Covid, Tourism

Making plans

How long is it now? Lockdown? I’ve lost count,  but we should be at least six weeks into our season. It’s not likely that we’ll be open very soon but we are making plans for when we can welcome visitors again.

We’ve always prided ourselves on our high standards of hygiene but we’re going to be extra vigilant.  Because of that we’ve decided on a few changes for the immediate post Covid period.

We’re only going to open one set of rooms at a time*.  So once we know when booking can start I will open up Nancy. We’re also going to leave a day between bookings. Unfortunately  we won’t be able to provide all the usual books and magazines. But we’ll be happy to email you any local information you need and I’ll put more information on here.

You can rest assured that you’ll still find a comfy bed, delicious breakfast and a warm welcome.

Just from slightly further away!

Looking forward to meeting guests again, meanwhile stay home and stay safe.

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Caroline, George and Bramble x

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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

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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.

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“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

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

 

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

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, History, Tourism

Enjoying a day out

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.

Licky b

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.

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.