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.
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…….
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.
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
Even though we escaped the worst of the recent storms and wintry weather we haven’t really travelled very far from home recently. So it was nice to have a little day out yesterday.
We headed south down Loch Fyne to the beautiful Kintyre peninsula. We had a quick stop in Tarbert to stretch our (and Bramble’s) legs and then on along the coast towards Campbeltown.
We stopped short of Campbeltown at Glenbarr where Glenbarr Stores has a cafe serving delicious locally sourced food, garden centre and farmshop (as well as the Post Office)
We even got a look at their lovely B&B rooms, it’s nice to see what other B&Bs are like. It would be a great spot to explore what Kintyre has to offer.
We continued south to Campbeltown where you can find the newly restored Picture House , one of the oldest surviving cinemas in the country, next to Campbeltown museum which we’d visited on another trip. We decide not to indulge our inner Paul Mccartney by continuing down to the Mull of Kintyre but headed over to the east side taking the sometimes switchback B road to Saddell with its ancient stones and beautiful beach*
We all enjoyed a walk there, but Bramble most of all.
Kintyre is a fairly long day out from Sheiling BnB but well worth it; or maybe spend more of your time exploring beautiful Argyll and take a few days there too. A road trip to rival the North Coast 500?
*park in the village and walk down past Saddell Castle.
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.
Soon there’ll be daffodils brightening my way. The view down to the bay was extra beautiful too.
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.
Well it’s been a long six months (almost a year) but we’re nearly ready to welcome guests again.
I’m brushing up my baking now that I’ve got a real oven again and when George isn’t busy with a paintbrush he’s practising his frying skills.
Now, if only the weather plays nicely…….
I tried making an old Scottish staple today. Oatcakes. I didn’t have any family recipes, though I’m sure there must be some, so I used this one from BBC GoodFood. And as I was using up some ingredients, I tweaked it slightly. My gluten free oats were coming to the end of their shelf life so in they went and then I thought it would be nice to make them entirely gluten free so used gluten free buckwheat flour. I used salted butter, again using up stocks, so didn’t add all the salt.
work in progress
The finished products suited my taste but I think in future I’ll add the recipe quantity.
This recipe and all the others I found asked me to bake the cakes but I set aside some to cook stove top on the griddle , this is how they would have been cooked in the past. The stove top version worked but the oven baked ones were crisper.
ready to bake
All in all I was pretty pleased with the result and they weren’t at all difficult. So now I have an addition to my repertoire and one I can offer to guests on a gluten free diet.
I can’t promise weather like this……
Or the prince/princess of your dreams….
But I can promise……..
A comfortable bed….
……..a delicious breakfast
….. a movie to share..
And perhaps a little extra.
So don’t be shy, give it a try (As I might have “sung” last week )
In the attic of his Aunt’s house, George found a box. It was bit battered about but sound. A good example of a 19th century pine kist.
These chests were very common in Scotland and had a multitude of uses. They could be simply storage vessels or they might be used to transport a family’s worldly goods as they moved from place to place, hired seasonally to work the land or perhaps to seek a new life overseas, whether voluntary or forced.
It was covered in thick layers of varnish and dark paint but obviously had good potential, so George set about stripping it down. But first it had to be opened and emptied. And so we found. This.
What we found..
Pages from a commemorative edition of the Glasgow Weekly Mail of 1871 marking the engagement of HRH Princess Louise with the Marquess of Lorne, later the Duke of Argyll.
HRH Princess Louise
Why had this been pasted inside the kist? We can only make wild guesses. It must have been decorative it can’t have served any function, it’s not lining there’s too little of it. We don’t even know who put it there. But suddenly the serious sometimes forbidding looking people in old photos become more familiar. Could those newspaper pages pasted inside a chest be the 19th century versions of the posters of Donny Osmond on my childhood walls or Kim and Justin on Instagram?
Bessie (Hill) Paterson on left and her husband Robert on right, with their children. The little boy in the sailor suit is George’s grandfather (also George). Bessie and Robert married in 1879. Bessie was 16 in 1871.
It’s fun to imagine and make up stories but it would be even better if the real story or even parts of it had been passed down the years. But it’s too far back, even in a family with long memories. So the mystery stays in the box.