Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween

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Ah yes, Halloween.  Last night, daughter Jenny made a pumpkin lantern.  Making Pumpkin lanterns is a fairly recent trend in the UK.  Like outdoor Christmas lights , yellow ribbons and the invasion of Iraq, we have imported this idea from America.   Anyway, this creation will be sitting in a window at the Scott residence tonight.

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During the process, Jenny was watched closely by her Familiar, Connie.

100_1704The finished masterpiece, in all its ghoulish glory.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Cheer up, it's Monday

Yesterday, the clocks went back (to GMT).  That means it gets brighter sooner in the mornings - for the moment anyway.  That should cheer us all up.

Again, yesterday I did something I'd never done before which was go out for a training run with someone else.  The 'someone else' was Fifi Munn.  Fifi started running about three months ago and is doing great.  We ran 3.2 miles at her pace.  We covered the distance in 35 minutes and fifteen seconds.  This works out to 11 minute per mile pace at an average speed of 5.45 mph.  Not slow!

There was a sale at the weekend but to be honest with you I don't understand the complexities of livestock sales.  I should have asked Fifi how the prices went but I forgot.

I'm still under doctor's orders, running with his blessing I have to say.  But I'm also trying to make myself useful in the house while not at work.  This morning I have done all the washing, hung it out, watched it get soaked again in a shower; I've mopped the kitchen floor, done the dishes, and I've vacuumed the sitting room.  I've partially prepared tonight's dinner - a chicken stir fry, I reckon - and that's that. 

As I pointed out to my daughter Jenny this morning, "I'm a man of the 90's."  She got the joke.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

HMS Sturdy

Yesterday, I received this message from my friend Michael Gibson:

H.M.S.Sturdy  Oct.30th 1940

The survivors and relatives of the crew of HMS "Sturdy" still remaining would  like to place on record their gratitude and thanks to the people of Tiree for the help , assistance and compassion shown and given to them in their hour of need. We also thank you for looking after those that sadly are left behind at Balemartine.

The Royal Navy remembers

To learn more, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Audio: Tiree featured on Lonely Planet Podcast

That's the Internet for you: this afternoon I got a message from Dennis, a fellow runner from Ohio, telling me that Tiree was featured on the latest Lonely Planet travel podcast.

This is a really nice show, brief but interesting.  If you would like to listen CLICK HERE.

I can't wait until the next time I meet up 'local hunk', Suds ...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Things to do on a slow day #52 and #53

#52: Jane's Nut, Mushroom and Tomato Bake

Recently, I began cooking.  By this I don't mean micro-waving fast food or even opening cans.  I mean cooking, taking raw food and making something of it.  To the amazement or my family and friends the stuff I've been making is edible and even tasty.

100_1666 I have the Samye-Ling cookbook to thank for this.  As this wonderful book is published by a Buddhist monastery it will come as no surprise that all the recipes are vegetarian.  The food is yummy, nevertheless, and my taste-buds are enjoying the novelty.

To tell you the truth, I find meal preparation incredibly relaxing, therapeutic, even. 

So, here's what the Scott family will be eating later on:

Jane's Nut, Mushroom and Tomato Bake.

Ingredients:

8 oz. wholemeal breadcrumbs; 8 0z. nuts (for today's meal I used mixed nuts); margarine (although I used a little olive oil instead); mixed herbs; 2 large onions; 1/2 - 3/4 lb. mushrooms; 1/2 lb fresh tomatoes.

Chop the nuts finely.  Fry them together with breadcrumbs in the margarine (or oil) until browned.  Add the herbs.  Separately fry the onions, mushrooms and tomatoes until soft.

Arrange alternate layers of mushroom mixture and nut mixture in a greased casserole dish, finishing with a layer of bread crumbs.

Bake in a moderate over for 1/2 hour.

I think there would be enough to serve 4 adults.

#53: Book tickets to see a nice men who has also shaved his head

Still on the Buddhist theme, it turns out the Dalai Lama is visiting Nottingham in May 2008.  So we have booked tickets to go hear him speak. 

A truly wonderful human being, the Dalai Lama never fails to inspire me with his unconditional love, compassion and message of peace. 

His hair is rather longer than mine at the moment, mind you.  I may have to have a word with him about this.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nessie Lives

100_1651-1 At last, irrefutable proof that the Loch Ness Monster exists.  I met Nessie on the banks of the River Ness after my recent participation in the Baxters Festival of Running.  Joanne commanded me to smile.

Last week the Tiree Wave Classic seemed a little stalled by the lack of wind.  Of course, the wind picked up almost as soon as the competition came to an end.  This morning, for instance, the wind is gusting to 37 miles per hour from the south.  And it's even howling.  Raining, too.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baxters Festival of Running/Car Crash

Some of you may know that I've not been all that well recently.  However, the advice from the doctor was to keep up my running.  It might even help to cheer me up.  Something to do with endorphins.100_1631

Last Saturday Joanne and I left the island and headed up to Inverness where I was to take part, the following day, in The Baxters Festival of Running 10k event.

Autumn.  Here on Tiree we don't really sense Autumn in the same way as people on the mainland.  I think it's because there are no trees on the island we don't see the leaves turning brown and gold.  So it was a delight to drive up the A82 on such a lovely sunny afternoon.  It made me feel mellow and relaxed.

We had booked ourselves a pitch for our tent at Bught Camping and Caravan Park,  immediately adjacent to Queens Park Stadium where the three events - 5k, 10k and Marathon - would finish.

