit dough, trying to add extra heat to the oven with a broken-off fire brick that I heated in the firebox first. I’m not sure if it had much effect, but the biscuits were acceptable after about 90minutes per small batch.

Faffy’s now taken to sleeping on a ludicrously small cushion, when there’s a perfectly good ‘couch’ (old child’s bed) in the kitchen. She looks incredibly uncomfortable with her bum hanging in midair. She doesn’t know really where to lay her head, and when she gets a treat she walks around with it because she doesn’t know where to take it to savour it. There’s a bed for her on the floor made from the insulation around the water tank and an old sheet, but she rarely uses that. I haven’t got anything else to sacrifice to the grubby concrete floor just yet. I’m sure that when Andy comes up permanently I’ll find that most of the meagre bedding that we have is under the dog, but without washing facilities I’m not allowing it – not while I’m in charge!

Yvette and Katy in the house
Yvette and Katy in the Kitchen in the house on Gometra

Tomorrow we’ll continue painting. We’ve coated the dark orange living room with a thin coat of magnolia emulsion, so that now it looks merely golden – something we can live with. The dark blue woodwork we’ve left alone for the time being. Katy is now scraping down the bathroom, and priming the rusty bits of wall and pipes, ready for us to slap on the emulsion that we have left.

Living Room on Gometra
Inside of the living room. When you live a day’s journey away from a paint shop, you use whatever you’ve got!

I think she’s a bit disgusted by the bathroom as it is, and said to me that if she doesn’t manage to get a bath here she’ll have a shower on her first day at the hostel (only a week away, and two weeks sine her shower at the campsite!). But I see her point. I’m not keen to bathe in it either, even if I could get the water warm enough and we had any plugs in the house. I made a bung for the kitchen sink when we were here at Easter, that involved smearing small holes in a plastic tubular thing with pine balm I’d made from resin and beeswax – for waterproofing. It still works perfectly but doesn’t fit any of the other plug holes. We might have to do some specialised beach combing.

Bathroom in managers
The Bathroom, definitely a ‘Work in progress’ project!
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