gallery, cafe & apartment

Happy anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of our taking possession of The Old Byre – the official start of our time on Skye.  It was a day not unlike today; cool, dry (thank goodness!), mainly cloudy.

A time for reflections...

A time for reflections… [The Storr, from Loch Fada, shortly after sunrise on Monday]

So how to summarise the first year?  Well, read the rest of the blog – I wasn’t just talking to myself you know! But here’s how things stand now.

We had hoped to have the apartment ready for the back-end of the 2012 summer season, but that didn’t happen until October.  But we’re pleased with the results, and bookings are coming on – May is completely booked-out already.  We had hoped to have the cafe/gallery open just after Easter so we could start at a quiet time and grow into it.  Now we’re probably looking at around June.  If we can achieve that we would not only hit the high season, but also hit the ground running (running (running all over the place).

There are still things in boxes, mainly the nine boxes of books under the stairs – at some point we’ll get around to putting up shelves or units there.  As it’s clear that I won’t have working space (only storage) in the gallery I need to do a proper conversion of the spare bedroom into a working studio, which means the bed will have to go and I’ll build a larger workbench (I’ll have plenty of spare wood out of the garage!)  As the garage has had to be emptied, chiefly into a shipping container in Portree and the recycling centre, I’ll be putting up a new shed in the back garden.  It’s just arrived so I’m sure it will get its own blog post sometime!  There’s new vegetable beds to be dug this spring, and hopefully the polytunnel will go up this summer.  I haven’t yet got out as much as I had hoped, but that’s all part of getting used to living somewhere new, with a complete change of lifestyle, and all the practical setting up to do.  There’s always something to be done somewhere inside or out, so I’m not sure how we will fit in work!

Most importantly, do we regret moving here?  Not for a moment.  People have been very welcoming and we have made good friends.  We know our neighbors better than we did in 17 years together in London (and even longer in Claire’s case).  It is a joy to watch the cats chasing each other across the croft land, hunting, and just enjoying life.  I will never tire of the changing light on the loch or looking across to the Cuillins (when the cloud allows).  Heather beats concrete; rock pools trump puddles on the pavement; and the daily commute is the walk across to the garage.  Think of that next time you descend to your tube train or sit in a traffic jam…

Currently listening to: Affric – Duncan Chisholm.  Divine Scottish fiddle playing – traditional with a contemporary twist.


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2 thoughts on “Happy anniversary

  1. Can’t believe it’s been a year – so pleased it is working out well for you both. Would love to come and visit when all is up and running!

  2. It has been interesting following your progress.

    I am facing similar things trying to set-up home, baby rearing, finding work (trying to set up business venture here too) and other complications of settling in to another country.

    You know one of the interpretations of Robinson Crusoe is that it about a man stranded in an culture/people he doesn’t understand – this makes sense when you realise that one of the inspirations for the story could have come from the accounts of Robert Knox who was kept a prisoner the king of Kandy (Sri Lanka) around the mid 1600s.

    Because of the lack of time and the amount of things to do I do feel a little stranded sometimes, in a culture familiar yet strange as I haven’t really taken part in it for 30 years!

    Thank you for you great posts, I take a lot of inspiration and solace from them!

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