Thursday, 31 December 2009


Duck, in snow soup

Good news! Paul the Crofter is alive and has not been consumed by his ravenous animals.

I say this because I was beginning to get a bit worried having been down for the last couple of mornings and found nothing stirring. I mean the chickens were out poking around. The piggies were doing what piggies do. And Hyacinth was already complaining that her breakfast had not arrived. But no crofter to seen. Or heard.

Now the mystery is solved. Mr Crofter had been in bed till late [relatively late that is] recovering still from the effects of flu and Dad crofter had been coming over later in the day on account of the cold weather. The snow, ice and bitter wind type of weather. I can't blame them at all.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


The turkeys have landed.
Now the roof of their little house has been replaced and its drier in than out, the turkeys and some of the chickens have decided to go back inside at night. Meantime, flurries of snow have been coming down from time to time which the turkeys are not at all keen on. At least these two are still around!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Snow, straight road, crashed car.
[none hurt apparently and I wasn't driving when I took this]

Christmas has passed. The snow is still around since we had a nice dusting in the night and then it froze. As usual, there's people driving around the island like it was a hot summers day and I've seen two crashed cars near the village in two days. One would think that they've not seen snow before!Anyway, Mr Crofter is well used to the snow hailing from Yorkshire and all that. And since his chest is till coughing up the result of his flu, he is taking it easy and nestling up to the fire while eating our carrot cake. No doubt that'll be another week off!
Lets not forget Mr Crofter plus Mum & Dad crofter 'do' Christmas. There's even a nice tree in the window I noticed this morning as I lurked outside seeing if Mr crofter wa going to show himself. He did not.

Saturday, 26 December 2009


Turk outside Turk Towers.

It's Turk, the male turkey who has been creating havoc yet again. Not sure if this was the result of an unsettling disappearance of one of their clan recently but it almost led to the demise of two more.
Turk has nice night time accommodation adjacent to the feed store where he roosts along with his progeny and partner. This accommodation has a lovely plastic roof to let the winter light in and, a 'perch' on which he settles for the night and from which Dad crofter lifts him down from in the morning.
Somehow, Turk took a flying leap [ more leap than flying on account of his bulk] at the perch and rather than land delicately on the middle section he thumped heavily on the end section sending the other end thrusting upwards and through the plastic roof. Turk was stuck wedged between thix and there and his progeny sent up and possibly up through the plastic onto the roof of the house where they seem to prefer living from thenceforth on. Dad Crofter removed a ruffled Turk from his predicament but the youngsters have yet to return to ground level.

Friday, 25 December 2009


The Crofter and family relax in Crofter Towers after feeding the animals and celebrating Christmas with a fine meal.

Thursday, 24 December 2009


Mum Crofter doing all the work. Again

Flu has stricken The Crofter.
Mum & Dad Crofter have moved in so they can care for the ailing poor thing. I do know what he is going through since I may have given it to him in the first place!
Turkey numbers have dropped by one on the croft I'm informed. No doubt it's gone to meet its stuffing and will rise again in the morn.

All in all, I'm reliably informed it's been a good year at Crofter Towers and Paul, David and Sue would like to wish all the blog readers and friends a very happy Christmas and a wonderful 2010

Saturday, 19 December 2009


You'll just have to use your imagination on this. I'm ill. Throat and all that. Nothing that a swig of night-nurse/single malt mix won't fix.
And I did venture out earlier anyway. Down to the croft, bravely picking my way down the snowy lane and managing not to fall over. I shot a couple of frames of the white stuff falling over the croft, croaked at The Crofter, drank his tea and came home.
Maybe it'll be better in the morn - and the snow might still be there.

Imagine this snap showing The Crofter knee deep in snow flakes being chased by a turkey - who, I might add is destined for the pot soon. And despite me being a vegetarian its not a moment too soon since the toe-rag has attacked me more than once.
Ok, its a rubbish snap but that's how I feel. Did you think this blog was about The Crofter??
But since you ask, The crofter was suppose to out celebrating a friends birthday in Stornoway tonight - he'll be orange from all the Irn Bru he'll be drinking. And he might have problems getting home since the snow is coming down harder now!!!

Monday, 14 December 2009


Sometimes, just sometimes, when the time is right, when the feed-up has been done and the throat is parched, one has to have a cup of tea. Mr Crofter Sir does.

Saturday, 12 December 2009


It all started out so well.
"Oh botheration"
The guilty party is dragged to the Gulag
"Let me scratch behind your horns Rambo, you pain in the ........."

Rambo was in trouble today. Again. One moment he thought all his hogmanys had come at once and the next he was in solitary confinement.

