Thursday, 17 July 2008

Gridlock on Islay

Been a while since I posted - been waiting for a wet day with nothing else to do - and there hasn't been one yet, so I'm watching the golf and updating this.

One of the highlights of the last couple of weeks was the visit of the "Liberty Belle" - one of the few remaining B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from WW2. This was organised by Bruno Schroder (of the bank of that name) who owns one of the large estates here and happens to be friendly with the B-17's owner. He even organised a prize draw for a flight in it (I was not successful!). The horrendous costs of bringing the plane over from the states ($120K in fuel alone) means that this will probably be its last visit to the UK, and Islay was one of its few ports of call - and the only one where a trip was possible. Amazingly small and very noisy I'm told. On the way back we met an accident at a narrow bridge (someone rushing to catch the ferry I believe) and got diverted onto the single track road by the bird reserve - unfortunately the traffic coming the other way was diverted to that road as well, which resulted in total gridlock as all the passing places filled up . We had to get out and direct 4 wheel drive cards into fields etc to create enough capacity to get things moving again.

Another highlight was a home visit from Bronwen's Gaelic singing class, (see last blog) including the tutor Ishbel MacAskill, who were out and about and came in for a cup of tea and to sing to myself and my dad - though I had been at the concert the night before.

On the house front, the fencing man has turned up for a look and to figure out what materials are required - he claims he will be back next week, but that could be an Islay week. This also forced me to actually measure the boundaries again and I'm now quite close to the measurement on the deeds, so that should do - its more difficult than you think when there is no fixed starting point at all. Otherwise the builder has sheepishly confessed to leaving out the costs of the bathroom fittings, which I told him he'd missed, but he insisted were included, so a slight increase on the costs. No bill as yet for the house painting and I'm still chasing the electrician for the remaining missing heater for the bathroom. The polytunnel has arrived but I'm waiting for the fence to go up before I decide its final position.

We are also having fun with the VAT man, trying to claim back the VAT we've paid out on the house kit and other stuff. They only had two queries - first demanding our bank details to pay the loot into, despite the guff saying they'd send a cheque - and indeed nowhere on the form to tell them the bank details. The only other query is they want to know how much was for the house and how much for the garage - goodness knows why.

Otherwise life continues at a relaxed pace. I am now officially on the Bridge Club committee and am getting dangerously close to the golf club one. We had our neighbours Jackie & Dougie round a few nights ago and had an impromptu bit of fiddling (Jackie being a very good fiddler indeed).

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