We Have Moved House! …

So, 2019 had begun and I was planning on been even busier with The Wee Scottish Gallery, think on that I had just had the Gallery extended too.
Also, we had hired the local Architect and plans were finally underway for improving Tulloch, this plan, was always on the cards since we moved there and after nearly 3 years we had finally gotten round to it.
All unusual for me, as I rarely plan, have accepted the fact, that with my life, it is often folly to plan!

And as just mentioned above, I was, yet again, going to be proved why…

One day, Alistair walks into the kitchen and muttered something about a small Farm overlooking Loch Tay he had seen advertised for sale.
And? I asked,
Is it someone you know?
No he replied, but I have been thinking, Tulloch isn’t really big enough for the animals we have and well, think I would like some Cattle and I am going to need something to do.
Okay I respond, show me the details.
48hrs later, we were on our way to view a property!

Now, this is where I have to admit (Sorry Alistair), that whilst this Farm looked amazing, I honestly did not think that all this would amount to much. Plans for Tulloch were taking shape and it was going to be an incredible job.
But there we were enroute, snow was on the ground, it was cold to say the least, but it was a stunning day with clear blue skies.
We arrived at the. Property and the views did not disappoint!
It was during this visit, that I just stood back, watching Alistair walk around and take things in, I watched his expressions etc and it was then, that I realised this was exactly what Alistair needed after everything we’d been through in 2018 and that life was going to change again!

Now, we did not get that Farm and Spring was upon us, still talks of moving, but nothing was ticking boxes, until, we saw a place near Callander advertised!
Another viewing was arranged and another day trip.
Wow!
Now we both fell for this property, it offered us everything and we had lots to discuss.
A second viewing was arranged and we took along a couple of very good friends with us, who we knew would give an honest opinion.
They loved it too!
An offer was made.
An agonising wait, as it went to closed bids.
We received the news the following week that our offer wasn’t successful. Gutted!
But as my Father always said, when one door closes, another one opens…
Another appealing property came to our attention and this time, we took a day trip down to Dumfries and Galloway.

This is pretty much how the next few months continued.
A property would come on the market and away we went on another trip.
We pretty much took in the whole of the Scottish Mainland.
Visiting some spectacular places and meeting some very nice people along the way, though you felt invasive at times, but many with a story to tell and some sad reasons why they were having to leave their homes.
We thank each one of them for their time, kindness and hospitality and do hope that they are happy with the next chapter in their lives.

Every property had something to offer, we had a couple of favourites, one near Glen Affric and one near Aboyne, both of us favouring them differently.
Basically, we just hadn’t found The One! Though we were trying to fit them into that and that just wasn’t going to work.
We did have quite a few requirements, obviously Alistair and his land and mine was pretty much, where can me Sheep go, Gallery and I would like a view!
And we both agreed, that we would like to restart the B&B again.
Through this time and realising we probably were not going to meet each requirement, I found myself saying that The Gallery wasn’t a deal breaker.

Come July, we were sat with a pile of brochures and pretty much still no further forward and we would need to think upon Tulloch, winter etc
We also decided to to go ahead with getting married, we just picked up with plans we had had for 2018 with that.
Alistair had the Farm to deal with, which was now under offer.
Sorting through those brochures, there was one, which we both for some reason had overlooked, why, how, just do not know, but we both agreed, that it was a must view!

The viewing was arranged, it was the most stunning day and there we are stood on a hill, yet again overlooking Loch Tay.
The agent met us there, opened up the property, we stepped on inside and THERE and THEN, we knew! We had found our home!
Only a few close friends knew of the reason behind our travels around Scotland and they said to us, you WILL know when you find the right one.
How right they were!

We left it a short while and then arranged a second viewing, just to make absolutely sure.
We were.
But now was time for the Wedding.

We didn’t have a Honeymoon, but, we did get an offer in our choice of home and it was accepted.
And we got a Puppy! Gordon the Terrier joined the Meikle clan.

