Six Months On The Hill…

It has now being just over six months since we moved into our new home Tombuie aka The Hoose on the Hill and I do not know where those months have gone!
We are still living in what seems like cardboard city central, I swear the boxes are like gremlins, they just seem to keep multiplying! How everything was crammed into Tulloch, I just do not know!

So, January 7th, we got moved in, but there would have to be a second removal day from Tulloch a few weeks later. A large lorry just would not get up the hill, not something we had given too much thought to earlier on, so smaller loads it had to be.
As I write, I can not actually remember what we did on the first couple of days, I think it was just a case of finding our feet, getting some groceries etc
But before we could unpack all the boxes, we needed some furniture, so we would make one or two trips to Spirit of Wood, which is based near Aberfeldy and they very kindly visited us, helping us plan what would fit where etc and it is at this point, that we would like to thank Conor, Nicky, Craig & co for all their help and patience with our nest building.
We had a list, but it grew slightly on these visits and we added one or two none essential items to it! Including a bar! Yes, we got a Bar!
Now we just had to sit and wait for these items to arrive, due around beginning of April!!

After a few days of been on the hill, it was time to get the poultry moved on to the hill, of course, that meant catching Bruce the Cockerel, but Alistair had a cunning plan and it worked! It had ruffled Bruce’s feathers, but they began to explore and make themselves at home as soon as they arrived and like Moths to light, they discovered the barn.
A couple of weeks on the hill and we would finally get Pet Lamb & co moved over. They travelled in a trailer, out stepped Pet Lamb on to the ramp, but he had to pause and take a good look at what was happening before he went any further.
Out he came, closely followed by Elfie, Geordie & Ghost and they moved straight into the barn which was laid out with fresh straw for them. There they stayed for the rest of that day before they would explore their new home.
And one thing which I did notice, was that birds & wildlife was conspicuous by its absence. This was something we would definitely need to remedy!
Alistair began by getting a feeding station rigged up.

We would then take it easy for a wee while, well, my foot was worse, so I wasn’t really getting out of the house much, and we had our first lot of snow, proper snow, it was magical and it totally transformed our view, breathtaking! And… there was the odd bird beginning to appear at the feeders!
It was then time for me to head back down to Stirling to see a Specialist with said foot.
Back home and I was becoming pretty much housebound and now had crutches to help me get about, mucho fun with snow and dogs I can tell you!
I was looking for things to do, so I decided to do some baking and try out the cooker and also try out some new recipe books.
I would make a Chicken Pie, Marsala was amongst the ingredients, so I would have a glass, other than some highballs, all the glasses were of course packed, so a highball of Sherry it was *hic*
The domestic goddess phase continued and one day I would make an Apple Cake.
Could be eaten hot or cold.
The following day and with a lot of the snow gone, our second removal day from Tulloch was upon us, so the removal guys arrive with loaded van and I asked them if they would like coffee and cold apple cake before unpacking, they of course would.
One said it was alright and the other guy just remarked ‘interesting’ (I noticed he had only taken one bite and the rest remained on the plate), it was at that point, that Alistair walked in, he had called at the shop for milk and picked up a pack of Apple Turnovers too!!!
The Poultry enjoyed the rest of said Apple Cake.
I felt the flame for my new found love for baking rapidly diminish!

FEBRUARY – The fencing of our new to be fields would get underway and it saw us take delivery of our first items from Spirit of Wood EXCITING, now we really would begin to make the place ours.
Also, we had our first storm. Now, that was a time best spent indoors!
February also found me laid up in bed with another virus and I had not felt this poorly for a long time.

On the 24th February, there was no getting off or on the hill. We were living in a real winter wonderland. Cooked Jamie Oliver’s Crazy Pork Burgers for lunch, Alistair had got out the HP SAUCE in preparation for said burgers, I don’t know if it was the look I gave, or the way I was holding the spatula, but he thought better of it! Anyhoo, they were bloody lovely.
It was a great day and the animals seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Just simple happy times.
During all this, I was watching the News daily and looking up Coronavirus.
I said to Alistair, this is not at all looking good, I think we should start getting some stock in the cupboards, as we really don’t have anything.
Do not worry the wise one said, we will be fine…

MARCH – I was still keeping a close eye on the news of this virus as it spread around the world and I knew that I would suffer if it came our way, I made an instant decision, the time had come & I threw down my last cigarette!
The 3rd of March was a cool, but glorious day & my foot was feeling pain free and remarkably normal, I tried on my walking boots and I stepped out and walked! Okay, it wasn’t far, but I got up above the hoose and it felt & was BLOODY BRILLIANT!
Then the weather became pretty dreich, but we were having an amazing show from the Black Grouse. And we were Eagle spotting!
And another cheerful moment amid that weather was our new sofa arriving! This had been an impulse buy (I do a few of those) over the Christmas period, it had said coral for the colour, I was hoping it would be more orange than pink. As the van pulled up, Alistair turned round and said “If this thing is Pink, its going reet back”! The moment of truth was upon us… TTF it was orange, it was sumptuous, it was gorgeous, the lass had chosen well *Phew*!
On the 13th, the wise farmer had suddenly decided that we needed to get some stock in the cupboards! As with most places, we found ourselves picking up the dregs left from the panic buying, we think we bought the last packet of loo roll in Aberfeldy & it wasn’t looking great, but needs must!
On the 16th, we had lost The Terrorist, a full-scale search was on! We found him in a cardboard box!

