Food, Producers, Seil

Food glorious food

I managed to miss Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight in September. Probably too busy serving it to guests, and eating it on birthdays! So I though I could showcase just some of our lovely local foods here.

First of all, the things we serve at breakfast time. Our eggs and meat products are all from local farms.

Eggs come from Balvicar Farm, the Wee Pig Company (yes I know pigs don’t lay eggs) or Taste of Argyll where Katherine sells eggs from her own hens and those of other small producers.

Sausages and bacon come from the WeePig and Taste of Argyll and also our very near neighbours at Auchnasaul. If you’ve been served beef sausages they’ve come from there. My home cured bacon was made using pork from the Wee Pig Company.

When we’re not in lockdown we have a good choice of food at our local pubs, the Tigh an Truish which is almost next door, or the Oyster Bar at Ellenabeich. And both have adapted amazingly to the changing conditions over the past few months and are currently offering takeaway options outside the restricted opening hours.

Peas on sourdough, and plaice and chips at the Tigh an Truish.

Oyster bar grill which we enjoyed at home last week

Did you see the sourdough? That’s made by Holly at Solace Bakery. I think I’ve written elsewhere about the pizzas which did so much to cheer up our lockdown. Well since then the range has been expanded to include delicious breads, pastries, and cakes. Including the cake I was treated to for my birthday.

And it’s not just food, the coffee we serve (and drink ourselves) is roasted here on the island by Hinba Coffee. You can also enjoy it at their shop in Oban.

Lunch with a view, Hinba coffee and a savoury from The Puffer Food Company

The Atlantic Islands Centre on Luing also serves up great food but at the moment is running a local take away service only.

We’ve enjoyed two delicious meals recently from Etive restaurant in Oban, via their Etive at home scheme.

And some of our guests tucked into a delicious platter from Drew at The Fisherman’s Kitchen

So I think you’ll agree that we have some of the very best of Scotland’s Food and Drink right here on our doorstep.

Featured image courtesy of Giulia Giannetti

Fisherman’s Kitchen picture courtesy of The Fisherman’s Kitchen

Covid, Seil, Tourism

October and on

Autumn is most definitely here, the leaves have changed colour (and started to fall) and the storms have arrived. At the moment we’re probably at the peak of colour before we tip into the faded palette of winter.

My walk reminded me of one back in the spring, also a damp day. Then the colours were beginning to develop.

Opposite sides of the seasonal spectrum.

This year more than most spring brought signs of hope; infection rates fell and we were able to meet our friends again.

Summer, well it wasn’t normal but it was freer, and we were able to welcome guests.

Now we have the prospect of winter, and a retreat back to our homes*. We’ve adapted, there’s no guising** for the children this year but windows and gardens have been filled with pumpkins and spooks for a hallowe’en treasure hunt ***.

As the nights and our lives draw in, I’m getting the sparkly lights out early to brighten up the dark evenings.

Christmas won’t be a big family gathering, whatever the governments decide. There won’t be carols at the pub, nor our panto in January. But I’m just hoping that winter won’t be too long and dark, and I’ll be watching the spring flowers in the rain in 2021, planning the season for our guests.

Stay safe. Stay well. Hope to meet you soon.

*As I was writing this Argyll and Bute was put into tier two restrictions, which means we can meet friends outdoors or in cafes, but not at home.

** dressing up and visiting houses

***Parents take their children around the island spotting the pumpkins, the children earn a treat for each they spot

Covid, Seil, Tourism

That’s all folks, ……………. until next year.

Way back in March, even before we went into lockdown I started to doubt that we’d be welcoming guests this year. And I was worried because we already had a good number of bookings which I thought might have to cancel. When lockdown came I had to decide how far ahead to cancel bookings and luckily, made the right call. Also we have the nicest guests, so everyone was understanding about their bookings being cancelled.

Bramble enjoying the spring daffs

We could have reopened mid July but wanted to spend the time planning our approach. And of course to have family visitors. So we delayed our reopening until 1st August, when we were please to welcome some return guests.

Daffs replaced by daisies

Now the leaves are turning, mornings are much darker and we’ve closed our doors for the season.

Autumn colour

We’re now thinking ahead to 2021….

We are going to retain the two night minimum stay, I haven’t liked refusing bookings but it’s more rewarding when guests stay and explore the area. Even without some of our local attractions we’ve found visitors have found plenty to enjoy on Seil and its surrounding area.

Boats in Balvicar bay

We’re going to concentrate on booking out one room. This year it was Nancy. Next year we’re going to use Flora, though we’ll book both rooms to an extended group.

That will mean guests will have exclusive use of a bedroom, bathroom, sitting room, and the dining room. Like a small apartment. Except we cook your breakfast.

Other breakfast dishes available

And as it seems unlikely that this virus will disappear any time soon we’ll continue to avoid back to back bookings.

But most of all, whether like this

Or this

Maybe without the shades?

We’ll be welcoming you with a smile

Stay safe and we hope to meet you(again) next year.

Caroline, George, and not forgetting Bramble xxx

Covid, Seil, Tourism

September

September when, in the words of the song* “….the days grow short…”. Usually marking the end of our season, birthdays, stone skimming, and plans for travel. But in this strange skewed year that’s all changed. Our season only started in August so we’re continuing through, until October at least. We’ll have the new challenge of dark mornings, the stove has already been lit at breakfast time. There’s no stone skimming championships this year, but you’re welcome to have a go yourself, and when the tide’s right you can even try from the garden. Travel, well after months at home every day out is an adventure, and lockdown easing permitting, we might manage some trips to other parts of Scotland. Birthdays, well that’s one thing that still goes on.

*”September Song” by Kurt Weill, and sung here by Lotte Lenya.

Continue reading
Seil, Tourism

Summer

June has arrived and more lovely sunny weather. Late Spring and early summer are often the nicest times here on Seil. This year  I’ve had more time to look around me and appreciate the flowers and the birdsong.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from my daily walks.  You’ll have to imagine the birdsong

It hasn’t been sunny all the time,

IMG_1190

in fact it was a bit grey the day we crossed the Atlantic.

But whatever the weather there’s always something  to enjoy.

And we’re looking forward to sharing that enjoyment with our guests again.

Stay safe. x