Uncategorized

They’re coming back!

Back in 2019 Seil enjoyed its first ever Scarecrow Festival, the island was invaded by around a hundred of the straw creatures.

a small selection from 2019

We had a naughty dog causing havoc with the breakfast sausages

But the winning entry showed the crows fighting back

The festival kicked off on a drizzly start with umbrellas protecting Juliet Cadzow (Balamory’s Edie McCredie) when she cut the ribbon across the bridge, but as the week progressed, the sun began to shine and temperatures soared. A pop up cafe ran every day in the hall.

You could pose as a scarecrow

Or enjoy a heritage walk, a potluck lunch, yoga, a scarecrow themed quiz and lots of other activities. Thankfully there were no Midsomer style murders.

The week culminated in a Highland Fair, with fun stalls, a dog show, and someone put in an appearance as a living scarecrow

Then we danced the night away with a ceilidh in the hall afterwards.

So it’ll be great to welcome them back again and see what our creative community comes up with this time around.

The festival will run 23rd – 30th July 2022

I’ve already had my thinking hat on, and am planning one to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 and my Welsh heritage.

So watch this space

Covid, Uncategorized

Goodbye to ‘Good to Go’

Way back in 2020 when we were first emerging from lockdown, and looking forward to welcoming guests again ‘Good to Go’ became the watchword. We signed up to the scheme and were pleased to display the logo. Now after two more years of living with Covid restrictions and adapting our service the scheme has ended.

excerpt from visitscotland communication

This year we’re going to open both rooms again, so you may meet other guests during your stay. But don’t worry, we are dedicated to keeping our guests safe while offering them a warm and welcoming experience. Some of the changes we introduced will stay but we are gradually reintroducing books and soft furnishings to our rooms. And of course we’ll be keeping everything clean for you.

Looking forward to welcoming our first guests of the season next month. Here’s to new friends and old.

Caroline & George xx

Uncategorized

Another busy season

Too busy in fact to write any posts. And a longer one this year, we opened in May and finally closed our doors last week. Don’t worry, not permanently, we plan on being open for business in Spring 2022. Keep an eye on this space.

Bramble enjoying the bluebells back in the Spring

We were lucky, it was a lovely summer here on Seil. I don’t think I’m wearing my rose tinted specs. My standard is how often we can dry the washing outdoors. And if memory serves me correctly, the answer was ‘often’ the occasional highland rinse* not withstanding! In fact there were a few times everything dried far too quickly and they were almost beyond ironing!

I couldn’t find the laundry photo, but here’s one when it was too hot for the cows

Like last year we’ve had to adapt our welcome, COVID hasn’t left us yet, but we’ve got used to mask wearing, twice weekly lateral flow tests, and having just the one ‘bubble’ of guests at a time. Fingers crossed that by next year we’ll be a little more back to ‘normal’.

Today we had a lovely walk in Kilninver, enjoying the Autumn colours.

Looking forward to meeting more of you next year. Stay safe.

Caroline, George, and Bramble xxx

*highland rinse – the phenomena of leaving out your washing when it’s only a ‘light’ shower! Real aficionados play this to the limits, it has to stop sometime.

Seil, Tourism, Uncategorized

February 2021

Here we are in lockdown again. Our days have resumed their pattern of walks and chores. But Spring is on its way. These are icicles from earlier in the month.

Now replaced by pussy willow and catkins.

The snowdrops are already here.

And we’ll soon have daffodils, maybe even for St David’s day.

There are other green shoots.

But lots of our plants have been chomped by the deer and rabbits

George has had his first dose of vaccine, I’ll have to wait a little while longer.

We have dates to look forward to, to meet our friends outdoors, have a haircut, visit a bookshop. Hopefully we’ll be able to welcome guests sometime in the summer.

In the meantime, stay safe. And when we can open, you’ll read it here first.

Seil, Tourism, Uncategorized

Looking forward

Back in January I wrote a post called “Looking forward, looking back”, it was a look back at our time here, and a taste of the season we were looking forward to.

Little did I know.

It’s nearly the end of the year.

Spring was sunny but we had it all to ourselves.

Our summer was much better than we could have expected. We had to make changes, but were rewarded with lovely guests once again. And we managed some family time and personal celebrations before restrictions tightened in the autumn. And then this month our community managed to deliver some Christmas sparkle for local children, with a walk through Cinderella performance.

