Sunday, 27 January 2013

Day 27 - About to get battered.

Sunday 27th January

Today the island feels like it is getting ready for the storm that we all know is coming. The winds are already quite high and the sky has turned that grey colour that usually tells us trouble is on the horizon. We will get completely battered tomorrow and we know it! High winds are a significant feature of island living and I am guessing this would put some people off living here. For me, it is just part of island life but it is important to show mother nature some serious respect at such times. If we don’t want our bunnies to be blown away we are going to have to move them to the back of the house, out of the winds. Anything that can get blown about needs moving or anchoring down and then we just wait. The ferry will wait as well and people will scuttle into their homes to sit it out. My plan is to blog my way through it so look out tomorrow to see how we all get on.

George and Max are with Grannie and Hamish seeing Skyfall at the Screen Machine. This is a touring cinema which is essentially a lorry! It is a fabulous invention as it allows islanders and other remote communities to see films that they would otherwise not be able to view until the DVDs are released. Harry is out with his mates and Pete is at work. I have just finished my RSPB Garden Bird Watch for this year. It was easy as our garden birds appear to be fascinated by the seaweed covering our vegetable beds. I just sat and looked at the seaweed and sure enough they all came to say hello. A good variety came but I can’t help smiling when Mr Robin arrives because the rest of the birds all leave and fast. He is such a bully boy. The high winds have disturbed the birds and my count is down on last year but I am pleased with the variety of species. All I need to do now is enter the data online. I do hope some of you guys are managing to do your own bird watch as I know how much the RSPB relies on this data. If you want to see what birds visit our little island go to Arran Birding. Their photo gallery is a joy!

It is lovely to be back on Arran after our trip away but I did just want to say a little more about Scotland Street Museum which was home to the Beatrix Potter exhibition. Scotland Street School was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh between 1902-1906. It remained a school until 1979 but now, as a museum, it charts the development of education in Scotland. It just took us back to a different time in education. Both Pete and I were born in the 1960s and our schooling was represented in the museum. We recognized ways of teaching and learning. We were both fascinated by the black and white films of education post war. The faces of the children told a story of a different time in education. A time before computers and mobile phones and a time when teachers were considered as Gods! You could see the respect in the eyes of the children but, importantly, you could see the enthusiasm. Learning actively engaged them and I don’t think it occurred to them to see it any differently. That attitude is still evident in part today but a lot of it has been erased by elements like peer pressure, lack of respect for teachers and modern technology drawing their attention away. Young people of today are bombarded with stimuli and I really believe they don’t know how to concentrate on just one thing; the lesson being taught at the time. There was, of course, a lot to criticize about education in the 1950s and 1960s but I do feel we have lost something in the modern era. The museum building itself is a wonderful example of a school built in the early 20th century and by the great Charles Mackintosh. As you would expect the shape of the building is a work of art as are the windows. I am not sure why the building still smelt like a school though? If you get the chance to go it is worth a visit and the subway to Shields Road takes you right there. As you exit the station the museum is almost immediately opposite. The photograph shows the entrance and really took us back before we even stepped in the place.

Entry is free, although a donation of £3.00 is most welcome. There is a shop and a small cafĂ© and it is a well set up for families. As I said in yesterdays post I am writing a review of the Peter Rabbit exhibition so more on that another day.

I am deep into my research of the Isle of Eigg as this is where Molly will spend July this year. As a conservation volunteer she will learn all about the island. It is a fascinating place and I am hoping to go there in her final week to see the place for myself. Bought by the community in the late 1990s these islanders are really showing us the way to go. Self sufficiency isn’t something that refers to their food it also, crucially, refers to their various green energy projects. I will, of course, be featuring the achievements of the islanders in this blog and yes, they do have broadband!

In time I want to visit as many Scottish islands as I can and I am particularly drawn to ones that are smaller than Arran. I would love to visit the Orkney Isles as I understand their flora and fauna is spectacular. During the summer on Arran I am going to take you guys on a ‘walk on the wildside’ by taking you to see some of the spots where our wildlife can be seen. I actually began this last summer so I am already ahead and I will include these experiences in my postings as they become relevant.

I just must tell you that my sweet pea seeds are all through and this week will see the planting of tomato seeds and so we head towards another growing season. I am currently collecting tin cans to paint. I am going to paint these and plant them up with strawberry plants and hang them on my porch of my studio. Creative plans for the studio are continuing but, as yet, no name. I fear I am being too fussy on this. If you would like to get a sense of where my thinking is on the studio visit my Pinterest Board. I am off to do some much needed housework. Yes, even mums living on a Scottish island have to do housework. Xx
Picture is of a doorway into the formal gardens at Brodick Castle. It always makes me think of the Secret Garden. Maybe I will create one on Hazelbank....