I would be down to Stirling to see the Specialist again, latest test results were back, basically, the diagnosis was Arthritis, my hand too. I had an autoimmune thing going on, so decision for treatment would be to wait until Coronavirus had eased, as treatment would lower my immune system even more. I was to return to the hill and wait it out for 12 weeks or however long it took, well, there could be far worse places to be and I was very grateful that we had gotten moved! I would not leave the hill again until July!

APRIL – Lockdown activities were as follows… I was doing Jigsaws, Barclay became hooked on Mastermind, The Terrorist would just thieve & chew what he could and Alistair seemed to be just constantly going through boxes in the garage and turning it into a manshed!
What a difference a week later, a burst of sunny glorious weather, fantastic!
On the 13th, there I am, sat inside minding me own business, when I look out to see a pair of Mallards waddling past the windows, I was elated and I would recall a childhood memory of Ducks to Alistair…
When I was a child, I was often helping Dad, one day, whilst feeding our poultry, four Mallards had appeared to feed also, been a child, I asked dad if we could keep them, to cut this short, four had turned over into over forty in two years! That is when my Father said enough was enough. Alistair said how could you end up with over forty ducks? Just wait and see I said.
Come the 20th, I was stood out most nights of the week in search of the Satellite train, I was to be disappointed!
And The Terrorist had taken a liking to me crutches as his latest chew toy!
I had also made the decision this month, that my decision to move over to Olympus was a no longer fitting decision and I would go back to the Nikon fold, it was like welcoming an old friend.
At the end of the month, we sadly lost McDuck.

MAY – The Farmer was absolutely fed up of pushing a small lawn mower! So his new toy arrived.
And I had found some wide fitting shoes I could get on!
We had an absolute fantastic month on the nature front.
Some of the highlights were, Curlew, Cuckoo, Red Kites & Redstart.
Frogs and Toads.
And the different types of Flora was fantastic to see.
The snow on the hills was thawing and there was a different feel about the place.
And two Mallard Ducks were now five.
THEN Wednesday the 27th of May, the saddest day, we lost Pet Lamb, I was absolutely heartbroken.

JUNE – Should have seen my dear friend Fiona & me at Glasgow Green rocking away to the Guns n’ Roses concert, like most people, these plans were obviously cancelled.
Early June and the five Mallard Ducks became eight.
The weather turned sunny and hot, I ordered suncream, aftersun & a fan for the living room.
The following day the rain returned!
And I had another new hobby to take up, I have always wished I could draw/paint, so whilst foot was hindering me from the norm, now was the time to learn. See if I could get away from lollypop trees and spidery suns etc
Lockdown certainly was a surreal situation. We were not seeing anyone other than posties & home shopping, yet it has the feeling of the norm. We clapped for the NHS in silence and via emoji on Facebook.
But, things were easing, which meant activity on the hill would begin to take place.
Furniture began to arrive, Highland Cattle arrived, Sheep arrived, Young Curlew, Chicks would arrive and one of the Mallard Ducks appeared with nine Ducklings!

JULY – The Terrorist turned One!
We now have three lots of Ducks with Ducklings feeding & with the other odd Mallards, I reckon we have hit over twenty! We may even break my childhood record at this rate!
Anyhoo, Alistair is beginning to see how my childhood story soon came about.
Now I had had the idea of wallpapering the downstairs loo, you know, spruce it up a little bit, well, that idea has grown arms & legs and five rooms have had the wallpapering effect now.
It is still like cardboard city central, but, things are really beginning to take shape now, this last few weeks has been a whirlwind and I will be thrilled when we actually get one room done and cardboard box free.

With all this, as well as a new home, it’s also new lifestyle for Alistair & me in the sense that we haven’t spent this much time together before and doing jobs together like moving the sheep etc is probably a comical sight, lots of arm waving, blue air, difference of opinion on how much those Sheep should be fed etc As I apparently feed them too much and why do I need to order several cabbages with each shop.
It is a new chapter in our relationship and a new one for me! I don’t know, but since losing Father, I have sort of lost my way a bit, lockdown has given plenty of thinking time and the fact I need to get back on track, knuckle down with some photography and continue with The Journey.
And now things are beginning to take shape, it is time to share them with you and we look forward to the day we can welcome guests to the hoose on the hill.
– Karen – x






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