Tomorrow we’ll celebrate alone, raising our glasses to toast a new year. And looking forward to opening our doors to guests once again.

Stay safe, stay well, and have a happy new year when it comes.

Caroline, George, and Bramble xxx

Uncategorized

Tread softly*

This year we’ve introduced a minimum stay policy. We’d thought about it pre lockdown and decided to go ahead. You might ask why? Isn’t it counterintuitive when we’ve already lost so many bookings?

Well no.

It’s part of a plan to encourage a slower kind of tourism. Taking time to stop and breathe and have a look around. Even while some of our local attractions remain closed there’s lots to keep you in the area. And when we have all spent the past three months at home, a new view can be invigorating.

We can advise you places to walk or cycle.

Check out our “Out and About” page for more information. It’ll be updated as easing progresses.

Never has the adage “Take only photos, leave only footprints” been more important; in the wake of Covid and the Climate emergency.

Who knows, you might even be inspired to create your masterpiece.

“Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light,The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light; I would spread the cloths under your feet; But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” WB Yeats

 

Your footprints might be muddier!

* “Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light,The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light; I would spread the cloths under your feet; But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” WB Yeats

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Uncategorized

Finding a balance

If you’ve stayed with us you might recognise the image at the top of this blog. It’s the view from the sitting room of Flora, our upstairs suite.   For the past two days this room has been repurposed, I’ve been using it for yoga practice.

mat, block,  and the view from my mat

 

We have a great yoga class in Seil Hall twice a week, obviously it’s suspended for the moment so our teacher has been sending out weekly sequences for us to follow at home.  But I didn’t get my mat out until yesterday, despite all my best intentions.

I didn’t have the time…….

You would now be forgiven for saying “What????”    Because time is what we do have at the moment.

IMG_0043

Pfft! How can there be no time to play ball? 

 

That’s  where the balance,  or lack of it comes in.

You see,  although this is the  second official week of the lockdown,   according to my diary it’s day 15.  When all non essential social contact was discouraged two weeks ago,  most businesses here closed* and events were postponed.  This was disappointing and we had to cancel our prospective guests,  but our routine stayed pretty much the same.  Yes we had  fewer trips out for shopping  and none of them further than Oban,  but we walked Bramble,  worked on the garden (well George did),  and did the usual things around the house.

we’re lucky to have beautiful places to walk

 

I was trying to be busy  and felt bad  if I didn’t tick off the items on my mental to do list, even when some of those items were fun things.  So I decided I would get out my mat and spend a little time  being in the moment.  Concentrating on what I was doing,  instead of worrying what next.

IMG_4790

this is called comfy pose

And I’ve stopped feeling guilty about sitting reading my book** when it’s not bedtime.

Caroline x

 

Isle Yoga – private sessions and mini retreats available when normal service resumes

 

 

* apart from food and other essential services

** Middlemarch, I’ve been amazed how much of it could be written today.

Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

It’s not business as usual

It’s another lovely sunny day, it was the Spring equinox yesterday,  and a week tonight the clocks will go forward marking the start of British Summer Time. On Thursday I saw the first lamb locally – though I think it would have been an unexpectedly early arrival. It’s the time of year when I start thinking about welcoming our guests.

IMG_4780

Sorry not just now

But not this year.  Please follow government and NHS advice and don’t think about travelling, don’t ignore the restrictions. I appreciate that it might seem tempting to escape the cities in search of isolation in the Highlands but it will cause chaos in rural communities.

I’m often asked about life here on Seil,  “idyllic” is often mentioned, and yes, we are very lucky to live here, we have beautiful surroundings, clean air and a wonderful community.

IMG_0055

Spring bulbs, a “thank you” from friends a few years back, still going strong

But It’s going to be a hard time here too. So many people earn their living from tourism and hospitality and have seen their jobs disappear overnight. But you can help. Eventually the restrictions will be lifted and we’ll be able to welcome you back. In the meantime, if you can,  and I know many people have lost their jobs too, think about buying vouchers and mail-order items. That way there’s a better  chance they will still be  here when you can come back.

Everything* takes longer to get here, we pay extra for our online orders;  never mind the bridge we’re an island when it comes to delivery charges.  Don’t get me wrong,  we might complain about these things in the pub, but we do love living here.  But at the moment the pubs, as well as all the cafes, restaurants, museums and other attractions  are  closed.

We’re half an hour from  our local district hospital but our nearest  intensive care unit is nearly three hours away in Glasgow.  Our  health centre is great, but it’s designed to cope with our small population. They’ll happily treat emergencies among summer visitors but can’t cope with large increases in patients.

Our local producers and shops are working hard to maintain supplies and make sure we have food and access to it, but our supermarkets are struggling too. We love serving you our freshly baked bread, but flour has disappeared from the shelves – perhaps in a future post I can share how we’ve been utilising less common ingredients?

 

Here are a few Seil and Easdale businesses who are selling vouchers:

The Fisherman’s Kitchen

Sealife Adventures

Seafari

the Puffer Bar and Restaurant, Easdale

 

Wherever you are, stay safe and follow the guidelines.

very cute Bramble pic

 

Caroline, George and Bramble

*Not the actual post, we have a remarkable postal service, occasionally it seems as if things arrive even before I’ve sent them.

Producers, Tourism, Uncategorized

Sunshine in uncertain times

Gosh such a lot has happened since I wrote my Happy New Year post.   I was quiet on the blogging front as January is panto time on Seil and George and I were both involved.

IMG_4738 2

can you spot us?

February saw us planning the jobs we needed to do before Spring,  and an exciting new venture for us. Did you notice the badge? We were accepted into the Sawday’s family of Special Places to Stay.  We were also still busy with the drama club,  George producing and me acting in the Seil entry for our local drama festivals. We wondered whether we could sneak in a quick trip to Spain or Portugal for a bit of sunshine before we started welcoming visitors again.

we decided on some new suppliers and had some lovely photos taken*

And then March. Well I don’t need to tell you what happened then,  and over the past week our lives have changed drastically as things closed down and events were cancelled.  We had our first cancellation today and I’m not expecting to see many,  if any guests this year.

But, Seil is still beautiful, we have plenty of marmalade – though we might have to get inventive about what we spread it on as flour seems in short supply! Our lovely local community is pulling together to support those who are having to isolate and distance themselves. Our super local shop is setting up an order and delivery system and our farm shops and shellfish fishers have lots of delicious food for us. I finally got around to curing our own bacon, report to follow….

2020 batch

it’s that marmalade stack again 

Who knows what is going to happen over the next few months? It’s going to be very difficult for people in the tourism and hospitality sectors and for many, many other small businesses.  If you have them in your area, support them, buy a voucher, order a take away meal.     You’ll want them to be there when restrictions are lifted.

We hope to get all those little jobs done, improve the garden and be here for when you can travel again.

 

Keep safe,

IMG_0011

Bramble deep in contemplation

 

Caroline, George and Bramble

 

*photographs courtesy of Giulia Giannetti

 

Food, Plastic Waste, Tourism, Uncategorized

Looking forward, looking back

January,  named for two headed Janus,  who could look forward to the future while reviewing the past.  As we’ve headed into the “twenties” the papers have been full of reviews of the decade and thoughts for the future. It gave me quite a shock to realise that we’ve been in business for half of that time, so what has happened over the past five years?

We opened our doors at the end of July 2015 with just the one room, Nancy.

P1030128

“Nancy” as she looked then 

We continued the next summer, still with the one room but with a few cosmetic changes and plans for expansion.

bedroom 3

new lights and blanket for 2016

And then in September packed up the old kitchen ready for its demolition and replacement

Our cooking options shrank somewhat

and we became very familiar with these…

paint

By the end of July 2017 we were ready to reopen with Nancy

new chair and  bedside tables

 

being joined by Flora

Flora, our suite with private bathroom and sitting room

Over the next couple of years we’ve updated, introducing more Welsh textiles to Nancy; the room is named for my Welsh  mother.

Developed our baking reportoires..

Moved to larger less wasteful toiletries

Lomond Soap

and continued having fun

toast glasses

hosting lots of lovely guests

 

Some things never change, January is still the month for these

Seville oranges

resulting in lots of this

marmalade

2018 vintage

2020 batch

and the 2020 batch

Which I think gets better every year.

So looking ahead over the next couple of months we’ll be digging out those paintbrushes to get everything looking fresh and lovely to begin welcoming you again.

Happy New Year

Caroline, George and Bramble xxx

Looking both ways up and down the Sound