Thursday, May 14, 2009

The road goes ever on....

We are set to fly off to Scotland next week. It will be the first trip back to the village since publishing the book and I'm really looking forward to seeing dear friends and our familiar mountains again. We'll drive the Wee Mad Road and take a lot of pictures (we've seen photos of Castlehill in its new guise - we'll share the ones we take).

We know things have changed even in the 5 or 6 years since we were last in Coigach. So many old friends have gone - and we will miss them terribly. But we'll be busy enjoying the friends who are still there - and are looking forward to seeing some special people who are coming up from the south to spend the week at their cottage down at the very end of the road. We've known Kestor and Diana since before they were married - seen them qualify for their professions at the University, marry and have children - and now their oldest is at Cambridge following his own star. Many of the children we knew when we lived in Coigach are married and have children of their own. When did we get so old?

But the hills and the sea and the islands are still the same - and I know our hearts will lift and rejoice while we're there - and that we will feel the same deep sorrow when we have to say good-bye.

I'll write again when we get home.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fiber rocks!

Well - it's spring in Minnesota. The trees are blooming and the streets are lined with clouds of red, pink and white blossoms. The lilacs are coming into full bloom and the smell is so headily sweet - it's a joy to be alive.

The Mother's Day weekend, however, was cold and blustery and we were out at Lake Elmo selling books at the Shepherd's Harvest Fiber Fair. Luckily our booth was inside - but even so it took a long time for cold fingers to function properly first thing in the morning. But it was a great weekend. We sold a lot of books and got to talk to some really interesting people so it was a lot of fun. Quite a few folks stopped by who had read the book and made us feel wonderful by their kind comments. And that is the best reward of all.

The Shepherd's Harvest takes place every year and is full of wonderful fiber arts, musicians (some of whom make lovely instruments), and sheep, llamas, goats and rabbits - anything that can be plucked or shorn for wool and fiber. There are sheep shearing demos, animal judging and sheep dog demonstrations. This year they had all types of herding dogs from shelties to old English sheep dogs (along with the usual border collies who are always wonderful to watch). And they have some neat classes - and luckily Eileen felt well enough to take a couple of them and do a bit of spinning and carding too. Every year we've been there the fair has grown and now there are four large buildings full of exhibitors - lots to see and do and eat - and entry is free.

Maybe we'll see you there next year!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Little boy lost - and found

One night as we were sitting by the fire, the phone rang and a neighbor told us that a 2 year old boy was missing and feared wandering out in the bogs alone. She asked us to call other neighbors and meet at the Laird's cottage to form a search party. When we arrived at the house we found about 40 very concerned people gathered to begin the search.

The police had been called, and the Assynt Mountain Rescue Team along with the RAF (who had a helicopter) were at standby. The parents told us that the child had been put to bed upstairs, but when they went to check on him around 10:00 he was gone! The adults had been playing cards in the lounge - within sight of the outside door - but no one had heard anything or seen the boy leave the house. The frantic parents had searched the house from top to bottom and hadn't found him, so they called the police.

When the police arrived they organized people to go out to search the moor around the house. But I got to talking to our neighbor, Peter Drake, and we both felt sure that the child had to be in the house - it just didn't make sense that he could have left it unseen. So Peter and I and one of the policemen decided to make a thorough search - in cupboards, under beds, in drawers and suitcases - any space that might be possible for a little boy to creep into without being seen. We started at the top and were working our way through the second floor when Peter called out "Here he is!" And there inside a suitcase - a trunk really - was a sleepy, yawning, confused toddler. He'd been sound asleep through it all and his parents must have passed that way many times - but had never imagined that he could be sleeping in a suitcase!

All's well that ends well! So we had a cup of tea and walked back to Castlehill enjoying the warm, still, moonlit night and feeling that all was right with the world.