Island at the Edge

Island at the Edge
The Gathering, Cable Bay, Colonsay

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Those were the weeks that were...

The weeks have passed really quickly and things have been happening at a phenomenal pace at the Homestead and beyond...
We had our daily commute to the point prior to the Colonsay International Golf Tournament on the links course a couple of weeks ago. An additional challenge was the wee gusts of wind that could hamper the odd shot or two! But for our islanders, that didn’t pose a problem since they are used to playing in force 9 and low mist!! We had hoped for this year’s winner to be a local, not that we were tempting fate... The Bullet and Eddie had prepared the course with precision (as he always does) and along with the wind, the odd sheep, a cow or two and numerous rabbit warrens it all added nicely into the mix. The combination of outdoor ‘refreshments’ during and at the end of the tournament, followed by a warmer or two at Faulty Towers and then a Ceilidh at the village hall had all tested the player’s resilience however it can be reported that as the evening progressed most managed a good performance of the ‘dashing white sergeant’, though one notable exception was The Bullet, AKA Twinkle Toes, who didn’t quite twinkle that evening due to simultaneous and dedicated celebration of this birthday...
The results for the Golf Competition were...
The Champion Cup: 1st Prize – Chris Mahan
                                  2nd Prize – John (from Mike’s Megastore)
                                  3rd Prize – Big Trev & Magnus
Scratch Trophy:         1st Prize – Magnus
                                    2nd Prize – The Bullet
                                    3rd Prize – Chris Mahan
Local Trophy:              1st Prize – The Bullet
                                    2nd Prize – Bazil the Brush
                                    3rd Prize – Seumus our illustrious compare and farmer
Ladies Trophy:            1st Prize – Holly Nesbet
Junior Cup:                 1st Prize – Frazer
                                    2nd Prize – Ryan Clark
                                    3rd Prize – Lewis Nesbet
Highest Score: - Gavalus Gavalar (his prize was an appropriate miniature bottle of port)
Nearest the Pin: - Mack-the-Finger
Longest Drive: - Magnus
Best Caddy: - Ryan Gillespie
Oldest Competitor: - Big Trev
Youngest Competitor (Adult Section): - Liam MacNeill
Many, many thanks went out to for all their hard work in getting the course prepared, in particular The Bullet & Eddie.
Thanks also went to Big Trev for his secretarial work – he’s a dab hand with the typewriter and the accounting bit, especially with his copious amounts of paper...
And thanks went especially to Bazil the Brush for all of his hard work throughout the year and in particular on the day for ‘making it all happen’, including his wonderful presentation of the prizes, duly helped by his assistant our and his very own Dancing Queen and The Brewer. Fantastic job...
I had the privilege of flying off the island to Oban Airport (just for a few hours) with Julie Angell. I attended a meeting with Hebridean Air Services to seal the deal with our airfreight. I met with George ‘The Boss’ and Andy, The Ops Manager at Hebridean Air Services. It’s now a case of watch this space as we take this project from strength to strength. It is lovely to work closely with like minded organisations who wish to see our ‘Island at the Edge’ initiatives truly supported. I can’t thank everyone enough for their time and positive ‘can do’ attitude, including all at Oban Airport, Argyll & Bute Council and the ground crew at Colonsay International Airport. The bonus for me personally was a wonderful flight with Julie; I highly recommend this mode of transport. The scenery is spectacular with wonderful views of Colonsay, Jura, Islay and the mainland mountains. And flights are cheap so check them out and why not head over this way for a look-see!!
Wolfie had a sore lug, so after the meeting I was dropped off in Oban (many thanks Fi) to pick up some medication from Ferguson & Bonniwell. Then I had to scurry back to the Taxi Rank to head back to the airport before Julie took me home to the wee island at the edge. Scurrying is not recommended in high heels, but we just made it, thanks to Bob from Argyll Taxi’s.
I also met up with Tom the Cream Bun’ (the fire crew at Colonsay Airport know who this character is and numerous yarns abound – some of which may be revealed a later date). Suffice to say, a really jovial fellow and nice t’-boot. He’s going to make wonderful things happen for the Airport Terminal and for wee companies like us. We have agreed on a retail area within Oban Airport and we’ll be working that up in the very near future.
My other job at the moment is sourcing products from other islands to populate the retail space, so anyone out there who can supply top-quality ‘island’ products then I’m looking for suppliers from Coll, Tiree, Islay and Jura and of course Colonsay. Contact me if you have products you wish to sell, there are customers waiting... This all adds potential value to crofting diversification and sustainable island living, without the need, I hope, of more crofts turning into housing estates and thus bringing to an end a hard earned tradition and lifestyle.
Once back at the Homestead after my jaunt to the mainland, it was all hands to the pumps as the wool from this years first clip of our Hebridean sheep arrived by air (thanks again Julie). I’ve polished my needles and sit in anticipation of a ‘knit fest’ into the wee small hours of the autumn and winter nights as I knit and we weave more products to supply local and mainland customers.
We have had visitors to the Homestead, and what an action packed visit it was.
Our guests, Mackerel Bob and Lock-Stock-and-Two-Smoking-Barrels, arrived on LOTI on Thursday. A quick turnaround and introduction to Wolfie and Sampster then off to the Pantry for lunch. Our guests said it was the best soup ever (well done again Gavalus Gavalar).
We returned to the Homestead as other island visitors arrived for coffee and a chat and then we headed off with the visitors and the dogs for a look-see at Kiloran Bay. What a wonderful sight. Visitors are always in ore at the view and who can blame them, though for us the real views and feelings of open spaces are when we trek out to Ardskenish and Balnahard for a good few hours – whatever the weather.
Thursday evening we sat and caught up with all the happenings in Blighty, softening the myriad of information and very distant memories of that place with copious quantities of wine – just what Kapitein needed...
A late night on Thursday followed by an early morning on Friday with plans to go fishing...  Mackerel Bob caught a few as he reminisced about being a boy and fishing from the pier and Lock-Stock-and-Two-Smoking-Barrels caught a few too. We sped along the high seas showing them various points of interest around the island shores, including a run down to Oransay and close encounters with 20+ seals.
After an exciting day on the high seas we had a restful evening in preparation for Saturday. It was a nice fine day and we headed to Machrins for a shoot which had been organised for Kenny the Stag from Coll and his merry band of Coll Cowboys and their very assorted selection of sporrans. The Coll Cowboys had arrived under cover of darkness the previous evening and camped out on the point. As they emerged from their camp and charged over the hill it was like a scene from Braveheart – so many kilts just flapping around in the wind, exposing hairy legs, boots and stirrups!!! OOOh...the Coll Cowboys had arrived!! 
Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

