Tuesday 29th January
Almost at the end of my first full month of blogging and now pushed through 1,500 page views so I am really pleased. I have a growing following in the Far East which makes me smile as it is a million miles away from our little island. When I started this blog I had no idea what it would lead to but it is slowly taking over my life. Opportunities are opening up on almost a daily basis and I have quite decided that I love blogging. I have already converted my brain to a blogging brain and it will stay like that for the duration of the project. I heard today that my little blog has been nominated for a 'good blogging' award. I don't expect to win anything but the fact that I have been nominated is good enough for me. I will, of course, keep you updated on that.
I should have gone to the wonderful Auchrannie Spa Resort today and had a swim in their fabulous pool. I decided to paint the inside of my new studio instead with the help of George and Max. It is a wet and windy day on the island and there is a distinct lack of light. I am not sure I like these grey days and a swim would have done me some good. The hurdle is one of taking my clothes off. In the winter I find it more difficult to motivate myself to enter the changing rooms and put on my swimming costume. It is a pathetic excuse as the changing rooms are always warm and after the swim the reward is a lovely coffee in the bar. My mother manages to do it and it is time I got with the programme again. It will also give me the opportunity to tell you more about the spa so I need to stop stacking up excuses and just get on with it.
However, I have painted the inside of my studio but also discovered water getting in from the new roof. I broke that news to Pete earlier and he was, as you would expect, delighted! We have problems with roofs on Hazelbank and are about to tackle a major repair of a flat section on the main house. The covering for that is made of a rubber like material and should do the job well. Me thinks I will need to order a section for my little studio as well. The one thing you can guarantee on Arran is that you will get rain and lots of it. Keeping rain out of buildings is a constant battle and not our favourite topic on Hazelbank. Just when you have repaired one section you spring a leak somewhere else.
I heard about an fatal accident on the M3 this morning. A motorcyclist was killed as he collided with a lorry. Not really a fair contest. It brought back memories of a commute that I used to do up the M3 to my job at the university at Winchester. I hated every single journey and it didn't seem to matter when I took that journey because it was always busy. One morning I was going quite well in the middle lane when I heard a massive crunch and looked round to discover a lorry at driven right into the side of me. Within split seconds my car was knocked into the outside lane. Someone was looking down on me that day because the guy in the outside lane saw what was about to happen and slowed right up creating a space for me in his lane. I am not totally sure how I stayed on the road such was the impact. I got control of the car and drove it slowly shifting lanes until I could get on the hard shoulder only to watch the lorry sail past me. The guy in the outside lane was having none of the run away lorry and sped after him, pulling in front of him to force him onto the hard shoulder ahead of me.
A foreign driver emerged from the lorry cab full of apologies and I was grateful for the help of my little saviour as he searched through all the paperwork from the driver and noted down what I need for the insurance claim. I just stood there, fixed to the ground and tried to make sense of what had just happened. I kept looking at the size of the lorry and then the size of my car. That wasn't a fair contest either and, by rights, I probably shouldn't be here to tell the story.
Eventually I got back into my car which I could still drive despite a rather squashed side and drove to work. I was due at an early morning meeting but I phoned Pete to tell him I had been hit by a lorry before going to the meeting. I nursed my car home later and Pete just stared at it in not knowing how I had not been hurt.
I continued to drive up and down the M3 for some years after the accident and continued to hate every minute of it. How my life has changed now. There is one 'main' road around the island and a couple of much smaller ones across it. There are no motorways! There aren't even any roundabouts or traffic lights and absolutely no queues. My heart goes out to the familiy of the motorcylist at this incredibly sad time.
I will stick to my Arran roads. I don't drive on the mainland now as I have lost my confidence and I didn't much like it anyway. I take the train now and I am going to persuade the Scottish government to extend the new high speed railway network to Ardrossan. Then when I get off the ferry and onto the train I can be with my lovely friends down south in a heartbeat. Not a lorry in sight. George is making cake. Excellent xx
Picture is of fragments I found on the beach. Perfect!