Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Coconuts and communities

The USCA Fete.

Setting up Saturday.

Open for business in the Tea Tent.

USCA information.

Scarecrows watch it all.

Car park nearly full.

More crows.

Showcasing local salmon and beef.

Tug of War.

Mr Froggle.

More tugs.

Farmer's Coconut Shy.

Looking down on the field.

USCA Tea Tent.

USCA Produce Table raised over £300.

Runners return from Dun Mor Hill Race.

Bert Leitch, and Ronnie Campbell (who travelled all the way from Bunessan to do the Auction).

Finally, the day we had been planning for months was here. Teams of people from within and outwith the small Ulva School community came together to prepare, cook, bake, build, transport, to do whatever needed doing. And on the day, hundreds of island folk and visitors came along to enjoy the day. The atmosphere was really special, the coming together of lots of people for a common cause. There were so many things going on throughout the afternoon and evening, I don't know where to begin. First ever 'Prattley Competition', Hill Run up Dun Mor, sheep shearing competition; Tug of War; demonstrations of Mull Cheese making, spinning, bodging, wood carving; scarecrow making competition; coconut shy; face painting; tapestry; so many teas and cakes served; poike pots cooking stews and curry; fish filleted and barbequed; and later on songs sung, and tunes danced as rain started to fall on the marquee rooves. And people began to feel tired.

Late the night before the Fete, I wrote a timeline to relate the sequence of events that led up to the formation of USCA. Looking back on the dark days of last autumn and winter when the school was under threat of closure brought back all the despair of that time, and to get to the present day to the place we are in now is such a delightful contrast. It only goes to show. When individuals come and work together, great and unexpected things can happen!

USCA is on facebook.

Life returns to normality. Farmer's back still a bit raw and no sign of an operation date yet. Cottages are busy and guests enjoying the good weather and wildlife.

The lovely blue of scabious.

Jan and Cap cool off. They have just moved the sheep out from the hill park back on to the hill.

Last week Iain Thomson (AKA The Singing Shepherd) came to our rescue to shear our sheep. A team gathered together by the Contractors had the whole flock sheared, fleeces rolled and bags sown up in one go. The atmosphere in the shed was calm as Iain and Jim quietly handled the ewes, slowly and steadily working their way through the pens and pens of waiting ewes. It is obviously back-breaking work but they worked through and got it all done. The 'sciatic Farmer' was banned from helping. We are very grateful to them all for their considerable help.

We are racing through the summer now. Looking at schools going back next week. Still time to vote in the RSPB Nature of Farming Awards.
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