Wednesday 30th January 2019. A Wintery Disposition.

January: it’s nearly over and the days are getting, marginally, longer. I’ve found A book about seed propagation in the unoccupied cottage, which is now partly read and humming away in the back of my mind. But I have no seeds and no warmth or light to give them in any case.

There are plans to re-cover the polytunnel, ripped apart by winds last Winter, so that’ll be a helpful start in the Spring, though starting from seed might not be possible. The weather, a head cold, the short daylight hours, the unexpected (day-long) school runs (to outrun the weather), and the need to collect driftwood to burn, have all put a hold on garden prep., and now it is the snow that also keeps me from it.

I decided that instead of fretting I would reserve January and February for writing, and so I’ve resurrected the novel that I started in Shropshire, which as yet has no title. It’s a tradition, after all, in the Hebrides, to write and paint. Jura, which sits on the horizon facing the cottage, was where George Orwell, no less, wrote 1984.

I’m having to grapple with a new temptation now, though, which gives me wifi in the house through a mobile, 5 volt, router. Propped on the window sill it finds me a signal. It has more than enough data allowance, but use is limited to what power I can get from the solar panel. I can’t exactly binge on connectivity, then, but I have chances to avoid the silence and isolation, and I can speak on the phone from inside the house: in comfort.

With Andy away, and injured, it’s crucial for us to have the kinds of conversations that keep us close rather than adding further hurt through being too short, too broken-up or too business-like. It’s quite easy for the humanity, or sense of it, to slip away when you’re standing in the cold and rain and you can’t hear properly through the wind: when talking is something to get done concisely. I’ve always been pretty bad on the phone though, so I can’t completely blame the conditions.

Despite the cold I’ve had to open (very slightly) some of the windows in the unused rooms, since the mould is starting to creep in. A few humans, a dog and a cat are enough to make quite a bit of moisture with nowhere to go except into the fabric if the house and its contents. The cockerel is also vying for entry but hasn’t made it inside, thankfully.

The Cat and and the Cockerel

When the sun comes out I swell with pleasure since just four small windows is all it takes to let enough of it in to make the air feel dry. I’m a devout sun-worshipper now. The first thing I do in the morning, once it gets light, is look across from the kitchen window to the Ross of Mull to see whether the sun will come up hidden behind cloud cover, or blaze gloriously over the hill-tops straight into the cottage.

Sunrise over Ben More

There’s snow on the ground this morning and not much wind, and chunks of darkly- toned clouds are hanging over the Sound of Staffa, but there’s still plenty of open sky, so I’m optimistic!


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