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

 

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

 

I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden …

Monday – Barclay was at his Spa Day today and returned pm looking & smelling lovely, shame it doesn’t last long.

Some nice visitors and a surprise visit from Scotland For All. Good chat and I await to see if TWSG warrants a mention with them.

Tuesday am, Windy and cool again. The gallery signs ended up staying down as they constantly blew down!
Straw & Hay just refused to be swept up this morning.

Was in a miserable mood this morning, which was no good for me or the animals and because it affects them, that made me more miserable.

Pet Lamb managed to seize the opportunity and get into the house, so him and Barclay ran amok and our Dutch guests continued to have breakfast and seemed oblivious to it all. I had warned them it was a mad house!

We had (Please note I said HAD), a lovely climbing Rose on the Kitchen wall. Pet Lamb had been having the odd nibble, but nothing too damaging, but, along came McKenzie and he decided he was partial to it as well. Thing was, his nibbles lot bigger than Pet Lambs! Then, today an eating competition of said Rose began between them, which resulted in McKenzie getting the very last flower from it!
We are now just left with bare wall & few twigs!

Lovely visit from a friend this afternoon, who spoilt me with a bouquet of stunning Peonies and some delicious local Strawberries. Felt very blessed.

Wednesday, I do believe Pet Lamb has gone off Parsnip!! Was doing Grocery Shop, so ordered him some Kale. McKenzie on the other hand, was very keen for Parsnip.

Thursday am, stepped out with Morning Coffee to destruction! Gates half knocked over, wooden stag planter was knocked over and beheaded and a chewed up wicker bird feeder (Sorry Dawn)

Sky engineer came this afternoon. Barclay went crazy! Pet Lamb chased him out of the paddock & McKenzie left a fresh pile of manure near his van, then Bruce decided to go for a full spur attack! This all happened within about 10min and I’m sure he thought he was visiting the Beverly Hillbillies or something!

The longest day, but I was in bed by 8pm.
Our recent guests had suggested I look into Mindfulness, they thought it would be beneficial for me.
I mentioned this in a Facebook post and got great support & advice about it.

Friday morning, woken by the Farmer and the Poodle!

The Poodle has found the pony muck and began to eat it!
The tame sheep was butting the doors wanting to be in the house. I gave him some kale to pacify him, he just came back for more!
Car wouldn’t start.
Everything was in absolute chaos.
I text Alistair two say about car and that I was so done in, then went to beat the hell out of some butter & sugar, which would result in a sunken Lemon cake!
Then, I heard a “Good Morning” echo through the hoose.
Alistair had actually driven back up to Tulloch to see to the car and see that I was okay.
Now love shows itself in many forms and this was one of those forms.
Was cross with Alistair for making the journey, but yet was so happy to see him.
I was stood in what looked like a bomb site, whilst emptying Kitchen Bin, bag had split over the floor, baking ingredients everywhere, I spilt me coffee and had me arm stuck in fleece pocket instead of sleeve.
Alistair was laughing and just laughed & laughed.
It was a priceless moment and his wee surprise visit made my day.

As did the dozen or so bikers who would shortly follow to visit TWSG … AND … they thought the Lemon Cake was delicious!

Found a poor dead Blue tit fledgling on the lawn this morning.

I hadn’t told Alistair, but McKenzie likes to play with the hosepipe and there has been a couple of rips appear in it. Today whilst hosing the yard, the almighty of bangs. The hosepipe had exploded! I do not know who got the biggest fright, sheep, pony or me! But do know that I was the one who was soaked! Said hosepipe is now in several bits.
This is a mad house!

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Loch McBasil

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Seat in Tulloch Meadow

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Feeling blessed with my beautiful peonies

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Before…

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…After Sheep & Pony attack!

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McKenzie got the last flower!

Basil Fawlty …

Saturday 5th May and another beautiful day break, alas, short lived.

Good Gallery day and the new Galley in the Gallery was launched.

Come 3pm, it was between now and 6pm that tonight’s guests were due to check in. Just before 6pm, Phone rang, due guests …. “Would 7 or later be okay, we’d like to do more sightseeing”! I am ashamed to say that I turned into Basil Fawlty within a split second! And the French girl soon felt my wrath down the phone! We were meant to be going out tonight to the Kirky Bar for Gary’s official opening night. When they arrived, they also wanted to use the kitchen and wanted to checkout before 7am. Basil Fawlty part two came on!

