Another beautiful day on the island just to let you know that we do get two in a row from time to time. One of the things I love about living on a Scottish island is the clean air. I love to think that my children are breathing in clean air and I never take that for granted. At night the sounds from the open window are from nature with the odd tweet from a bird, the noise of the weather and, gloriously, the sound of the sea. When I am away from the island it is that symphony of sounds I miss the most and I feel strangely out of touch with nature.
We have been able to spend lots of time studying the seasons in home school and we have all grown to love the changes. We all have our favourites but we can, at least appreciate what other members of the family see. I love winter but I am alone in that within my family. For me winter gives me the beach with no one else on it and that can not be beaten. Todays walk was fully of company but not of the human kind. There were birds everywhere and they too seemed to be making the most of the lower tides. I interrupted an Oyster Catcher foraging and it 'toddled' off as they do. Once I had walked on a bit and turned to see that he was back and he was. Whiting Bay beach is home to some truly majestic swans and last season we had a mum and dad who had 7 signets. It caused great excitement and lots of photo opportunities. Sadly they lost two but five survived and they spent the summer and autumn swimming up and down with mum at the front and dad taking up the rear. It was a truly magical sight. But my personal favourite piece of shore wildlife is the white goose that has arrived the past two seasons all by itself. Two years ago I watched over a series of weeks as the goose attemtped to befriend the swans. Swans can be quite aggressive so I wasn't that hopeful but I was delighted when I could see progress being made. Last season goosey was back and one day a dog got a bit too close to the signets and goosey went for it. Fabulous stuff.
Today has been a good day with lots done. Pete took a session with the boys learning about the flu virus. Anything science and Max is immediately hooked. George is still a bit poorly so he was a bit more passive but Max loved it. Where we can we take opportunities to teach about things that are going on in our lives or the world. We have all been so ill and had such a mix of symptons that it seemed senisble to do a session on the flu virus and I think we all learned something from it. Molly's Statistic exam went well and that is her done now so she can relax a bit until the new term starts on Monday. This term she will be studying an optional module on legal issues in conservation and this is one of her favourite areas. She took English right through to A level so she is a good writer and she is a natural campaigner. She can be very persausive.
I discovered that hoovers and little kittens don't go that well together but it is a necessary evil so she will have to get used to it. She hid so well it took four of us to find her! She is settling in well, although the neigbours cat Minnie needed a few stern words last night. The problem is that little Mimi refuses to be submissive. I like that about her but Minnie clearly doesn't. So they are now in totally different parts of the house and Minnie is sulking a bit. Life is a bitch....
From time to time we see men and women walking around the island in orange robes and with shaved heads. Buddhist monks and nuns are a regular feature on the island as we have a male retreat on the island and a female one on the neighbouring Holy Isle. I have attached a link to the Holy Isle web site in case you are interested. I see the presence of these people as a blessing and I always feel an enormous sense of calm when I see them. I have been interested in Buddhism for many years and last year I began studying with the Samye Ling centre which is on the mainland. It is not an easy religion to understand and it has its challenges but, on the whole, the course has taught me a great deal about concepts such as compassion and happiness. I think we are perhaps all guilty to some degree of relying on others to bring us happiness and this course has taught me to take responsibility for my own happiness. It has also taught me the importance of compassion which we would probably all agree can be lacking in the world. Buddhism is a pathway rather than a religion and I like that about it. It is a journey that we can choose to walk in order to reach a better understanding of ourselves and others, but also to be a better person. Whenever I see one of those people in an orange robe they always greet me and, most importantly, they always give me a smile. Perhaps there is not enough smiling in the world? I am a very driven person who is always looking for the next challenge but I fear that I sometimes miss things in life. I was glad I turned round to see the Oyster Catcher back where he wanted to be and on the way back I took a much wider route so as not to disturb him. Have a lovely evening. xx