It was strange being back in this particular campsite.  Joanne and I had last been here some 26 years ago!

An early night was followed by a fairly early rise on my part.  I wanted to get some nutrition and fluids in me in good time to feel the benefit.  The race started from the Royal Academy at 11:00.

It was a cold morning but by about 09:00 the sun was out and I was able to get out of the breeze in the back of our MPV.  As you can see from the photograph above I was doing my very best to get relaxed and focused before leaving for my run.

This is the 5th 'event' I've entered since taking up running for fitness, early in 2006.  But this was something different.  There were over 1,700 runners in my event alone!  After the run started it was difficult to pass slower runners and the narrow country lanes and roads which characterized the first two miles made it even more difficult.  However, passing people is not a thing I do a lot of in these things so it wasn't really a big issue for me!

I remained focused by listening to a strict 175 beats-per-minute soundtrack on my mp3 player.  Until the last mile, that is: I had set things up so that when the music had been playing for 55 minutes (when I would need inspiration) the theme from Rocky would come on.

As soon as it did my stride got longer and I ran past about ten fellow runners before I reigned myself in, reminding myself not to do anything stupid.

100_1634 By the time we entered the stadium for the short run to the finish line I was high as could be.  I sprinted to the finish passing another five people on the way. 

It was a great event and, true enough, I did feel the better for having done it.  I ran ever inch of the way and never felt in any distress or pain.

After the race Joanne and I came back to the campsite.  I went for a shower, we  took some pictures to record my completion of the run and went back round to stadium.  Then it was up to the city centre for some food, applauding the marathon runners who passed us on the way.

After another early night we woke up feeling refreshed and looking forward to the trip back to Oban.  I remember saying to Joanne that as we weren't in a  great hurry we would take our time, enjoy the scenery.

100_1652 About four miles south of Inverness I glanced into my rear view mirror and noted a white pick-up van overtaking me.  But there was something weird going on: there seemed to be another van overtaking the van overtaking me.

That was the last thing I was ever to see out of that mirror.

100_1654 The white pick up van had hit us broadside, badly damaging our MPV from rear  to front, driver's side.  It may be that the third vehicle forced the white van into us, I can't say.  All I know is that I was driving along at 40-45 mph on a clear road when the accident happened.

Joanne was upset but I felt strangely detached from the whole thing.  No one's  injured.  It's only a car, it will get repaired.100_1655

I nursed the car back to Oban and that's where it is at the moment, undergoing repair.

I didn't spend any time wishing this had never happened.  What was the point?  It did happen and nothing was going to undo it.  If we'd left the campsite 30 seconds earlier or 30 seconds later, who knows?

So, all in all, that was quite a weekend.  It was nice to be back in Inverness, particularly when the weather was so agreeable and I needed a 'tonic' in the form of a change of scenery.

Friday, October 05, 2007

World Wide Half Marathon

I hope to be taking part in this event on the 13th or 14th October.  Click here for the latest press release.  This tells you all about this global happening.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tiree Wave Classic

There must be some mistake.  It's the morning of the first day of the Tiree Wave Classic and it's actually windy out there.  Thank goodness.  I mean, is it just me or has the TWC been dogged by unnaturally calm weather for the past couple of years?

On the downside, it's a rather overcast morning and the forecast isn't really all that great for the rest of the day.

The TWC web site doesn't have anything new on it so far but I expect it will begin to be updated from today. 

This year there is no event village at Gott Bay.  Instead, the organisers have commandeered An Talla.

Click here to visit the event web site.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FEEDBACK: Old Wind Turbines and Itchy Cats

Great to hear from my old mate Mark Jennison.  A lot of you on Tiree will remember Mark as the leading light of Tiree Community Business and one of the main advocates of the proposed wind turbine at Ruaig.  Mark confessed to me today by email that he is a bit of a wind turbine 'nerd' and that my picture from Newtonmore (see post for September 29th 2007) really intrigued him.

Mark wrote, Looks to me like it's a Lucas Freelight wind turbine, built before the war to charge batteries. Apparently there were quite a few of them on Tiree at the same time. Alistair at An Iodhlan remembers them being on various crofts, used to power light bulbs inside. The blades were made of wood and apparently were quite noisy! Wonder if any are still lurking in old sheds?

Mark also sent me picture of another example from Orkney.  057 They used to carve their own blades, Mark continued, and there were obviously lots of different sizes made. The machine was probably the same, just small blades. My picture makes it look big, but it’s actually rather small.

Thank you so much Mark!

Now, as for my itchy cat (see post for September 27th 2007): Janis wrote suggesting we alter Connie's diet as she may be allergic to something she was eating.  A great suggestion, Janis.  We have tried this and so far no great success.  When we go to the mainland in a few days  we intend to visit the pet store in Oban to check out the availability of hype-allergic pet foods.

Janette suggested that pollen might be affecting Connie.  A friend had a cat which required brushing every time it came back into the house.  Now, this is strange because I started combing Connie on her return from the garden about two weeks ago - with some improvement in her agitation.  So I think Janette might have something here.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Poll Results

Here are the results of the poll which has been running on the blog for the past few weeks.  The question, you will recall, was which of the following activities would you like to see developed on Tiree? 

Guided Historical Walks

  23 (60%)

Guided Bicycle Tours

  16 (42%)

Guided Rambling

  15 (39%)

Family MPV Tours

  10 (26%)

Meditation and Relaxation Classes

  7 (18%)

Thirty-eight of you voted in the poll.  A big 'thank you' to all of you who took the time to participate.  Now to put this information to some use ...