I have been contemplating finishing Airbnb, well, am certainly cutting down bookings and on a whole, we have been blessed with guests, but ones like these really do make me question it and as I said in my review of them, a hotel would have been a better option for them. By the girls own admission, she just hadn’t read the house manual or my welcome message.

Sunday 6th May – What a cold dull one! Then after mid afternoon, the skies cleared and the sun burst. It almost became too warm! Time for a glass of Prosecco (Or two) and to soak up some free vitamin D. Stunning sunset, even our Russian guests took a walk down the glen to view it.

Monday 5th May – Woke at 12.30am, paddled round the house, eventually returning to bed, only then to be rudely woken by the Poodle!

Disappointed to see the sunshine had gone, was colder again and then there was a downpour! Typical Bank Holiday and reckoned it would be a quiet gallery day. Come lunch, out came the sun and what a beautiful afternoon and I was (Pleased to say), wrong about a quiet gallery day, help was needed! Also pleased to say, that the Tulloch menagerie behaved themselves with visitors today.

No idea what’s up with 4G, lack of it is driving me mad!

First Wasp of the season today.

The Galley

The Galley in the Gallery

Chickens Enjoying the Sunshine

Tulloch Sunset

May the 4th be with you …

3rd May – What a beautiful start to the day, blue skies, sun, birds singing and heard my first Cuckoo of the season.

By 7am, grey skies and cold! And it stayed like that for much of the day.

Friday 4th May – Change Over, Ironing, Bread Made, Grocery Shop and The Wee Scottish Gallery Facebook Page all done by 9am! And what another beautiful start to the day.

10am – yep – grey cloud!

Another nonstop day, but more about that in next entry.

In the meantime, please go Like the new Facebook Page … Wee Scottish Gallery

8.30pm and time for tea and then the gravity blanket will soon be calling Zzzzzx

Spring Lambs …

What a manic couple of weeks! And way behind with my journal. It has been nonstop busy! But … the joyous news is … that I have been sleeping! The Gravity Blanket seems to be doing its stuff. I have still woken during the nights, but managed to pretty much fall right back to sleep again. I am nae very good at explaining things, but the gravity blanket is the most amazing feeling. I have my fathers legs , now those of you who know , will know that this is not necessarily a good thing, yet this weighted blanket makes them feel so light and I’ve had no aches during the night from them.

18th April – Saw my first Lambs of the Spring.

Lost me phone in the evening. I’d left it in the Fridge! I know, well, don’t know, so please don’t ask.

Haven’t had a Brambling in the garden this winter, but this morning (Sunday), heard a noise and there was one in the Cherry Tree above the feeders.

Woke in discomfort, this was due to the Poodle & the nest he had made out of me Gravity Blanket. Told him I would look at getting a kennel for him today!!!

Trying to integrate Barclay and others, McQuack nae impressed and puffs himself out at Barclay! Also, think Barclay fancies the Tame Sheep!

Tuesday 24th April 7.30pm – The first Swallow has arrived, but a summer it doesn’t make!

Wednesday 25th The Tame Sheep has it in for McQuack and chased him down the glen!

Thursday 26th April – 4.31am, woke to Bruce cock a doodle doing! Wtf!

6.30am Bruce’s song was replaced by that of a Song Thrush, beautiful

Saturday 28th April – Beautiful but frosty and a covering of fresh snow on the hills.

Alistair in earlier tonight, so we headed off to the pub for tea.

Sunday 29th April – Cool start but beautiful & it soon warmed up.

Visitor sat out with Coffee enjoying the sunshine, when McDuck appeared off her nest and without warning, pretty much beat the hell out of Bruce the Cockerel! She soon had him literally pinned to the grass and was showing no mercy! I had to intervene with a stick, then Bruce turned on me! The visitor just sat drinking his coffee taking it all in!

1st May – Seriously, where is this year going to?!! May Gosling, but still no sign of Ducklings yet, surely can’t be long now? Though Muscovy do take 35 days.

2nd May – Another manic day and just as manic tomorrow. All will be revealed (Hopefully) at the weekend. It was a downpour last night and the river was in full flow this morning.

Looking out onto more new born lambs as I type this.

All in in all, it’s been a stressful couple of of weeks and the Tulloch menagerie are still running amok.

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McDucks Downy Nest

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Alistair & McQuack