I distinctly noticed a slight change in the air this morning and I think it means that Autumn is on its way. We escaped for a last-minute summer break to Scotland last week and I had a blissful time…this picture pretty much sums it up!
Relaxing by the loch, Highlands, Scotland
Normal service will now be resumed after a very busy summer so expect this little corner of the internet to be a lot more active from now on.
A few visual treats for you from Peter May and David Wilson’s beautiful Hebrides:
Hebrides by Peter May and David Wilson
I fell in love with the west coast of Scotland and its islands on my twenty-fifth birthday on a visit to Skye. Since then, I have visited Lewis and North Uist, Iona, Ullapool and Oban among others. This coffee-table book captures the beauty, wildness and majesty of the landscape of Lewis and Harris. It made me want to sell up immediately, buy a croft and a pack of dogs and live happily ever after! A pipe dream of course but one day perhaps!
Hebrides by Peter May and David Wilson
This picture book accompanies an excellent trilogy of crime novels by Peter May, all set on Lewis and Harris. I think I’ve said before that crime novels are not usually my favourites, but The Blackhouse and The Lewis Man in particular are exceptions. I was first introduced to Peter May by Cornflower and they are truly excellent crime novels and I thoroughly enjoyed them. The settings were also beautifully imagined in the novels and the images in Hebrides were the cherry on the top of this reading experience! If you love Scotland too, do check them out!
I thought I would share with you today a book-related purchase I made in the last year for my home. Do you remember when I shared the picture of the book bollards outside Cambridge University Library? Well, those bollards were an inspiration! I had been searching for some side tables for my living room and I wondered if I could get something similar to those bollards. I then forgot about them for a few months, but in January, my husband and I went to Scotland. In the Cairngorms, we stumbled across a furniture shop, Spirit of Wood, one afternoon, high up in the hills on a farm track. We almost decided not to go up to the shop as it was snowing and the track was very steep. We eyed the hill with trepidation from the bottom. However, our hired 4×4 made light work of it and we were so pleased we made it – not only was the view beautiful from the shop, but we found my perfect side table, a pile of wooden books just like the bollards that I loved.
Our new side table
You can see from the photo above that it has fitted in perfectly and I’m delighted with it!
On the same trip, we discovered that we were staying just around the corner from a very atmospheric and eerie ruin. It brought home the fact that buildings need people as much as we need them and everything that comes with them. When the people go, even the most beautiful houses can end up like this one on the Dunalistair estate.
This house was only abandoned in 1952. Isn’t it astounding what time (and vandalism I suspect) can do? In 1950 this was a school, full of noise and laughter, and before that it was a family home full of love and treasured possessions. Dunalistair House is on the Historic Scotland Buildings at Risk register but as you can see, it won’t be long really before it is little more than foundations. As a card-carrying member of the National Trust, I am fascinated by grand estates and country houses and we are lucky that so many have survived. However, Dunalistair House is an example of one that has not and it shows that even the most solid of historic buildings cannot survive without the protection and care of people. The Scottish winters certainly take their toll…
Just before we walked to Dunalistair House, we were caught in a blizzard. Here I am looking surprising cheerful in the circumstances!