August 29, 2010
Weather wc 29th August
Well we should not really be surprised that with a bank holiday only being observed in England - Scotland gained a wonderful weekend of weather and it looks set to continue into the week. It might also be highlighted that after a couple of months of decidedly un summery weather it has improved immensely since the schools went back just so all the school children can look enviously out as they sit in their classrooms!
So is it set to continue?
Today: After a cloudy dawn it will slowly clear, leaving warm sunny spells.
Monday: after a night with a few showers it will again dry up leaving an otherwise a fine dry and sunny day.
Tuesday: A dry day with some good sunny spells, and excellent visibility. A cold, strong north to northwest breeze on hills.
Wednesday: A fine dry spell of weather with some bright or sunny spells. A cool start with some local ground frost, the day warming up by midday.
Thursday: It will be mainly dry with some sunshine after the clearance of any early morning mist or fog patches.
Friday: The indications are it will then turn wetter and windier by today although it should clear up overnight
Saturday: providing the rain has passed we can expect another dry and sunny day
August 28, 2010
One of my childhood abiding memories was being put in the front loading bucket of the old tractor and lifted up into the canopy of a tree in the garden to pick apples from one of the trees. I am sure that child services may have had second thoughts about the misuse of child labour and health and safety may have wanted to be involved due to lack of risk assessment but no one was ever hurt and certainly it was all part of a wonderful experience.
Whilst much has changed over the years the tree has survived and although the harvest has reduced over the year the tree stood strong. We had been forced to remove some of the limbs due to ingress of rot but there still remained a few braches with leaves although lichen and moss had begun to overtake the tree. Regrettably however this year the moss has won and the tree barely produce a leaf never mind blossom and definitely no apples so we have started to remove it from its spot.
Even with half of the tree down the amount of new direct light into the garden is apparent and now we realise how much the moss was stopping the garden from growing. Hopefully not only have we put the tree out of its misery and removed a possible danger for passing walkers but we have also allowed the tomatoes in the greenhouse a bit more of a chance to ripen before autumn sets in. Now we simply have to complete the task, at least it removes one source of leaves in October and then maybe we will have some int3ersting chips to use in the smoker for apple smoked salmon?
August 27, 2010
Each year, and almost every weekend throughout the summer, a different town or village near Eriska hosts their own Highland Games. Today the Argyllshire Highland Gathering took place in Oban and we were lucky enough to have one of our guests act as photographer for us - have a look at their photos posted on our
Facebook page. This is just one of the many Highland Gatherings Eriska is surrounded by throughout the summer. Our neighbours at Appin, played host to their 52nd Appin Agricultural Show which took place at Stalker Croft last Saturday. Despite the torrential rain we were subjected to the previous evening, as always, the weather brightened up on the day.
The show gives the chance for the locals, as well as those from further a field, to showcase their creative talents and of course strength - females as well as males! This was certainly shown in the most competitive event of the day which has to go to the traditional tug-of-war which even brought out the competitive streak in the females - much to the fear of their male counterparts, however it may have been the strength of their pink wellies! Once again, Lismore walked away champions after beating fierce competition from Appin and Duror.
On a more creative note, there were some imaginative entries in the handicrafts including life-size paper-mache pigs, Cinderella’s slipper and vegetable animals…
Sadly, no trips to Castle stalker were on the cards this year, however there was plenty to keep everyone entertained - there was even a bouncy castle for the big kids amongst us!
August 22, 2010
Weather wc 22nd August
Often we believe we sit in the middle of our own micro climate here at Eriska and watch the clouds part and sunshine beam down on Eriska but that may now be wishful thinking as yesterday | was pushed inside by a sudden downpour of rain and happened to flick on the television only to be depressed by the sight of the Macaulay Cup shinty game going on in Oban where it seemed to be sunshine and summer with spectators in sunglasses and short and tee shirt whilst I gazed out the window- not 7 miles away at the driving rain and strong winds!
Lets hope this is just a slight oddity and that normal sunshine on Eriska can return!
Today: After a Mainly dry morning with sunny spells we can expect some showers in the afternoon.
Monday: Bright initially but a band of shower swill spread east with some heavy.
Tuesday:Showers clearing to leave a dry afternoon.
Wednesday: A dry bright start with some sun but again it will deteriorate with showers in the afternoon.