So September was full on, we were told that Alistair’s Farm Sale was going well and we were looking to move to our new home mid October, it is about 1000ft up hill, so really wanted to be in before the weather turned.

Mid October came and went, the Farm Sale was to take a bit longer.
Our move would be. November.
November became December!
The farm sale was not going great!
The amount of stress we (Especially Alistair) were under was immense, never mind the fact that we were now close to losing our new home.
Also, during that time, the grieving process for my Father had finally caught up with me!
I thought I had been handling things okay, I wasn’t really, I was just on autopilot and had just kept going. Now came the the release. It was a pain I did not want to go through or admit to, but like us all at some point in our lives, I had to.
My GP and Alistair, were great and both said, it had to happen.
Then there was a foot issue I had been having, a swollen ankle for the last year and it had worsened dramatically and a fair amount of pain came with it. I couldn’t drive and was just hobbling around, so trips to Specialists began.

December was long and agonising in every sense. (Believe it or not, am cutting a long story short here)
We were stressed beyond words, each day and every time the phone went, it seemed to bring another problem.
We were snapping at each other, the dogs were snapping, Pet Lamb had become even more aloof, the skies were grey, I was pretty much housebound with said foot and the air was blue!
We got a call, that was pretty much telling us the Farm Sale was falling through, unless Alistair adjusted a couple of things (And WHY does everything like that always happen just before the weekend)!
Anyhow, Alistair and his Solicitor worked swiftly and turned the tables.
Okay, we will agree to those terms, on the following conditions…
The Farm sale was back on for completion on 20th December and we would move to our new home 0n the 23rd! And amazingly, the snow had held off.

Late afternoon on the 20th, we learnt, that we would again, not be moving to our new home on the 23rd! But, on the 23rd we did get notice of the Farm sale completing and that was a fantastic Christmas gift for Alistair.
Now, it is at this point, that I would like to thank the agent and previous owners of our new home for their absolute patience, faith and understanding in all of this.
To the buyers, solicitors and agents of the Farm, there are no thanks, just please, when you next proceed with another sale, think on how it affects people beyond the immediate ones you are dealing with. And communication is key! Honestly hope our paths do not cross again!

Anyhoo, Christmas Day, amid boxes was a quiet affair and we just chilled.
We needed to do that and now there was nothing we could do until people returned back to  work after the  holidays.

30th December we get notification, that our new home was definitely ours, that the move is back on and that will take place on 7th January 2020!
Whoop whoop!
I also went down with a Flu virus!

1st January 2020 and Happy New Year and due to our wonderful first footers, I learnt that Gin, specifically our local Badvo Gin is an amazing cure for the colds/Flu etc
One glass and within the hour, I felt much brighter.
Come the 2nd January, it was like what Flu!?

Tulloch was in chaos.
My hobbling was getting worse.
6th January, the removal firm sent packers.
Tuesday 7th January 9am, I load the car with Gordon the Terrorist (As he is now known), Coffee, Cameras and other such essentials and I would drive for the first time in months.
I had about an hours trip ahead of me and I was going at a snails pace, so as not to aggravate the foot any more.
But FINALLY, with anticipation and adrenaline I pulled up outside our new home.
It was lashing it down and it was blowing a hoolie, but I got Gordon and the essentials inside and then just stood and looked out of the window.
There in the very distance, I could see the very first property we viewed last year and then looking out of the other window, I could see the hill and place where Alistair and  I got married.
I was home and just had to wait for a few hours before Alistair would arrive, attempt to carry me over the threshold, to much amusement of the fantastic removal  guys.
And that night, we slept soundly, which was probably the first time for me in nearly two years!
We are looking forward to sharing with you, our new home, Tombuie, the Hoose on the Hillside  – Karen – x

 

A Game of Toads …

Don’t run over that random stone in the road!
Chances are, that in some areas over the last few weeks, it has been Bufo bufo aka The Common Toad AND more likely than not, the random stone, wasn’t one Toad, but Two!
The much smaller Male Toad, on top of the larger Female Toad.
And this is known as travelling in Amplexus.
Basically, it is mating time and they are en-route to their breeding ground.
You will even get Triple Amplexus, two males.
And on the odd occasion, the Female may well have picked herself up & kissed a Frog.

The breeding ground, can vary, Garden Pond, Lake, Woodland Pond, Roadside Ditch etc
If you see the surface bubbling away, then you may be lucky to see dozens of Toads underneath, in Amplexus and Spawning away.
You may hear them too, but for that fantastic sound, then nighttime is the best.
We have a few Amphibians in the garden here at Tulloch and you can here them at night, but, the best sound comes from the Forest Pond, on a still night, it is incredible to hear Bufo bufo echoing across The Glen.

Over this last month, we have seen many on our travels, I never tire of this time, Nature and Spring are waking up.
I will give them a helping hand across the road if I think they are in great danger.
Oh and remember to keep your Dogs away from them!
Sharing a few Toady images for you
– Karen – x

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Lurking Under The Surface

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Watching For His Mate

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Triple Amplexus and a Passer By

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Just Hanging Around

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Nearly At The Pond

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In Amplexus

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Watch Where You Step!

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At The Roadside

 

A Squirrel In The Chicken Coop…

A quiet Sunday and McTufty decided it was time for lunch, which meant time to visit Tulloch.
Because it was quiet, McTufty took a good look around, including going into the Chicken Coop!
McTufty fancied a change for lunch, so wanting a lazy Sunday, opted for ground feeding & Sunflower Hearts instead of Peanuts.
But, McTufty wasn’t the only one!
The Chickens had made the same plans.
A new and unusual friendship was soon formed…

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Venturing In …

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And Taking A Look Around

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Who’d live in a house like this?

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Lunch on the ground

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McTufty Keeping A Low Profile, Hoping The Chickens Wouldn’t Notice

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You’re A Funny Looking Chicken!

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Lets Lunch Together & Have a Wee Blether

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Time To Say Farewell for Today…

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…And With A Swish of the Tail, McTufty Was Gone

Going Through Changes …

Christmas and the eve of New Years Eve has given me some time for reflection, the changes life has brought in 2018 and the changes which lie ahead for 2019.
And Christmas is a quiet affair this time, just doesn’t feel like Christmas to be honest. The absence of my dear Father is probably greater than ever.
Boxing Day Morning, took a phone call from one of our closest friends, who sadly broke the news to me of another old friend who passed away on Christmas Eve, he was just 46 years old, could have knocked me over with a feather and my thoughts are with his family.
2018, I will not be sorry to see you go, though yet I hang onto you, for you are the last time I spoke to Dad.

And there have been other big changes too!
When I hit half a century in August, it was also the start of another new era…
I now have a new camera (Hope you are sitting down), am now shooting with an Olympus! (For those interested – OM-D E-M1 Mark II)

No, I did not think that I would be saying that either, but there you go.
To cut a long story short, I haven’t totally said goodbye to Nikon, have still got one body & lenses, but the D5 & the D800 have gone to new homes.
I was in two minds about all this, but am absolutely loving using The Olympus (McOly), once I got my head around the menu system (Still doing that ha ha), it is a breath of fresh air and a joy to use and you may not realise, but you’ve been looking at Olympus images for the last couple of months now.
I scoffed when my Camera Dealer was prepared to bet me that I would leave Nikon within 6 months, he wasn’t far wrong and am looking forward to shooting more with it.
I will then see what happens when Olympus upgrade & Nikon release the Z8!

