Hello, Katie here, I’ve learned that a cat is good to keep a person company. Blossom sits beside my chair in the evening and purrs as long as the fire is nice and warm. When it is close to burning out, she meows until Willie gets up and puts more wood on the fire. I am glad for kitty cat as she makes my work as Willie’s wife easier. A stone built cottage such as ours is strongly built, however, when even one stone becomes loose and falls out of its place, soon after another stone will also loosen. Then, the roof begins to sag and afore long it begins leaking. If yer looking to buy a cottage, find one that has straight corners and thatching on the roof that is plenty thick to shed rainwater. If those things are present, then the cottage is good buy.
When we purchased our cottage four year ago, it was plain as could be with a fence made of willow saplings fastened to one another with straw rope. Willie took out the rope and the saplings and put up a real fence of split wood with the bark stripped off. I bought a can of green paint and painted the cottage’s window frames and front door. Now our cottage is a bit fancy if I say so myself. There’s a grassy path leading to our cottage from the village. As you know, the cottage sits at the top of a hill facing the ocean. Being a distance higher than the other village cottages, we get high winds that others don’t get. To make up for it, there’s several Rowan Berry trees planted in our yard and those trees shelter our cottage from some of the wind. Of course you know that Rowan Berry trees protect a cottage from evil spirits which I don’t believe in but Willie does. He says he’s seen a spirit himself. I asked him if it was afore or after he’d had a wee dram. He said he didn’t remember, so it might be or….it might naught.
Willie planted honeysuckle vines on our fence last year, so they’ll be flowering by spring time. I love the smell of those vines; course they also draw honey bees so I’m careful to watch for those. Never kill at little honey bee as she is only doing her work of collecting pollen to make honey with. Aye, I know she can sting, but only if she must. So leave her be, I say.
There’s to be a Ceilidh this Saturday evening at the school house. Willie has a good strong voice and is always asked to sing; he usually sings “Mollie Was a Lassie”. It’s the story of Mollie McGuire whose laddie was taken from her on the eve of their wedding. He drowned coming from the Isle of Islay to the mainland and the story is a true one. Brings a tear to everyone’s eyes as they listen, for it is a song of lost love and how Mollie called to him even though she knew he could naught answer. Me, I’d rather hear a tune that is naught quite so sad. I asked Willie to sing “Comin’ around the Rye”. He likes to sing that one as he says rye whisky is his favorite and I tell him that I’m naught meaning rye whisky, I’m speaking of the fields of rye grain. Being who he is, he just grins at me. Makes my red hair stand on end, it does. I’m baking a cake with molasses and raisins to take. I usually pour a dram of whisky over my cake and that makes it good. There’s a lady who will be at the Ceilidh who can sing so nicely. She sings of the old times when there were more Highlanders here than there are now. She sings about the times when they were told they had to leave Scotland and how they did not know why but they knew they had to leave. It was the King of England and his son who sent them away and many died afore they reached their destination. Her songs are sad and we all have to shed a tear or two about it. So, then, we have a cup of whisky and feel better.
It’s a mite chilly here in Scotland, enough so you’d best wrap up good and warm to do the chores. We’ve sheep and cattle both to feed and Willie milks the cows. I’m making cheese and butter to put away for winter. I wrap my butter in parchment paper that I buy in Inverness. I like to look at our larder as there’s cheese, butter, molasses, bags of flour, ground oats, pots of brambleberry jam, and cakes of yeast that I’ve bought in Inverness. Used to be that folks had to share a bit of dough that had risen for yeast. I’m glad we don’t have to do that anymore.
Willie said he’d consider buying a pony to help with hauling peat blocks and wood. I hope he does, as a pony can pull a whole load of wood in a cart that it would take both of us several trips or more to bring in that much wood. I am nay a good wood hauler as I can carry only a couple of logs at a time.
We’ve been to the shore to gather driftwood as it makes the best starter for a fire. Small pieces of driftwood catches fire quickly and I do so like the merry sound it makes as it crackles and pops on the fire. Afore we gather driftwood, as much as we can carry, we set for a while watching the waves come ashore. Now, a person might think that is a waste of time, but I think naught as it is peaceful and my thoughts wonder to thinking about what is on the other side of the ocean. It would be land, and I try to think if it would be colder or warmer than where we live.
Across a narrow channel that lays to the north of where we live is a tiny island, Eilean Coille. There’s one cottage there and the owners have sheep. We’ve been there once. It’s a place where ducks and gulls go to lay their eggs. I’ll mention here that gull eggs are very tasty to eat; first you’ll need to test them to be certain they are fresh. If they don’t float in a pail of water, pitch them as they are naught good. The eggs are like hen’s eggs only larger. You might expect there to be a taste of fish, but, there isn’t. If you are boiling eggs to have for two folks, one gull egg is plenty. I boil mine for about a quarter of an hour.
I must close now as I’ve washing yet to do and one of us will need to bring in water from the burn. I suppose it will be me to do it as Willie is out and about. He’s naught one to miss a meal so he’ll be home for a bite of lunch. Now, to all who read my writings I thank you for your patience as I ramble on about this and that. Mayhaps it is interesting to you wherever you are. It is my hope that you have plenty of something to eat and a nice place to sit beside the fire on a windy chill night and when it’s bedtime, that you sleep easy. If naught, then, come along, there’s plenty of room here for you and I’ll make up a pot of tea and we’ll visit while you sip your tea, with a few cookies along with it and, afore we go to bed, we’ll have a wee dram of single malt whisky. There’s a lovely quilt on the bed in the second bedroom, it was a wedding gift from my mother. I know where all the scraps came from that she used to make the quilt and it’s nice and warm, if I do say so myself.
Hugs from Katie Cameron and her friend, Beth Bristow.