Lock-Stock-and-Two-Smoking-Barrels stepped up to the peg and shot off several rounds to get things warmed up and, after letting both barrels go (trade mark of course) at one clay, she quickly recovered and took the right of a double rise.

Kenny - The Stag

Some of the boys...
A Ye-Ha from the Coll Cowboys and a cheer from the Colonsay Boys went up. Mackerel Bob looked good at the peg but methinks a boat rod rather than a 12-bore are more suited for him.
Bazil The Brush, The Matador and Kapitein did well too, but, hat’s off to the lads from Coll, they are indeed fine shots.
Kenny the Stag and the Coll Cowboys were due to leave Colonsay later that day and head for Iona. We headed for the harbour at around 4pm to see their boat arriving and take them on further adventures to the north-west before returning them on Sunday to the wee island from whence they came. Good luck to Kenny the Stag and the future Mrs Kenny and hope to see ya’all back on the Island at the Edge soon. I can also report the reassuring news that the headcount departing the island matched the headcount on arrival.
Mind you, there was a wee bit of mischief as the boys embarked for Iona!! A local boat berthed in the harbour had a flag exchanged for one of the party’s T shirts. But the culprit is happy to return the flag... and can be found on Coll....

Back to the Homestead for a well earned rest, fresh mackerel for lunch, and an evening at the Pantry to look forward to. A theme night had been organised by Gavalus Gavalar, as is usual for the last Saturday of each month, and this time it was a delicious Chinese evening. The food was excellent and the other guests at the table thoroughly enjoyed the evening as well. Our table won the prize for being the most disruptive, disruptive indeed!! Not us... but sugar lollies were handed out – methinks to keep us quiet!!
With a tasty Chinese meal behind us we head off to the last Ceilidh of the season. Lock-Stock-and-Two-Smoking-Barrels was up dancing too – she thoroughly enjoyed it and in between all of the dances we also listened to a rendition of a KnockKnee Ballard all the way from the capital of England. It was rather different to the norm to say the least!!
The evening was brilliant, a perfect end to a perfect day...
Rumour has it there was a party somewhere on the island for the young ones after the Ceilidh and, apparently, there was a happening with Danger Mouse, the Lonely Shepherd!! It seems he decided to visit the toilet and fell into the bath, naked, and was unable to extract himself from the situation due to a very unusual condition for him that had affected his powers of coordination. Whilst in the compromised position it is understood that some of the revellers had discovered a new way of parking one of Archie the Magnificent’s (ATM’s) hire bikes. After the idea had been worked up and refined it is understood, though not confirmed as yet, that it was presented to ATM and further rumour has it that ATM is now considering hiring Danger Mouse for the 2012 season as an added-value service down at The Strand for those crossing to Oransay. Visitor’s beware. However, in the meantime fleeting glimpses of Danger Mouse have been recorded of him riding the range and rounding up sheep so no permanent harm appears to have been inflicted!!!
Kapitein is selling MV Baywatch L and is looking for a larger coded boat Jfor a variety of activities around the islands and beyond. I’ve caught him salivating over pictures on the Internet of bow thrusters, wheel houses, cargo holds and landing craft front flaps (or ramps as he calls them)!! Oh the joys of living with a Mariner!!
Stop Press...
We dispatched four and a half lambs off our island on Thursday morning via Hebridean Air. Three and a half were bound for England and were collected by TNT and delivered to our customers by 9am the very next morning. Another fantastic job well done. The other lamb was delivered in person by Julie Angell (pilot, courier driver, boat-woman and generally a thoroughly nice person) to a rather plush hotel near Oban for guests there to enjoy The Real Taste of Colonsay.
Saturday has since arrived and off now to the Root & Produce Show to see if we have won any prizes. Reports to follow......

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