Nature has changed this year at Tulloch too, Curlews were drastically down in numbers this time and there are less Deer this season, as yet not the usual amount of visitors round Tulloch Garden, hopefully we will see some once proper winter arrives, just so mild the now.
We are usually so lucky to have thousands of Geese flying over, now they’ve been flying south of Kindrogan summit, with only the odd skein passing over us.
Fieldfares arrived early, then them too absent again.
One solitary Brambling feeding here for 10 days now and one Siskin, who, is a few weeks early.
Pleased to report that some healthy looking Greenfinch have reappeared, though some Chaffinch now seem to be carrying a similar illness to Trichomonosis and here is some  Info from BTO
Christmas Day afternoon, about dusk, feeding & bedding up the Tulloch Menagerie , when a Woodcock flew low over the house & paddock, fantastic!

I will leave it here for now, with a song choice to match and I wish for better changes for us all in 2019, walk your life & make it count.
I’ll be seeing you next year – Karen – x

Kelly & Ozzy Osbourne – Changes

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The Dunnock & The Holly

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Sunrise

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Floods

 

Adapting …

Forgive me Father, as it has been 3 months since my last confession.
And again, I do not know where this year is going!
So much has been going on, but as the year matures and comes into its last quarter, I sincerely hope that the sadness & woe that we have known up to now does too.

We had an array of visitors in July, best friend Dawn came to stay with us, as did our Facebook Giveaway winners Jill & Tim and on Sunday 19th we waved Hans & Tinka off. They had been staying with us for a week and we could not have wished for more beautiful and perfect guests. Every minute spent with them was a blessing and they entered our lives at the perfect time, to show us that goodness can exist in abundance. The world certainly is a more beautiful place with people like Hans & Tinka in it and we wish nothing but the very best for them.
Come August, we would also wave goodbye to our Airbnb era too, which has been an amazing experience and how apt, that our last guests were return ones, Paula & Ed, who we are luckily enough to class as friends now and I hope we get to visit them in Jerusalem someday soon.
There had been more than one reason for finishing Airbnb and one of those reasons was, to make the room available for a new house guest!
I would like you to give a right warm Scottish welcome to my Mother, who has made the huge move to Scotland and for now lives with us here at Tulloch.
This of course, means the end of an era at Settrington Estate, which was my childhood home, the place my Father Keepered at for over 50 years and the place that I too would also become a Gamekeeper and follow in Fathers footsteps. Sadly all gone now and I do reckon that Father would be very saddened by it all to say the least. (How I miss you Father).
We had another very sad goodbye also, Alistair’s Father has also passed away.
We really could not make this year up!
Alistair has done amazingly well, I am concerned about him, but am also so proud of him, his work load is immense and he just keeps on going, he has to of course, I will be pleased for him when things begin to ease up.
And then there was me hitting half a century.
I think that is more than enough for these last 3 months.
Lots more too of course and could obviously say much more, but thought best to try and keep a long story short.
We are all trying to adapt to these big life changes.
– Karen – x

Something Had To Give …

It’s been a difficult few days since my last post. Work busy and good, but the rest of it completely sucks.
Nothing like a Sunday evening and your wedding cancelled/postponed for making you say enough now.
Am not meaning Alistair of course, am meaning this Rollercoaster ride of 2018. Want it stop and I want to get off!
I turn half a century this summer and we were to be wed on that day and it was one thing which has kept me going.

Obviously am trying to grieve Dad, but just nae getting chance. And we’ve several other difficult things going on too, all making life exceptionally hard. Trying to deal with things and balance things.

A friend commented the other day, that as long as she’s known me, I’ve always been putting other people first etc and that I should look after myself more. It certainly has given me food for thought.

Talking of Father, it has made me question life after death, signs, spirit, etc etc Wanting to believe there is something, but unsure. Yesterday morning, was sweeping the yard, questioning something else, thinking of Dad, when all of a sudden, a Woodpecker Feather appeared in front of me. The most perfect feather. What are the chances!!? I thanked Dad and put it on the photo frame of us. Now as I type, am wondering with how yesterday ended up if he was just letting me know he was around?

Tuesday, my Wedding Dress arrived.
This brought on a few tears and thank the Lord we have the most amazing Postman!

Wednesday as a day just wasn’t great, well, let me rephrase that, it didn’t end up great.

