May 2017

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Six whooper swans flew over my car last week whilst awaiting the Hebridean AA. The birds were gently whooping (or more like gently snorting) unlike their silent mute cousins whose wing beats echo in their slip stream. Thank you Brian for explaining the difference.

Signs of spring are quiet out here. I chat with my Dad down south in the Shires about ‘his’ robins, which have nested behind ancient nail packets on the shelves in the garage. He’s put down an old mac as the fledglings are preparing to launch. On Uist the snipe are drumming and the lapwings are dive bombing in and out of the croft. The grass remains dull and it’s snowing horizontal today. Poor wee lambs.

Crofters have started the muir burn. It’s rather controversial and alarming to see shark fin mountain on fire but I try to respect the old ways.

Sprout is on greylag alert, busy finding nests and I am awaiting scrambled eggs. (under licence of course)

Recently on my Balushare beach run, I came across a young Risso Dolphin washed up on the shore. Its eyes still glossy. I wanted to curl up with it. The vet has been to do an autopsy with inconclusive results. While military manoevres underwater have been going on, these cetacean deaths often remain unexplained.

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We’ve had a decaying and rather ripe immature sperm whale wash up on Benbecula at Stinky Bay. I tried to keep Sprout well away but he still managed a snout wipe. The b.

At the day job in the greenhouse we have created our own spring chorus. Young vegetable seedlings cover every surface. Brassicas have taken over the world! Bill and I are rowing over why I insist on growing flowers. I still can’t live without tulips. It is only 2 degrees some nights, so we delay our planting out.

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The new collection of felted hebridean and blackface vessels is finally complete and will show in an exhibition shared with fellow craft mentees in Inverness Museum and Art Gallery then come home to Uist to spend a few weeks in the new exhibition space at uist wool. Just been for a try out.

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New work involves experimentation with moss, grass, reed and carded fleece and trying to avoid the dream catcher look. There is a way to go. A recent course with artist Caroline Dear and Dawn Susan, Hebridean basket maker, has inspired new ways of working with local plant materials. Caroline’s beautiful shawl in hair moss at the Naked Craft exhibition in Stornaway and Dawn’s marram coil pot for Scottish Woven Communities Project use traditional rural skills, so easily and sadly lost.

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Next stop: off to London Craft Week and a reunion with old pals.

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