Thursday: Scattered showers, perhaps briefly heavy, may develop elsewhere by afternoon.
Friday: Starting bright with sunny spells but some passing showers developing, perhaps briefly heavy.
Saturday: Turning cool and breezy with sunshine and showers.
August 21, 2010
Launch of Winter Wine Weekend
No sooner have the schools gone back in Scotland than our thoughts start turning to the winter. Fortunately we are not quite as bad as some of the shops who are already talking about Christmas- although no festive windows in Oban yet- but we are having ot concentrate on activities in November and December. In truth this has all been going on for some time as we have to try and tempt the best to join us at Eriska to make the events both memorable and most importantly worth visiting for.
Last year Fabrice was kindly invited on a trip to Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux by our friends at LVMH as part of the work to develop and explain the emerging relationship between South American wineries and France. Fortunately due to Fabrices grasp of French- helped by him being a citizen - he was able to explain all about Eriska to the winemaker from Cheval des Andes and he kindly offered to organise a tasting and evening here at Eriska exploring Chateau Yquem and Cheval Des Andes.
As is often the case much is promised and talked about but delivering the event then takes time and reminders but we are delighted to be able to announce that on 20th November we will be able to host a wonderful evening exploring these two great houses and guided by Catherine Stockdale- the Brand Ambassador- we hope to learn something and taste some great wine and food combinations.
Having now fallen into place I simply have to confirm the date of our next special weekend which will be in March and is being planned to be a unique event combining food and wine and being led by a Master of Wine to help try and explain some of the wonderful mysteries behind food and wine matching and hopefully show that it is often necessary to break some of the rules and go your own way when matching food and wine as each of us has a different palate. Anyway as ever more details will follow when the date is finalised.
August 19, 2010
As I was passing through the drawing room yesterday I caught the eye of a girl sitting on the sofa reading the Eriska book- or so I thought, in fact she seemed to be looking guilty and therefore I was intrigued and having passed glanced back to see what was amiss. It seemed like a day back at school when the clever would read a book inside the allotted text book so the teacher believed swatting was going on and in reality the illicit reading material from earlier in the day was being finished under disguise.
But in this case this was not the story however I did notice a mobile phone being hidden away as I passed and after a few minutes of still being unclear as to the operation my intrigue got the better of me and I was forced to ask. as soon as I had there were howls of laughter from across the room where other members of the family were sitting. Clearly the poor girl had now been completely rumbled and explaining the operation was going to add to the indignity but she was goaded to explain what was happening!
The family had been staying at Eriska for nearly a week and had been quite active. they had been out and explored both Eriska and the surrounding area and had spotted most of the wildlife and scenery. However the girl had forgotten that she was to complete a school project until she was reminded on the last day and was now trying to make up for lost time. In short she was attempting to use the images in the book and her phone to capture real life shots of otters, seals, deer and even Staffa and Iona. In truth the images were now so vague that others might not see through the ruse.
Fortunately I do not think the plan was thought out fully as she was now going to have to photo shop out the hands holding the pages or come up with another excuse. maybe next time she will remember to take her camera on all the walks and trips and save the embarrassment- or maybe her parents will see the concept as the best way forward and cancel all future holidays preferring to send her to the library for her holidays instead of getting away from home for a break!
August 15, 2010
Weather wc 15th August
With the start of the school term here in Scotland it was always going to be a signal that the weather could turn for the better- just to make the first few days back at School even more appealing for the children! It was also going to dry up as soon as I announced that we needed water to test our new draining system, but at least the drier condityions have allowed us to press on with our outside painting of roofs and walls to get the place ready for the next onslaught of rain!
So whats ahead this week,
Today: Dry with some sunny spells. Pleasantly warm with light winds.
Monday:After a dry night a misty dawn will give way to some clear spells developing, though some patchy low cloud, mist or even fog inland.
Tuesday Again any mist lifting then a dry and bright day with variable cloud and some good bright or sunny intervals.
Wednesday:After the dry start to the week it will begin turning much more unsettled with showers or longer spells of rain, some heavy.
Thursday: Unsettled weather conditions will continue with some dry spells
Friday: We will see a mix of sunny spells and scattered showers, with the showers becoming heavy and thundery at times.