It started on this lovely sunny morning - the warmest place in the Uk they said - and I can believe them. Mr Crofter Sir, went to feed up some sheeps in a croft he had been kindly given use of and found that the time had come to move them So, off went the little tribe led by the able Rambo who, obviously was keen to get back to normal surroundings.
Soon, the sheeps were in a holding field on the croft and it didn't take more than a mo before Rambo was chasing the young lambs that were already living there around intent on getting his manly way with them. "Oh botheration" said the Crofter. Or something like that. In a flash, Crofter Sir was in among his flock and grabbed a distracted Rambo by his everso slightly trimmed horn and dragged him into the cell thing. Rambo was not a happy bunny i can tell you. Or Ram come to that. But order was restored for the moment and a nice cup of tea was in order. So I left them to it and went and had one!

Thursday, 10 December 2009


This might be Tinga
Been a bit lad low so have not been out to be attacked by one of the turkeys - or humped by another. But will be back in full flow soon. I hope.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


I'm wondering whether Mr Crofter went out for an Urn Bru or two last night since when i hammered on the door at 10 am this morning there was no answer. The curtains were closed and the turkeys were looking shifty. I was hoping Mr Crofter might accompany Eve and I on a little strollette over the local hills. Still, we went and we came back and now I'm looking at some snaps I took of Mr Crofter and Dad crofter harvesting the Manglewurzels.
Maybe it'll be service as normal in the morning. If the gale subsides and the cow byre is still there!!

Friday, 4 December 2009


There's a couple of other crofter sites I've been put onto. The first is that of the Mangelwurzel Ale - Dennis with his Musings from a Stonehead, and also Paul on Raasay. Apparently Paul works on the wee ferry there.Tis a nice ferry to - Eve & I were on it last year :-)


Here it is the 30th post of this little blog-ette - and the crofters are still speaking to me. In fact we had quite a lovely conversation this morning in the sunshine on a cold winters day. We were discussing the raising of the Manglewurzels - along with the turnips and swedes. Mr Crofter Sir uses the Manglewurzels for feed for the livestock - and I can refer you to a previous post regarding the anceint machinery from Wexford - is 'chipped' by the mangle-chipper. That's what it is.

I'm also reliably informed that manglewurzels can also be used to make wine - but then so can just about eerything else it seems. I did some digging around on the ww and came up with a recipe for Manglewurzel Ale courtesy of another Scottish crofter. Please tell me if you try or have tried this!

BTW; the weather is still holding out. Cold but lovely and the hebridean sheep are just loving it! Seen above.

Thursday, 3 December 2009


I called into see Mr Crofter, yes the new grazing committee man, and had a little chat. As I do. We passed the time of day, I passed on a few hints on how he should do his work - and he rightly ignored me. All the time Mr Crofter was expertly making some teeth in his dental technician mode. I mentioned a stroll to the beach. Mr Crofter worked a bit faster and joined me in the lovely sunshine. Piggy grunted contentedly outside.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


I mean, just look at that. Eh? I get this every morning. Well at the moment it seems that way. When the winds not howling, the rain not coming in horizontal and roof-tiles flapping, threatening to break loose to form little flying head-cutters.
I snapped this up on the way down to The Croft the other day. I'd already been down on the beach for a paddling/walking meditation and then I get this! It just fair lifts the heart at this time of year.
The Crofter has a collection of machinery aimed at aiding the running of the croft - although sometime it takes more time to keep this ancient kit going than it does help. Or something like that. This is the dumper truck. I know its hardly F1 or even Massey Ferguson - a marque loved a revered among the locals - but it does Mr Crofter and his dad. Currently it sits on the croft slowly turning rust red - but i am assured it will start first - or maybe second time. Well, they will get it started somehow anyway. Possibly.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


It seems at one time, that Wexford in Ireland was a centre of much agricultural machinery manufacturing due in the main to the work of Philip Pierce &Co. Needless to say, one of its implements has made its way onto Mr Crofters premises. I have no idea what it is called but it looks fantastic and does a great job at doing what it does. Apparently. According to the newly elected grazings committee man anyway. I must listen next time he tells me what it does.

I took these snaps in a gale - a complete contrast to yesterday i can tell you. Then I was out on the beach at dawn! Now, its wet and blowin and the ferries have stayed put for the day.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


I had the full saga of the Moving of the Coows last night. Mr Crofter came over for a spot of Eve's famous Cullen Skink and a natter. Apparently, and its a pity I missed this, Hyacinth and her cohorts were eager to be moved down to their winter quarters. Ever since Mr Crofter and Mum & Dad crofter braved the elements [followed meakly and briefly by myself avec cameras] and sorted the fence post they had cruelly knocked down just as the weather closed in and merely a day after Mr Crofter had been triumphantly voted on to the Village grazings committee etc, all the fun of upsetting an easy life of The Crofter at a short distance had been taken away. And, since the air is a tad colder now, the wind stronger, the lure of a nice byre with some of the countless bales of hay that lay waiting outside for their delictation became too much of a draw.
Only to get from the croft where the coows had wreaked havoc on the fence - just a day after the vote and the committee etc - to the warm byre, the cows were required to negociate the road for a hundred metres or so. Did I not tell you that Hyacinth and co are Shetlanders? No? