Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Taking a breath(er)

We’ve had a very busy summer, met lots of lovely guests,

thank you cards and notes from our guest book

 

 

cooked many breakfast and baked a whole lot of cake.

 

 

Now it’s time to take a breath. The season isn’t quite over there are still guests to greet but change is in the air.  Autumn activities are starting on the island, regular classes resuming and the morning walk changes colour every day. We’ve enjoyed a few days of September sunshine (though not today)

 

It’s time to celebrate birthdays, meet up with friends and family, become tourists ourselves. It’s also time for work, maintenance and redecoration where needed. We will be open on request over the Autumn and Winter period and there’s still lots to enjoy, perhaps Oban Winter Festival in November? The weather may get colder (and wetter) but you’ll get a warm welcome at Sheiling.

Caroline x

 

Uncategorized

Spreading the love

This morning I posted a photo of breakfast, my breakfast; guest plates go straight out while they’re hot.

One of my croissants and some jam from the Puffer on Easdale island

croissant and puffer jam

But we are spoiled for choice here, a regular on the breakfast table, and served this afternoon with scones,  is this scrumptious raspberry jam made by Paradise Kitchen.

 

George makes our lemon curd and marmalade but it’s great having all these wonderful producers right on our doorstep.

I just have to make sure I don’t get confused about which jar I pick up.

redonion marmalade

 

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, Plastic Waste, Uncategorized

No washday blues….

Once  again we had blue skies and sunshine on Monday. This time our day out was not entirely leisure related, we were heading down to Cardross to pick up our bathroom supplies from the lovely Lomond Soap Company,  but more of that later.

Enroute we had a coffee at our regular haunt Brambles,  Inveraray.  The loch was looking particularly beautiful and we had a quick walk around the shops too.

 

Refreshed we continued on to Cardross to pick up shower gel, hand wash and lotion from Corrie at Lomond Soap. I’d been searching for a supplier for a while and researched the company after using their products in a cafe.  All products are palm oil and animal fat free, they don’t dry out your skin and smell yummy too, I chose Citrus and  Rosemary for the Sheiling bathrooms. They will be available in refillable large dispensers to avoid the plastic waste from lots of little bottles.

 

As well as her range of soaps, gels and lotions Corrie has some lovely home and gift products in her shop. It’s on the main street in Cardross and well worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Before heading home we called in to the larger town of Helensburgh, home to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, as well as a good range of shops and cafes. We had a late lunch at Sugar Boat where I’d first been impressed by Lomond Soap. It’s a stylish , friendly cafe/bistro which is also dog friendly in the bar area.

Today it’s raining, but that doesn’t matter as I’ve got some work to do…….

soap

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Monday blues, but not the bad kind

Two weeks ago  we had our trip down to Kintyre, today and last Monday we stayed a little closer to home and enjoyed what our beautiful neighbouring islands have to offer.

Seil has ferry links to two of the other Slate islands, last week we took the “big” ferry (it takes cars) over to  Luing. We weren’t lucky enough to see the dolphins* we’d spotted on our last visit but the view is beautiful even without cetaceans.

at south cuan

We drove up to Cullipool for a walk along the shore and lunch at The Atlantic Islands Centre.  Bramble loves it there, not only is she welcome at the centre but there are sooooooo many stones to chase on the beach.

Today we took the little ferry (passengers only) to Easdale our nearer neighbour. It’s a great place for dog walking as there aren’t any cars. We took the paths around the old quarries and climbed to its highest point  (not that high, around 38 metres). After that it was back to the friendly Puffer Bar and Restaurant for coffee and a scone. Dogs aren’t allowed in the tearoom but are welcome in the bar, there’s also plenty of seating outside, which is where we enjoyed our drinks today.

 

So will we get another “Blue Monday” next week? Fingers crossed.

 

*when I  didn’t have my camera

Uncategorized

Snowtime

So far we’ve escaped the Eastie Beastie*, we’ve had a dusting of snow and the hills are spectacular,  but it is certainly very cold and windy. And Storm Emma may yet give us a a pasting. The tidal pond was frozen earlier

frozen pond

 

and the birds have been glad of the seeds and fat balls in their feeders, and  seem to add variety to their diet with titbits from the compost bin.

It’s St David’s day today and we don’t quite have daffodils but they are trying their best.

daffs

And the primroses have made a brave show.

primroses

We had a great walk today over on the mainland, up past the standing stones to the trig point. It was a bit, shall we say brisk?  to take photos at the top but here are some taken from the garden later.

Hope you’re safe and warm wherever you may be.

 

*a variation on “Beast from the East”, and something I was called when I explained I’d moved here from Edinburgh.

 

 

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Tourism, Uncategorized

Signs of Spring

It’s only the 4th of February and some recent sunny days may have turned my head but I think there are signs of Spring in the air.  I’m definitely noticing longer days, it’s so nice when it stops being dark by 5pm. On my walk this morning I spotted these pushing their way through the roadside verge.

green shoots

Soon there’ll be daffodils brightening my way.  The view down to the bay was extra beautiful   too.

balvicar today

We decided to drive down to Arduaine gardens to see how Spring was looking there.

And I think beautiful is the word?

Then stopped off for a bite of lunch at The Lord of the Isles at Craobh Haven and enjoyed more gorgeous views. It’s dog friendly too.

Back home I was pleased to see these signs of Spring in our garden

and hopefully there’ll be more ready  to welcome guests soon.

 

Food, Tourism, Uncategorized

Mmmmmmmarmalade

We’re just back from a short break in sunny Tenerife where the trees were full of oranges and bananas.

 

It’s been a bit chillier here in Argyll

snowy scene

So I was pleased to find a little reminder of Spanish sunshine in our local deli. *

These.

Seville oranges

Seville oranges, perfect for marmalade. So MrS** has been busy chopping, paring, boiling and generally filling the kitchen with delicious smells.

And lots of jars of this.

Which means there’ll be plenty for our guests to enjoy later on in the year.

As long as I don’t do too much “quality control”

marmalade on toast

Caroline x

*Kitchen Garden, Oban

**MrS(heiling) aka George.

Family history, Food, Uncategorized

The story of those new names; part II

It’s been a long time since part I.  I wrote that back in August when we were at our busiest and haven’t blogged since. So I’ve no excuse now as we are pretty much closed for the season.

Nancy,  my mother, was born in 1935 in the same small village in Wales where I too was born and grew up. Her parents, Gran and Grandpa Salmon hadn’t had such a settled life. Granny Salmon lost both her parents as a little girl and was informally adopted; as a young woman  she moved from Merthyr to work as a housekeeper. Grandpa’s family had travelled from Bristol and Dorset, probably  seeking work in the mines which were booming at the time.

Mam collage

as a toddler, schoolgirl, with my Dad before they were married, a young mother (I’m just out of shot) and in the 1970s

Mam*  hated school, and left as soon as she became fourteen to work in the drapery department of the Co-operative in the next village. It’s long gone now but as a child most of my clothes and footwear were bought there. In Mam’s day the assistants wore dark uniforms with starched white collars and cuffs and woe betide if you let a customer leave empty handed. I owe my neat packing ability to Mam’s demonstrations of the correct way to fold any item of clothing.  Other skills she passed on were the positioning of a brimmed hat (on the front, never the back of the head) and what a “dropping” creamed butter and sugar mix for a sponge cake  should look like. Currently I find the latter most useful  but do have a fondness for a properly angled tifter.

in purple hat

Trying out her Christmas present

 

 

Mam and Dad met as teenagers and courted at the local cinemas and youth club then following Dad’s spell in the RAF for his National Service married in 1957. A small aside here, Dad was always very keen on our education and was proud that we girls  won places at university as he had not had a chance to go. Mam later revealed that his older brother had offered to fund university when Dad returned from service but he hadn’t wanted to wait any longer to get married. Anyway they got married but not in Mam’s home  village, she was too shy for that. Even when I was a child people stood outside their houses to watch brides leaving for church and then waited outside the church for the couple to reappear after the wedding**, and as everyone knew my Grandpa because he was the bin man there was sure to be a big turn out which Mum could not face so they married in Dad’s parish next door.

Mam and Dad settled in her village, first in digs and then in the house I grew up in, where Dad still lives.  With my sister’s birth she gave up work outside the home and then had even more work on her hands when I turned up.  Mam could dress my big sister ready for an outing and leave her to play nicely whilst she had to wait until the very last minute to get me ready or I would end up dirty or torn or both.

Mam wasn’t well travelled, she and Dad spent their honeymoon in Jersey, though that did involve a couple of scary flights in tiny planes and later we had a couple of family holidays abroad and she and Dad visited France on their own after we had left home. Most of all though she loved home and being with her family. She enjoyed meeting our friends too;  she wasn’t at all upset when my sister returned from her 21st birthday drinks with most of her workmates and was actually quite amused when one of them invited her “to make herself at home”. And when I turned up with six hungry university friends, was only perplexed by the question of what the ones studying politics would be “going in for”, feeding them was a doddle.  Her favourite country was Wales, though  Scotland came a close second after I moved here. She really enjoyed her visits to Edinburgh and I’m sad that she never got to visit Seil.

I think she would have liked the room that’s named after her. Coincidentally it’s painted a very similar colour to her own bedroom, the cushions are Welsh tapestry from Melin Tregwynt and I’ve chosen pictures and objects which were her style. Most of all I hope I can bring just a little of her kindness and generosity to our visitors.

And cake, she made marvellous  cake.

 

 

*Growing up we always called her Mam or Mammy, in the Welsh way.

**this wasn’t for the “scramble” of coins, I only once witnessed that, it didn’t seem to be a local tradition.

Family history, Uncategorized

The story of those new names; part I

The rooms are named after our mothers, Flora was George’s and Nancy mine. Before we ever found this house, when moving  was just a plan for the future, I thought I would like  to name our rooms  this way.

mums at wedding

Flora and Nancy at our wedding

Two women, born 15 years and several hundred miles apart. They had quite contrasting lives and differed in many ways, but shared love for their families and superb baking skills.  Both came from a family  of three sisters, Flora the eldest daughter and Nancy the middle one.

Flora was born in 1920 in Greenock, her father was a mariner her mother a teacher before she married.  All three Paterson girls were encouraged in their education and graduated from Glasgow University.  Holidays were spent on their mother’s home island of Jura. Following graduation Flora taught in Greenock but her future was determined when she was rescued from an “assault” by her best friend’s little brother by the friend’s handsome cousin,  on holiday from Skye.  Flora and Jim married in 1944 while Jim enjoyed a brief leave;  their eldest son Roddy was born while he continued active duty in the east.

After the war the couple settled in Glasgow and then Lenzie, where George was born, before setting off on their great adventure in 1956. The  war had precluded travel during her university years so Flora’s first trip away from Scotland was aboard the SS Strathmore to India where they would live for the next six years and where youngest son Bill was born. Future postings took the family to Scotland,  Leeds and finally  Germany before retirement back in Scotland.  The travelling didn’t stop though,  Flora and Jim returned to Germany several times and travelled to the USA and France to visit their sons. They also loved Scotland and made frequent trips to Jura.

Our suite Flora reflects this life, from the old map of Jura which used to hang on the wall in Greenock,  to the watercolours bought on holiday;  the textiles are Scottish and there are souvenirs of  life in India. Much of the furniture has been up cycled from homes in Jura and Greenock. I make scones trying to emulate the ones Flora made and my  shortbread  recipe came originally from  Jim’s sister.

Interiors, Uncategorized

Boxes, bags and bubblewrap

July and August flew past. We hosted lots of lovely guests and spent our free time walking and enjoying trips out in the boat. I caught my first fish,  it was quite a small mackerel, but delicious. The house in Greenock is now home to a new family and their stories. But we haven’t said goodbye to packing. ..

boxes2

Almost since we moved in we’ve been waiting for a start date for our extension works. Now it’s excitingly/unnervingly/thrillingly/worryingly/nail bitingly/disturbingly close and I’m busy once again with tissue paper, bubble wrap and boxes, squirrelling  away the contents of the soon to be demolished kitchen.

I’ve been arranging a temporary kitchen, MrS found this excellent induction hob

induction-hob

and we have our combi oven and an old slow cooker rescued from Greenock

slow-cooker-1

so we shouldn’t have to live on beans and toast (though I have been wondering if I should start a pop up cereal cafe).

cereals

We’re hoping we can live here through most of the  build, time will tell.

And I’ll keep you posted