Friday, 18 January 2013

Day 18 - Anyone for 'Outside boot camp?'

Friday 18th January

I know you will all be hoping for pictures of me sledging but I am sorry to disappoint you. We had about 6 flakes this morning and I wasn't truly convinced that was enough to sledge. Our collie, Rex, seemed to capture those in his coat anyway. I am trying my best not to sulk as I watch more and more pictures of snow fun appearing on facebook. Our share is currently sitting up in the clouds and I am contemplating how we might achieve cloud burst.....

Those of you who follow the blog will be pleased to hear that news of our lovely island is spreading so the blog is working. I am now writing for a wider blog Island Blogging and I am one of only two voices to come out of Arran. My blog is under Arran and called Scottishisland. It is a fascinating site where you can find out about life on the other islands. I expect some of them have snow! My writing for this new blog will be far less frequent and this one will continue to give daily bursts. I have just breached the 900 page views mark so not bad for a little lady on a small island. I know a lot of you are sharing the blog on your social media sites so thank you so much. Too many sos.

Today has seen home school do what it often does; go a little off course. The trouble with encouraging questions is that sometimes they come thick and fast and force us off course. No worries as this is all part of the fun. We are just looking at a bit of post war history of some of the cities in Europe to give the EU a context and we focused on Berlin. Max then becomes fascinated about the context of the Berlin wall and wants more information on the Cold War. I am going to run with that for a while before pulling us back on track. I think we have to be prepared to do that to ensure their interests are met. If they stay interested that is half the battle. Max is the only child who has never been to school. I can remember picking the other three up and asking them if they had had a good day and what they had been up to. The response was always the same 'it was ok and I can't remember what we did'. There, in a nutshell, was my rationale for homeschool. I wanted the children to learn to love learning and to get passionate about stuff! I always wanted them to be able to work towards those interests and at their own pace. I think we have achieved that along the way and even today Max was telling Hamish and my mother about the Berlin wall. Loved it.

Friday, on the island, is newspaper day as the local paper is published. There is a link in the sidebar if you are interested. So what is hot news this week? Sadly, the lead article is full of doom and gloom as it relays the results of an island wide survey of how island businesses have done in 2012. It does not make good reading and blames the fall in visitor numbers on things like cost of ferry travel, cost of fuel on the island (which is just silly prices) and the poor quality of the roads. All of which is true but I do believe the poor weather in the summer will not have helped. Arran is not such an attractive prospect in the pouring rain that goes on for days at a time.

Regardless, we are a holiday island and will remain so, I am sure. I know of some real success stories on the island and some of them are quite new businesses which is really encouraging. I take my blogging very seriously and if this place can help local business shine brightly then that is what it will do. I am putting together a list of guest blogs written by some of these people and I know you will enjoy hearing about all they do. Where they have web links they will also be included and I do hope you might find time to visit the links to see what they are all about. I am not, however, denying that it is a very difficult time to be in business and I do wish all Arran businesses the very best for 2013.

What else is featured in the Banner? There is a large caravan and a wooden chalet free to uplifters so I have put Pete onto those.....we shall see! I think I was a bit too slow getting to the Banner today. I always enjoy looking at the What's On section because it gives a real flavour of Arran life. Can I tempt you with Aqua Fizz or Zumba? No? What about Outside bootcamp at 6am in the morning? Still no? Well then it will have to be trout fishing sprinkled with a 'breathe walk class'. Now we have your leisure and fitness sorted you can attend the Burns supper and lunch club. Good.

At this time of the year islanders begin to study the jobs page and it is a little on the lean side at the moment and, of course, there lies one of the issues about living on Arran. Work can be quite seasonal and if you are not to starve in the winter months you need to keep many fingers in many pies. That can be a positive though if you are like me and need a bit of variety in your life.

This week on Hazelbank we have seen the old raspberry canes out and the ground prepared for the willow cuttings, seaweed lifted from the beach and put on our vegetable beds (liquid gold as it rots down) and a very satifying bonfire to get rid of old wood that can't be burnt on the sitting room fire. Of course, we have the first of the seeds sown as well and many more ordered. It is a quiet time of the year but there are always repairs to the house and two cottages to keep us busy. January is when I plan and those of you who know me know that I am a bit of a planner. I confess to being a little obsessed with the moon cycle when it comes to planning what to do when. With a full moon due around the 27th January I am deep into my project planning in all aspects of my life. I was born on a full moon so that is when I am at my best. I got into moon planning through a friend and I admit to being a little sceptical at first. But then it hit me that if the moon can control the tides what else can it do? I grow using the lunar cycle and have more success this way except for last summer when the slugs won. There are lots of web sites where you can check which moon you were born on and what that says about you. Quite a good read if you are currently snowed in.

I am watching our new kitten trashing my desk in the studio so must stop and attend. It is Friday and that is a special day of the week for me. It is also the weekend tomorrow but there will be no let up on the blogging front. Every day for a year means just that. Do drop me a comment if you like and I will always do my best to reply unless it is about how lovely your snow is because I will just sulk quietly about that. Until tomorrow....xx
Picture is of the steps that lead up to Glen Ashdale. They may not look that steep but I can guarantee a raise in heart beat.

Worth is though when you get to the top - see second picture. x