Sunday, 18 September 2011

Peaks and troughs and recycling.

Friday, as you might imagine, was an epic day with the announcement that we had won the UK RSPB Nature of Farming Awards. But by evening, we were down to earth with a bump and a thump.

Farmer left first thing on Friday morning to catch the 8.45 ferry to Oban in order to go to his pre operation medical check up at the Southern General in Glasgow. We were assured this could not be done by the very capable team at our local surgery in Tobermory, as he needed to meet the surgeon and have his operation procedure explained to him.

Hospital transport picked him up on the pier and delivered him to the hospital - it was arranged that he would be through with his check up by 2pm in order to get back to Oban for the 6pm boat home. Someone took 75ml of blood. They paged the doctor but no one came. They offered him lunch and cups of tea. They sent him home at 2pm. He had not seen the surgeon nor had the procedure explained nor signed the Consent Form. A race to Oban with 2 other patients was exciting (to say the least) and they arrived in Oban at 5.56 - which would usually be too late for the 6pm ferry as foot passengers must be ready to board 15 minutes before departure time.

When Farmer was half way between Glasgow and Oban I picked up a phone message from the Consultant who regretted that he had not seen Somerset that afternoon, and regretted further that he had to cancel Somerset's operation (due for Monday) as there was illness in the theatre staff. Bump. At this point I realised just how much energy we had invested in the operation being done this coming Monday, and how gutting it was that it had been postponed.

Somerset had no idea at this time about the cancellation, and luckily for him, the ferry was late and they were allowed on. Not so lucky when he tried to start the car at Ulva Ferry (when he stopped to pick up Daughter from an after school friend visit) the car would not start -at all. That was the second bump. But kind family lent him their car and so they did get home eventually.

Meanwhile at Treshnish, I was showing in the Treshnish guests. And all of them were a little cold. As the heating in our house has not been connected to the centralised wood chip boiler yet, I had no way of knowing that something was amiss. We have a warning light outside the Heating Station but that was not warning!

Investigation showed the boiler itself full of hot water but the system was cold. I guessed pump. Panicked. Phoned the Plumber. Emergency heaters for the guests and fingers crossed. He was here within an hour and a half - and on a Friday evening too. The fantastic Plumber (hope he reads this, but doubt he will) was confident. One thump. Nothing. Another. Slight noise.. another thump....action. Now I know. If the pump isn't working - thump it. (And the next day I had to do just that, as it stuck again!) Within half an hour everyone was warm and cosy. (and we have a new pump on order).

So from the dizzy heights of winning the Award to the reality of every day life - in one short day.

Today. Sunday. Sunshine. Warm. Walk. Sitheans. Heather. Dragonflies. Sunspots on the lochan. Late flowering Bog Asphodel. Looking at the view. Ling. Warning red fungi. Ewes watching. Dog watching.

And the worrying news that Proven (who made our turbine) have gone into Receivership.

Ever since we had to put in a new water tank, we have been worrying about how to insulated it so that it doesn't freeze. Finally Farmer hit on the solution - having seen the pile of tyres outside the garage in Tobermory. He is going to surround the tank in a wall of earth filled tyres! Brilliant! Recycling at its best - and no materials cost for us! All we need to make is a removable lid.

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