Friday, 19 July 2013

Day 200 - wickedness and obviously lots of it.....xx

Friday 19th July

Quite rightly the sun shone on my 200th day of writing this little blog.  Some of you have been with me every step of the way and I am deeply touched.  All of you have made the difference between a chore and a real joy and I will always be grateful.  Every day I have some brief moments when I can sit and reflect on my day and that has made a huge difference to my life.  I have learnt to say it as it is and not hide been hidden meanings and obscure interpretations.  I have learnt a lot about writing and even more about the power of honest communication.  I hope, in return, I have provided some 'giggle' moments and some moments of careful reflection.  I also hope that I have shared bits of my life that might be interesting to others.  As with any project the results should speak for themselves and 20,000 page views speaks volumes to me.  We may just have stumbled across something quite special and I am sure, whatever becomes of this project at the end of the year, Scottish island mum has a very bright future. 

I have been driven inside by the heat today which is probably just as well as it rather forces me to focus.  My proposal for the residency has been submitted and I lost count of how many hours that took to write.  I wasn't even sure what one of these things looked like before I began but I am pleased with what I produced in the end.  I think I have done justice to myself and the project and, at this stage, I think that is all that is important.  Of course, I would love to get the residency but the competition will be too tough this time round.  I do hope to see what the selected artist does with the residency and maybe pick up some tips then as well.  I will pursue other residencies and hope that I might be successful within a couple of years and, of course, I do have my writing retreat on the Isle of Lewis to look forward to.  One step at a time. 

First thing I was out cutting flowers and herbs for yet more bouquets for the shop in the village.  I am thrilled that the 'dipping of the toe in the cut flower market' has gone so well.  Working with flowers is one of my favourite occupations so I think the future will be really exciting.  I have promised myself that I will get back into weddings when all the flowers can come from our smallholding as this should create a unique service on the island.  I am thinking that next spring will be very busy indeed but that we will reap the rewards for that effort next season.

 I did promise to update you on my slight deviation on sweet pea variety this year.  I always grow the traditional Spencer variety because the fragrance is so strong but this year I also tried the Mammoth variety.  I can report that both have grown very well in the tunnel and there is not much difference in size or scent of the blooms.  However, the Mammoth variety has excellent stem length and, therefore, makes a really good cut flower.  I would recommend giving it a try next year.  You can sow sweet pea seeds in the autumn but I never get round to it.  I do, however, sow my seeds in February and it gives them a great head start on the season.  The more you cut early blooms the longer the season will last. 

I am also really pleased with my snapdragons this year but have learnt the lesson of not planting them next to something much taller than them.  This stops them reaching their full height and you will need them to do that to be useful cut flowers.  My stocks are filling out nicely and it is worth waiting for them to do that so that you encourage multiple blooms.  I am just about to start a mood board for my next year crops so I will try and share that with you over the coming days. 

The rest of the day has been spent finishing everything I have made for my craft events thus far and completing a customer order.  I have now hand painted three velvet cushions for my lovely customer and I do hope she will be pleased.  Finishing is so important in craft and so my velvet make up bags got their beads today and my herbal products got their ribbons and labels. 

Our best seller every year is our humble dream pillow so they are all done and boxed up ready.  Another popular product is our herbal soother which contains lavender and flaxseeds.  Ours are far superior to those awful wheat bags that are out there.  They are prone to burning in the microwave and then smell just awful.  Flaxseed does not break down like wheat does and so is far better for us.  Our soothers can also be placed in a plastic bag and put in the fridge - pretty useful for cooling us all down at the moment. 

Questions are starting to come in about the Isle of Eigg and the most popular is 'how do people make a living on the island?'  It is something that interests me and I know about some people but, by no means, all of them so I will be gently probing.  There is plenty of time to email me with questions so just message me anytime.  I need to be fit and well to do this trip as Molly has warned me that it is a bit of a slog.  I am struggling with numbness in both legs at the moment which is a result of the heat.  Fibromyalgia and heat don't work very well together.  It is like carrying two dead weights around with me and makes movement very tiring.  So, I could just do with the temperature dropping a couple of degrees because you know I am going to Eigg come what may.  I leave the island a week today to get as far as Glasgow.  My train to Mallaig leaves early on the Saturday and I should be on the island later that afternoon.  Molly is doing my shopping for me and meeting me at the ferry.  How excited am I? If you haven't had time to catch up with Molly's blog it is so worth a read.  Having to leave on the Friday means that I will miss our annual tug of war and tractor pulling competitions.  Of course I don't do them but Harry does so there will need to be photos.  In fact it is our fun week starting tomorrow with our fun day.  Sadly, we won't be going as we have guests departing and arriving at our two holiday houses that we manage.  No rest for the wicked.  I must be pretty wicked then....

Until tomorrow.  xx