I had advertised for help with housework and getting the house in order, amazed with the number of people wanting to help. I met Linda and she decided she would pick up the gauntlet, reassuring me, that the hoose wasn’t that bad and she had seen worse and she would begin the following day.

The Farrier arrived early doors to see to McKenzie.

Then, a busy gallery morning eased up after lunch but a pleasant surprise to see a couple of friends appear.

They had come for my help, involving a photo shoot for the following morning. It was something I would have normally loved, but just didn’t see how I could fit in. I would think up on it.

Pet Lamb was sheared this afternoon. Now got a totally different looking sheep and Barclay has been going ballistic ever since! Am sure he thinks another resident has moved into the Tulloch fold.

As the day wore on, I could feel myself getting down. And the fact I was unable to help the friend out tomorrow really began to play on my mind. Their help was invaluable when I lost Father and this was one person I would and should have gladly helped.
WHY.. was everything happening at once!

By evening, my mood hit an all time low.

I think absolutely everything from so far this year just hit me and the tears began.
I was mentally exhausted and openly admitted I could not cope with everything.

Something had to give!

Thursday morning, up for the 2nd time, making coffee and look out to see young Wagtails hopping around the yard, wonderful.

Following Dawns Phone call last night, I did heed her advice and didn’t open the Gallery today. I would instead begin wading through outstanding jobs I never get round to.
And … I finally made the decision to contact Airbnb!
I explained what was going on in our lives and from the 24th July, I will no longer be taking bookings or hosting guests.
Alannah from Airbnb was incredible. And I want again, to give her my thanks.
She was very understanding and efficient. She took over everything for me and for the the first time, I actually understood what the term ‘Weight off my Shoulders’ meant and felt like.

Of course, I am so very sorry that some guests beyond July have had to be cancelled and how disappointing and annoying that will be. Some things are just beyond my control, am not Wonder Woman and Airbnb was something which has to give.

Is it permanent? Who knows.

Perhaps wasn’t meant to do photo shoot for friend, as me back went mid morning! Ow!

This weekend sees my begin the count down of hosting guests.

And tomorrow evening will begin to see in a new week and some precious time spent with my best friend.

Onwards, Upwards, One Step and One Day at a Time

Karen x

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Woodpecker Feather

 

Half a year gone ….

And you are gone.

Over half way through June.
The year is going by far too quickly.

We have two lots of House Martins nesting, on a night in bed you can hear them chattering, tis lovely.
Swallows diving in and out of the stable, but nae as many as last season.

It has been hot, can you believe way too hot, then Thursday Storm Hector paid us a wee visit and yesterday was torrential downpour, the yard was about flooded!

And we now have a Pony living at Tulloch! Two mugs broken and a Garden Parasol demolished this last week! And as I’m sat typing this, Alistair reckons he’s messed up the Sky dish too!
He is a proper Thelwell character!
Am hoping that all the animals will get on together (Eventually)

I can’t say I’ve had time to enjoy this Spring. Work is nonstop and that is why I have now blocked off Airbnb and am taking no more bookings. Still too soon to say if I am finishing it forever, but certainly come August I am done for now.
Exhausted and really struggling to cope, never mind not getting any Photography done and I need to be and WANT to be.
And The Wee Scottish Gallery is coming into its own, yet lots more to do there too.
Just work, work, work, hence behind on this journal too, it HAS to change.
On a positive note, oh boy, the sleep, the Gravity Blanket is awesome!

And talking of Photography, am (Can you believe), looking at trying something other than Nikon!
I think I have decided to trade in one of the McNikons!!
More on that if/when etc

Mum came up for flying visit this weekend, waved her off again this morning, far too short.
But, your ashes are now with me Father and I do so hope that you can hear me talking to you.

I want to wish you Happy Fathers Day Dad and to tell you that I miss you every day, as does Mum.

There is a huge void in our life’s, which try as we might, it will never be filled.

Life is changing again but more on that on a future post.
Just want to talk to you again
Karen x