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Damon & Renate's Holiday Cottages

Damon & Renate's Holiday Cottages: May 2010

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

Friday, 28 May 2010

Getting ready for the midgies

As promised at the last blog, more about our statues.  It all went surprisingly quick, with some good preparation and strong technique on Damon's part, we managed to pick up the 2 statues and also 2 planters.  One is the greek god 'pan', a 1.5m statue on a base, and the other a granite (possibly marble) sundial.  We used the sack trolley to move the sundial to the trailer, then tilt it onto the trailer, hoist it across and then skid across some very slippy mdf surfaces, so that it lodged solid at the front of the trailer.  We added some extra support as we weren't too sure about the strength of the base of the trailer.
Damon managed to lift pan of its base by cracking the glueing mortar, and carried him in, and then the base separate.  And off we went.
They are not yet in place, awaiting metal rods to ensure secure and safe installation.

These 2 statues and also the planters used to be at Inverawe between 1900 and 1950.  Inverawe was owned by the ladies' farther during the 1950's.  He sold the place to the Hydroboard when they were establishing themselves to build Cruachan power station.  The family took the ornaments with them to Helensburgh, where they were concreted in to withstand the strong winds they were exposed to.  The lady is now moving, so is selling off her ornaments and is delighted they will return to their base.  We're hoping she'll come and see them sometime in the next few months.

Oban Mountain rescue team have been starring in another TV shoot.  Vodafone have filmed one of their training sessions at the south end of Kerrera by Gylen castle to use in one of their adverts.  This will probably not be shown for another year or so.

We had our first escapee, one of the hens was missing from the run on Tuesday.  Damon had a good search along the bank at the front, but no joy, so went looking round the side.  Anja was getting distraught, and wanted to call out the mountain rescue for a full line search!  But when she looked down the front bank, a head popped up, spotted Anja and ran in a panic towards her.  Anja scooped her up lovingly and restored her back to her friends.  I don't think the hen will repeat this in a hurry, it was quite a traumatic experience.

I went to Mull with my sister and her family 2 weeks ago for a changeover.  I painted the outside top windows, did some repairs on the outside doors, while Juan did some strimming.  We had a stroll to the leafbeds and the bizarre pentagon Staffa like columns.  The small island in the middle was covered in mainly seathrift and other flowers.  I went back to the house, while they strolled round the blow holes and back via our beach.  There they spotted an otter with something in its mouth.  It pulled up on the rocks, and ate its lobster, leaving the remains and went off again.  The visitor book there also notes that 3 weeks ago the guests spotted some dolphins off our beach.

There's no midgies yet, but we are expecting them to come out any time this week.  We've had the midge magnet repaired, ready for the season, and the 'skin so soft' is out in reception for sale as the locally used remedy.  The ticks seem to be numerous this year, even I had my first ones.  We have bought a tick removing kit for our reception here and one on Mull for guests to use.  They are much better at taking the ticks out to reduce the risk of catching Lyme's disease than tweezers or finger nails.
My other wildlife tick was a badger that I saw in Knoydart while I was on a 3 day backpacking tour. I'd never seen them before, but my friend here said she saw one in South Shian woods, that's west of Benderloch a few years ago.

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Saturday, 8 May 2010

eggs, gravel, sunshine

It's been fabulous weather here the past week.  Not too hot, always a cool breeze, but mainly sunny.  We had a lorry load of gravel delivered on Wednesday in the courtyard that had to be spread out immediately.
In this good weather we've been trying to catch up on some of the outdoor varnishing, painting and major woodwork repairs.  The flowers have been catching up as well, and the garden is full of colour.

Our first 2 eggs arrived today from our chickens.  Amazingly, the girls watched it happen.  They were playing with the chickens when Autumn went inside and sat in the egg laying boxes.  Anja thought she looked uncomfortable, so she picked her up to find an egg underneath!  After ringing everyone in Taynuilt, they went back down, and chuck-chuck repeated the feat.  So an egg each tomorrow morning for breakfast.

Sally, the horse that stays in our field by Torr na Locha is gaining some company.  In 2 weeks time another horse is due to arrive, and today 3 lambs have joined her.  Mark, her owner, is also planning on keeping some chickens up there.  All our guests have thoroughly enjoyed Sally's company, even if she can be a little stubborn.

Tomorrow is the Cruachan dam sponsored abseil to raise money for the school's outdoor trip.  Only parents can do this, and Damon co-ordinates the event.  After that Damon and I are off to Helensburgh to pick up 2 statues bought on ebay.  They used to be at Inverawe during the 1900 to 1950's.  I just hope we can manage it, more to follow.....

Saturday, 1 May 2010


We have bought ourselves 6 chickens as pets.  The area down the bank in the trees in front of our house has been set up as an enclosed chicken area.  As we allow guests to bring their dogs, we cannot let them roam around. Also there's no cockerel as we don't want to be woken up early. We left them in their coop for the first day just to get them to home in.  Then we had the grande opening, but the hens of course didn't want to come out.  After we chased them out they were quite happy around us, while our girls stroked them and fed them grain.  Next day after we let them out they were all crouched down under the coop. Now we're on our third day they are getting more used to being picked up by the girls and getting chased about.  As for eggs, they seem a long way off yet.

After a few aborted attempts I finally last night managed to get over the other side of the loch to take some pictures of the house under dappled sunlight.  The pictures look very foreshortened, with the deer hill appearing directly behind the house.  I was quite pleased with the swans posing so nicely.  Damon wonders if it makes the house look too remote.

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