Monthly Archives: October 2012

Our W.Cooper Iron Building….

This wee tin shed became ours last summer – I used to look out of our kitchen window longingly, with the hope that one day it would be ours…..and then one day it was.

We have battled the wood worm on the interior and have found a paint to match the powder blue so that we can smarten up and preserve the exterior – keeping it going for another 100 years. The building is spacious, divided in two with an interior connecting door, and ancient steps to a half loft. The left hand side is a workshop and the right side was once the milking shed.

Our wonderful neighbour who was born in Nedd in 1925 always remembers the ‘blue sheds’ – I have a photo of Nedd dated 1935 which I’ve (badly) scanned – you can see the roof of the shed in the bottom right hand corner (our house is just behind the shed with the old car parked to the side), I also have a photo of the original owner Murdo and his daughter Mary, who milked the cow each day to make crowdie & cream….I’ll find it and scan it too.

We believe the sheds were sent ‘flat pack’ by rail from London to Lairg, and then on to Nedd by road.

I’ve also included a couple of photo’s of our battered old copy of an original W.Cooper catalogue.

You can find wonderful reprints of these W.Cooper catalogues through http://Shelterpub.com along with the amazing Mr Lloyd Kahn’s other incredible books.

If you are interested in the history of Sutherland (the remote top left hand corner of the Highlands of Scotland) you would get a lot from ‘Memories of North & West Sutherland’ by Christopher J Uncles, it is packed full of great photo’s and tales of daring do, the men & women, the mail coaches and supply ships that fed and connected these remote crofting townships. Published by Stenlake http://www.stenlake.co.uk

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Some of Pete’s photographs…

Just because I love Pete’s photography – he has an eye for beauty in everything….

 


Market Street Collective Photo’s

Well as promised I finally got round to taking some shots of the Market Street Collective’s selling gallery. As I said before the more you look the more you see (and the more you want to take home….). I love everything,  but have focused my lens on Meryl’s rainbow felts, Alan’s rich and beautiful weaves and Charlotte’s stunning silver.

Other news – the weather has turned unseasonably cold here on the West Coast, there’s snow on the mountains – so it’s time to think about winter tyres and filling the cupboards and animal feed bins….

Alan Bush (the weaver of Scoraig) has an interesting blog & links – http://scorraigweave.com

We lived on Scoraig for nearly five years it is a wonderful wild place accessible only by 4 mile footpath, or by boat across an open sea loch, we built a geodesic turf roofed dome home,  living in a yurt for 18 months during the build – but that  is a whole different story!


Work For Sale – Market Street Collective Ullapool

We have been invited to sell our work at the Market Street Collective, the permanent selling gallery located in An Talla Solais, Ullapool. It is very flattering to be asked to display my work along-side a group of such talented Highland artists and makers.

The Market Street Collective is open 7 days a week offering beautiful things for sale……..from fine art and limited edition prints to jewellery, felts and woollens, ceramics, cards and delicious tweed clothed soaps YUM….

So there is no excuse not to visit if you find yourself in Ullapool

I’ll upload some photo’s of the work on display later in the week in the mean time have a look at the following –

Check out – http://antallasolais.org

Check out what else is on in Ullapool, there is always something amazing happening! – http://ullapool.com

See my next blog for more photo’s….


The Way We Live Now

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It is very, very hard to explain how we live. How different it is and yet how normal, not exceptional, not simple – just a choice.

My husband and I had good jobs and a small mortgage on a smart suburban terrace in England.

We gave it all up in 2004 and moved to the Highlands – first to a remote peninsular accessible only by boat or 5 mile footpath, where we lived in a yurt whilst building a roundhouse, a 24 foot diameter geodesic turf roof home. In 2009 we moved further North to Assynt where we bought an old croft house and garden ground, and have set about making a home, opening the chimneys, installing wood burners, planting the garden, decorating.

We are two and a half hours drive from Inverness, our nearest city (so a 5 hour round trip) – we go only when we have to, perhaps three or four times a year. We have two dogs and choose not to leave them for more than 4 hours, so journeys to Inverness are problematic and involve time and planning especially if we want to travel together.

Our nearest small supermarket is a one hour drive away in Ullapool, we tend to make the run down once a week, grab a few things and head home.

For a larger selection of shops there is Dingwall a two hour drive away, we go three or four times a year and usually tie the trip in with a visit to the vets, opticians etc. We run two freezers, and they are usually full after a trip to Dingwall…..

Locally in Drumbeg there is a small village shop and a hotel – 40 minutes drive south is Lochinver with a medical center, primary school and small village services.

There is no bus to our hamlet of Nedd, the nearest train station is two hours away. The B869, known as the ‘mad wee road’ is single track, and in parts resembles a roller coaster, you can’t just nip out to the shops or the cinema or for a meal. And in the winter when the snow is bad you can’t nip anywhere…..

When folk come to visit us it is hard to explain that the landscape, sea, wildlife and our company are the only things that will entertain them. And they need their own transport!

We are both self employed, so time off = NO MONEY….. Again this is hard to explain when people come to visit, we can’t offer them all the time we would like to, & we can’t always finance a fine dinner out. We work hard, we grow as much of our own fruit and veg as we can. We have a short but good (long northern days) growing season, we pickle and preserve & keep chickens. We know all our neighbours, and are grateful for them…

We earn a fraction of what we used to in our urban existence, but it is enough to get by on – and our quality of life is so much higher.

Our mobile-phone is 10 years old (our network has no reception in Nedd) and our cars are always second hand. Our not so broadband is half a meg, there are power cuts (which we think are fun…good excuse to light the paraffin lamps & play jenga)

We have to save up if we need to pay for or buy something big, so we work extra hours etc.

Some people don’t understand why we live like we do, but the rat race did not suit us and we decided to do something about it. It is not for everyone – and we are not better than anyone else for choosing this life.

We are very happy though – and not many people in my experience can say that.