September 17



Is it currently in vogue to wild swim? Last month I couldn’t get away from hearing about women in the water. I am not an ex high-flyer from London, nor an amazonian alcoholic (yet), but I swim regularly and quietly among the cuddy ducks off the back of the croft where I live. Some of these publicly-swimming women have written inspiring and beautifully straight-forward books about living on the edge. I feel in good company.

Most definitely, I am not a swimwear model. I recommend well-worn merino underwear plus cut-off neoprene shorts and a Reed Chillcheater vest and balaclava. I don woolly hat and gloves immediately on exit.  My Mum thinks wild swimming is skinny dipping. It generally isn’t up here. I go swimming whatever the weather and nearly all year round. I think this mad practice has miraculous benefits. It keeps me sane, fit and resistant to much of life’s wobbly bits.

Now is the changeover to porridge time. Looks like I am facing another autumn on bleak isle. I thought I would be long gone. How much I love these wild, wild places, but oh dear what about the future? I’m not sure I can face life on the edge much longer without Mr Cheese.

Last month’s memorial for my friend Michael at Cally, triggered long-buried feelings about making gardens. Ornamental planting does not do it for me anymore, although my affair with perennials goes on, so long as they are put together in the most natural way. Harvesting of most of the vegetables for the day job is thankfully almost complete. Winter planting plans commence.


This is the time of cobwebs and jelly fungi, blackberries spurting from old blackhouse walls and cries of wild geese. They leave feathers trapped in ragwort and the ground is littered with devil’s–bit scabious . Such an unfortunate name for such a beautiful flower, once used to treat scabies.



The road to Caranish point is permanently flooded. Oily sheens from vehicles and burnished reeds make for acid colour trips on our early morning walks.



My fish pal and I are now undertaking daily sea trout expeditions to the local estuary pools. So far no fish, but a good haul on the fly last week from a day on Loch Obisarry.  It must be my lucky Leicester hat.


Felt projects and intended workshops keep the spirits up and the Sprout book (recently renamed MacSprout) needs be completed (and hopefully published) this winter.  I will be brave.



1 Response to “September 17”

  1. 1 Heather 22/09/2017 at 4:12 pm

    Lovely post!

    Did you know the reason behind the name of the devil’s bit scabious? The plant has a very short root, which ends very abruptly, and legend says that that is because the devil came up and bit the root off! Hence the name!

    That makes me like the name an awful lot more! 🙂

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