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Damon & Renate's Holiday Cottages

Damon & Renate's Holiday Cottages: February 2009

Damon & Renate's Holiday Cottages

Beautiful stone cottages near Oban and on the Isle of Mull

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Location: Taynuilt, Argyll, United Kingdom

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Boats and Helicopters

Picture at the top is of the ferry coming in to Mull last time I was returning. The outside of the house is finished now and we have completed all the paper work to get the electrical supply in, which has taken since September and a lot of patience. The doors are now fitted inside and all the plastering completed. Next time I go over I'm decorating and installing the radiators and the electrician will hopefully be there to start tidying up his bits.
It's starting to feel as though we are getting there, although we still have to negotiate building control, who can be very unpredictable, so until that is done we won't be holding our breath. The current debate with them is trying to persuade them of the inappropriateness of a 7 m long by 1.5m wide wheelchair ramp for a house that had to be walked to until 4 months ago and still doesn't have a downstairs bathroom. The 3 metres of tarmac to park on outside the house at the end of a half mile farm track will make all the difference!
Having got back from Mull I had a day training the rescue team with the RAF helicopter, giving people the chance to practice the different ways of entering and exiting a helicopter. The perfect weather was a real bonus.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Last week, I went over to Torr na Locha for the first time since October.  What a change.  The living room now feels spacious, as Damon managed to move the internal walls outwards whilst insulating to a significantly higher degree.  The woodburning stove is lovely and cosy in there.  The taping is nearly finished, and the internal doors hung.  So its painting the walls next, then the skirting boards and facings.  The second staircase works really well, and lets lots of light in from above.  In these old crofthouse designs getting daylight is important.
The girls and I had great fun with Sally the horse (in between the cleaning we were doing, clearing the floors and mopping up the dust).  She's a great character.  It's a shame she won't be there in the summers.  She stays on Iona then. as she pulls the cart on Iona to take visitors from the ferry to the abbey.
I picked up a sofa and 2 matching chairs for my Etive project yesterday, I am absolutely delighted with them, and they'll take centre stage in Etive with the period style furnishings.  You can see the sofa on top of the car in the last picture.  Once cleaned up and some repairs done, the sofa will need to fly up and fit through the window of Etive. That'll be fun and games again on the cherry picker.

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Friday, 6 February 2009

Torr na Loch Progress

I've just had 4 days over on Mull, fitting the new shower room and starting the plastering of the walls. The bathroom isn't quite finished as I had the wrong fittings for a couple of connections and it is a 5 hour round trip to the nearest plumber! Hopefully I'll get the right fittings for next time.
The picture above is looking 
north up the west coast of Mull from
 just outside the house.
The pink sign post is half way from the ferry to Torr na Locha. The village name on it "Salen" always seems quite a creepy name for an island village but I'm told thats just my subconscious connecting it to Arthur Millar's play about the Salem witch trials.
The mountain behind it is Ben More, Mull's highest mountain at just over 3000 feet. Every couple of years someone gets into trouble on it and we get lowered out of a helicopter half way up it to track them down before being whisked away again in the same way. It's usually all done in the dark and very disorientating, though the dawn flight back over to the mainland can be very beautiful if you are by the one available window.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Finally, we've got some snow too!  After England was off on Monday, we just had sunshine, but it's been snowing all morning here.  It does seem to hide the carpet of snowdrops that we have at the moment.  The rhododendron on the front drive always flowers in January and February, it adds a touch of colour at this time of year.  
Damon has no snow on Mull yet this week, but it is very cold.  Adding the insulation in the livingroom and blocking off holes is making the croft much warmer and the Aga is just managing to heat it still with lots of jumpers!  
I had tried to increase the number of beehives that I have, but unfortunately it hasn't worked.  Saturday was a very warm day and I went to give them some more sugar solution, and two of the hives have died, so now only 1 hive remains, and that is the aggressive hive.  After looking at them in summer I'm normally covered in about 50 beestings on my suit.  But they get a lot more kudos if they survive the winter!