Last weekend I spent a few days with friends and family in the Cairngorms. Despite some very heavy rain, and the discovery that the raincoat I’ve had since I was thirteen is no longer at all effective, it was lovely to spend some time in the woods.
We stayed at the Lazy Duck hostel,which is friendly and cosy and where we got to see some very special creatures. I think this is the closest I’ve ever been to a red squirrel.
The owners of the Lazy Duck have recently acquired a few Soay sheep, a primitive rare breed from St Kilda. They shed their fleece naturally and don’t really behave much like modern sheep, they were pretty skittish and have no herding instinct.
Staying at the hostel also led me to add another feature to my dream home list – an outdoor fireplace.
My mum and I spent a few hours hurting our backs, foraging for these little wild blaeberries – determined to pick enough to make something with.
And we succeeded, bringing home just enough for a few wee jars of jam.
It isn’t especially good jam, the first I’ve made for years, overcooked and with too much sugar.
But it was fun to make and does remind me of the woods and squirrels – can’t buy that in the supermarket.
.... And it's a big one! Usually, the sale runs across a set number of days and things get pretty fast paced around here with shipping and customer service emails. With the need to continue to prioritise staff safety and a smaller team than usual, we decided to make this a whole birthday month.