Saturday: Showers will merge to give longer periods of rain at times, especially in the west and northwest on the hills
August 14, 2010
Indoor Liesure Facilty base camp!
Its amazing how initial ideas take seconds to form but then take a long time to move to fruition. So it seems with our Indoor leisure facility. Whilst the principle could have been envisaged over a cup fo tea the original concept has not only been evolved and developed but given the input of planners and building control officers the actual facility has also changed. However we now have an agreed way forward and even a plan on how we are going to achieve the best result for all.
We have also been careful that we have left ourselves a flexible a space as possible , the main component will simply be a large she with a covered area however the roof height has been considered for indoor sports, the door sizes for exhibition access and the storage areas for keeping everything under one roof but is an organised fashion.
In terms of logistics the power lines were laid some time ago when Chay built his new maintenance shed, the electrical layouts have considered the use when there is no natural light and the ventialion has had to bear in mind that we may be surrounded by midges, howling gales and possible heat waves so as flexible and changeable a system as possible has been envisaged.
So this week we have "broken ground" the whole area has been levelled to the base level, except the tennis shed which we have yet to demolish as it is still in use by the summer tennis players - really just for shelter from the wind and rain- and in the middle of the site is the old water well which will eventually have to be unfilled. The road has been redirected, although it will take tioem and bollards to redirect people who have driven down to the pier and stop them crossing the imaginary shed before it is erected. The next stage will eb the laying of the foundations and the installation of the bases for the steel piles. So for now stage one complete and time for a breather before we start stage 2!
August 12, 2010
Sometimes others highlight that I neglect to learn from my mistakes but this day every year I like to highlight that I have. The reason is that always on the 12th August I try to escape from the hotel and island and today was no different. The reason is historical as it is the Glorious 12th and some time ago I thought it would be good to not only serve Grouse on the day that the season starts- today - and even better was that I invited the local press to join us.
However this was a great plan not thought through. Firstly the bird really needs to hang so that it begins to age before its cooked so eating on the day It is shot would not be ideal, secondly whilst the west highland grouse is possible it is also dwindling to such a level that locating and then cacthing is a huge challenge and not one which we could count on due to the pressure. So I arranged for grouse to be delivered from a different region and with time against us the van arrived in the late afternoon with dinner closing in quickly.
Having stood on the back door panicking that I was to be let down I was so thrilled to see the delivery that I confidently strode into the kitchen clutching the birds and handed them to the open mouthed kitchen staff. However they were not aghast at my success in getting birds but dumbfounded because they had never seen the birds in real life and certainly had no clue how to pluck or draw them. Not giving up I then retreated to the back door with the birds followed by a chef with a book. He sat on a stool and guided me through the plucking, I sat on a stool with a black bag and bird in hand and started the operation.
Feathers, fluff and fury filled the air. As I finished each bird I looked up and asked if the chef had understood how to do it and consistently he shook his head and asked for another demonstration. Two hours later with diners arriving I completed the plucking the came the instructed drawing and skinning, again a new experience and by now lots of promises never to do this again. The good news was that all was completed in the nick of time although it was touch and go, the bad news was that no one else had learnt how to do it, if they had they had hidden it,and my whole afternoon had been a simple lesson learnt. So no August 12 is get out of town day or never mention the grouse day!!
August 08, 2010
Weather wc8th August
Last week I was on my knees praying for good weather for the next few days so that we would not be too miserable and wet during our sailing exploits over West highland Week and fortunately my wishes were answered with not only good winds but dry conditions and even better a wee bit of sunshine. But hopefully this was not all the good luck used in one go and there may still be a wee bit left for the end of the Scottish School Holidays. So what is ahead?
Today: Mainly dry. Sunny spells but becoming cloudy and overcast by the evening
Monday: A mainly dry and bright day with some sunshine the best across the hills Cloud will thicken in the evening with rain reaching the coast later.
Tuesday:It will be very unsettled with showers or longer spells of rain, though some sunshine will develop at times.
Wednesday: Mainly sunny with just the odd shower.
Thursday: It will be breezy at first with scattered showers for many areas, but remain mainly dry.
Friday: After a dry start there will be a chance of increased cloud, and rain or showers at times.
Saturday: After a rather cool start, temperatures should recover to near normal, perhaps becoming warm in places away from the northwest.