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58 North 6 West, fourth week

November 11, 2013

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Clocks for time and tide on the kitchen wall.

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I was often on the beach with Magnus before the sun was up. This was taken at quarter past 9.

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An evening rainbow over Pabbay and Great Bernera.

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What a gem! This little book, well-thumbed and heavily annotated, lists names and numbers for each community in the Civil Parish of West Uig, with maps showing where the houses are: 19 houses in Breanish, seven in Islivig, 13 in Mangersta, six houses, a quarry and a distillery in Carnish, 16 houses in Ardroil, four at Uig Lodge (where Arthur Ransome wrote “Great Northern” in 1946), 13 houses and the community shop (which is also a post office, filling station, launderette and drinks-machine-cafe with a bring-and-swap library) in Timsgarry, 16 houses, primary school, Community Centre, Care Unit, Coastguard and “Wild West Foods Ltd” in Eireastadh, 10 houses in Crowlista, 26 houses and a restaurant in Aird, eight houses, a doctor’s surgery, a lighthouse and a sea-tour company in Miavaig, nine houses and an outdoor-sports centre (currently closed) in Cliff, 34 houses in Valtos/Bhaltos, 11 in Kneep, 17 in Reef, 10 in Uigen, 19 in Carishader, nine in Geshader, a kiosk and three houses, of which one is an excellent restaurant, in Lochcroistean, seven in Eneclete, five in Gisla, five in Kinlochroag, one at Morsgail and three at Scaliscro.  Considering that perhaps half the houses are occupied year-round, this is a very small population scattered over a vast area.  This parish had 2000 inhabitants at the time of the 1841 census. Even sixty years ago there were five primary schools; now only one.

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I didn’t make any books while I was away. I knitted for my grandson Leo, and made this tiny tapestry as a birthday card. It includes unravelled polypropylene rope and shells found on the beach, Harris tweed yarn, and bamboo-fibre leftovers from Leo’s jumper.

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This fabulous book is  resting on its own  tweed book-cushion. Gorgeous, glorious photography by Ian Lawson. You can flip through the pages here.

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Sleepless on our last night in Valtos, I listened to the sound of the sea and knew that would be what I’d miss most.

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On our last morning I went out to capture a few final memories.

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We arrived home very late at night on the 27th October. At 4 the next morning we were woken by a terrific storm. We learnt later that it had brought down a 150-year-old Tree of Heaven in the Bishop’s Palace, though on the whole our part of Somerset got off very lightly.

This was a very special holiday, and we are hugely grateful to Anne and Andrew who lent us their house and their adorable dog while they were in China, to ceramicist Christine-Ann Richards who put us in touch, to Robert who took us to Pabbay, and to Simant and Dizzy who showed us some wild and wonderful places.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2013 10:50 am

    I particularly like your tiny tapestry!

  2. November 12, 2013 10:57 am

    Thank you Jo. It was done on a bit of cardboard.

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