Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Neglecting the Patch

I started this blog back in August 2007. I knew I wouldn't be able to carry on living here much longer, despite the attractions, and I wanted to record the plants, the animals and the magic of the place.

Well, I've struggled on for 18 months but I know it's time to go now. Come the Spring I expect to be putting the house up for sale (then holding my breath and crossing my fingers for a nature lover with cash in their pocket). I have proved that I can do it, I've kept the grass cut (6 hours work every week in the growing season), I've just about (no I haven't really) kept on top of the housework but the fact remains that this is a family house and I ain't a family any more - apart from my demented little dog of course.

All this is by way of explanation, I suppose, for not posting since October. I have felt disconnected from the place. But now that I am almost certain to be moving by the summer, I really want to get the magic of the place on record, before it's too late.

It is possible that the disaffection these last few months has more to do with the time of year than anything else, of course. Daylight is beginning to return to the Highlands. At the end of the day we already have an hour more daylight and it is really making a difference. My energy is higher. I feel like a pony whose head has been down all winter but who is now noticing the sky and the mountains and the new growth. I'm even wondering whether I DO have a future here after all. But deep down I know it's time to go. I might come back in a few years but I need to find my own path.

Anyway, after that digression, back to the job in hand. Now that I am almost definitely sure that I will be moving on soon, I must share the pictures and observations I have made.

I thought I'd start with an icon of the Highlands - the passing place. I'm not sure if they are found elsewhere - they must be, I suppose - but they are all over the place up here. Off the main roads, many roads are single track (including, confusingly, some main roads!) There is an etiquette to using them which does not fit well with modern life - you drive slowly and you give way.

My house is a mile and a half up a single track road and that fact was nearly enough to stop us buying the house, as the Golfer thought I'd find driving it every day stressful (a tad patronising but that's what husbands are for.) So long as you obey the two maxims above, they are perfectly safe. They are a wonderful, obstinate, infuriating, enforced return to a slower time (and the signs look quite pretty too.)