Friday, 24 October 2008

So Much for Retirement

Good grief - its 2 months since I updated this blog, though at least Bronwen put something in a few weeks ago. However the weather has turned rather nasty this week - lots of gales and rain, indeed the hail is thumping down as I type, so it must to time to update with what I can remember. One of the main reasons things did not get updated was that the hard drive on our PC went bang - so we've got a new PC, and I bought a new drive for the old one, so I've spent a few weeks restoring stuff and tackling Vista. Luckiliy this co-incided witha week's visit to Glasgow & Edinburgh to sort out Roz & Pam's flats a bit, so I was able to pick up the PC etc when I was over (only my second trip away since we got here).

We have not been idle, even without the PC blowing up - indeed our retirement seems to have come to an end as we both now have part time jobs. I'll let Bronwen explain hers (central administrator for Quakers in Scotland) which seems to largely comprise fighting with a FilemakerPro database. I heard that I'd got mine last night - general secretary to Islay Golf Club. This is basically subscription administration, organising things (but not golf events), and the usual minute taking etc. This of course means that I'll just have to turn out to all the dinners, golf outings to the mainland etc as I am being paid (not a lot) to do so!

As Bronwen mentioned in the last blog, then end of the summer was taken up by festivals. I went to three concerts in the Jazz Festival, the two local ones at Bruichladdich, so that I coudl stagger home, and the lunchtime one at Portnahaven, where is nearly got killed in the rush for the "famous home baking". It was a great weekend, though I did depart the last concert as the amplification was just way over the top (for a trumpet).

A couple of weeks after that was the Small Isles Film Festival where we went to a showing of The Maggie (which was filmed largely on Islay) and to a session showing several small films featuring the island. Some of these have been put up on Youtube, for example Portnahaven in 1948. While you are there look up Donovan singing "Isle of Islay", which he manages to rhyme with "stay" - it is truly terrible (unless you are a Donovan fan I guess).

A week or two after that I was a late substitute for the Machrie Team Challenge which was good fun, although Bronwen had the car on the mainland, so I was dependent on lifts and thus missed the dinners, quizes etc in the evenings, which was probably just as well.

On top of all that the usual round of regular golf, bridge and gardening has continued. We even gave a joint talk to the local church seniors lunch club, which we take my dad to each week, on the Internet for Beginners. It seemed to go quite well. That's all I can recall, except that we've figured out that the pump on our solar panel is driving the water the wrong way round the system, so we are not getting the real efficiency from it. Now we're just waiting on the plumber to turn up and fix it.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Autumn arrives

Six months to the day since we moved in and the sounds have changed. The chattering swallows and martins have all departed on their long journeys south, the lambs have mostly gone to market, along with quite a number of sheep, and instead intermittent honking from above tells us that the geese are arriving. And a couple of times now we have heard the distant roar of a rutting stag. Autumn is here! Today, after two wet and windy days and with two similar ones in prospect, we had blue skies and a warm, gentle breeze, and Bron got all the spring bulbs in (thanks Robin and Susie!!). And then we took Jim down to Port Wemyss and tested his smart new wheelchair (with pneumatic tyres) by pushing him round the Rathas nan Iasgairean and to Portnahaven for a cuppa and scone at the pub. We could see the seals hauled out on Orsay - there's no sign of any pups yet, but that won't be long.

Summer may be over (last time we posted to this blog, six weeks ago, we were swimming in the sea at Port Ban - don't think we'll be doing that again till next year!) but the golf hasn't stopped. Scott is gearing up for a full weekend of it - the team championship - and shows no sign of slowing down for the winter. Meanwhile there are whist drives, the Small Isles Film Festival has just happened - a whole weekend of Screen Machine parked up at the Gaelic College and some excellent showings of new and archive films about Islay, plus The Maggie, which was filmed in Islay in 1954 - and Bron has joined the Feis Committee. Not quite sure whether that was a good idea - watch this space!

And next Wednesday Coisir Ghaidhlig Ile (the Islay Gaelic Choir) is off to Falkirk for the National Mod. Three nights in sunny Cumbernauld! Seriously, I'm really looking forward to my first National Mod - news of how we get on in the next posting.