HURRICANE BERTHA – WE SURVIVED!

More than 80mm of rain fell in 24hrs, mostly overnight Sunday, which is more than Nairn’s usual total for August! The bog below the holiday lodges was awash with water flowing over the top of both dams. I failed to get a photo as it was still raining when we rushed off to Inverness to buy a pump to dry out the flooded straw barn. By midday Monday the water level was well down so the photo op was missed. The sheep and cows looked bedraggled this morning, but they are all fine now. Here’s a roundup of local photos.

From BBC News - Dramatic scene near Nairn, but no pigs in the hole!

From BBC News – Dramatic scene near Nairn, but no pigs in the hole!

River Nairn at Merryton Bridge

River Nairn at Merryton Bridge

 

River Nairn on the right and look carefully to see the mushroom of silt washed into the sea.

River Nairn on the right and look carefully to see the mushroom of silt washed into the sea.

 

The pontoons in Nairn Harbour are almost at road level!

The pontoons in Nairn Harbour are almost at road level!

 

Back in the Hiddenglen Pip bounds in while Lexie hangs back. Wisdom comes with age!

Back in the Hiddenglen Pip bounds in while Lexie hangs back. Wisdom comes with age!

 

I love the understatement on this one from the BBC News - "The River Dulnain was affected by heavy rain."!!!

I love the understatement on this one from the BBC News – The River Dulnain was affected by heavy rain!!!



MRS TIGGYWINKLE

hedgehogs

‘The Long Walk’, this guy was out on a newly mown field in the middle of the day. The evening photo was taken earlier in the spring with an iPhone. Three fat babies and mum. Front view!

In the past we have seen a hedgehog now and again, probably not even every year, and that has been in the far corners of the fields. This summer a hedgehog has been ambling along the track by the holiday homes in broad daylight almost on a daily basis. I say ‘a hedgehog’, but I can’t tell one from another, so I must mark it with a dab of nail varnish to discover how many there are. What colour shall I use?

The other day we shifted the cover over the dung heap (it’s there to stop the rain leaching the nutrients out of the dung), and we found Mrs Tiggywinkle’s home with three fat babies! They must have enjoyed the warmth from the composting dung when they were little, but now they must be baking in the July sunshine. What great weather we’ve been having this year!

A smaller baby hedgehog has been seen several times by the caravan to the delight of the children. There must be another nest nearby. They should be great for reducing the slugs and snails in the garden.

JUNE IN THE HIGHLANDS

The long summer evenings in The Highlands come as a surprise to those who live in the southern half of the UK. Around midsummer the sun sets after 10:15pm and the sky says bright on cloudless nights. In Shetland they call this beautiful twilight ‘simmer dim’. These two photos were taken at 1:30am and 2:30am on different nights last week. I was out the first night because the silage wrapper (a machine that wraps plastic around grass bales to create anaerobic conditions where bacteria will produce lactic acid to preserve the grass – a bit like sauerkraut) had broken down and we had 135 bales starting to deteriorate. A local contractor kindly agreed to help out despite having his own clients booked in for the next day. He started at 11pm and finished at 3:30am! We are very grateful. The second night I was up at 2:30am to – well I will leave you to guess!

night sky

midsummer0229w

NEW HOLIDAY COTTAGE NEAR NAIRN

We bought Pisces caravan secondhand in 1992, and although it is still comfortable, we feel that it is coming to the end of its life as a holiday home at Hiddenglen. Demand has been strongest at the upper end of the market so we have started building a cottage with many genuine eco credentials to provide 5 star family accommodation to sleep 6 in 3 bedrooms, all ensuite.

To those who know us, the cottage is built into the south facing bank between Hazelwood, the turf roofed house, and our own home. At road level the cottage entrance is directly on to the first floor with all the living area and a master bedroom. Two more bedrooms and the utility room are below, built into the bank with only the southerly aspect exposed. More details will be posted soon, but for now here are a few photos.

Highland holiday cottage

The ground floor which is now mostly hidden

Stone walls

Faced with secondhand sandstone from a long abandoned Nairn quarry.

Scottish Country Dancers

Nairn Scottish Country Dance Club test out the “roof”, which will become the first floor when the upper walls are built!

BEWARE! Monsanto vs. Mother Earth

MonsantoMonsanto, a profit-hungry multinational biotech company, has found a way to exclusively ‘own’ something that freely belongs to us all — our food! They’re trying to patent away our everyday vegetables and fruits like cucumber, broccoli and melons, forcing growers to pay them and risk being sued if they don’t. They already own 49% of cauliflower varieties registered in the EU along with many other vegetables.

But we can stop them from buying up Mother Earth. Companies like Monsanto have found loopholes in European law to get away with this, so we just need to close them shut before they set a dangerous global precedent. The Avaaz community has shifted governments before, and we can do it again.

Many farmers and politicians are already against this — we just need to bring in people power to pressure these countries to keep Monsanto’s hands off our food. Sign now and share with everyone to help build the biggest food defense call ever:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/monsanto_vs_mother_earth_loc/?bUbLieb&v=23908

But luckily, the European Patent Office is controlled by 38 member states who, with one vote, can end dangerous patents on food that is bred using conventional methods. Even the European Parliament has issued a statement objecting to these kinds of destructive patents. Now, a massive wave of public outcry could push them to ban the patenting of our everyday food for good.

RECYCLING IN NAIRN

Nairn Recycling CentreWe are passionate about recycling. Having provided recycling containers for our self catering holiday cottages since we started in 1990 we have become experts on what is thrown away and by whom. There are no class or wealth correlations as to what people waste and whether they recycle, in fact wealthy professionals can be the worst recyclers. They are well educated and can understand the environmental impact and should do better!

We are next door to the Nairn Recycling Centre which is clean, tidy and well run. However the Highlands of Scotland are a long way from the factories able to process the useful stuff. My only complaints are:-

  • The Highland Council does not allow local reuse of stuff.
  • It is 3 miles from the centre of Nairn and quite a bit blows off trailers enroute! All these journeys must reduce the environmental benefits.

I leave you with one thought, “However big the pile of sugar, however small the teaspoon, the sugar always runs out one day!”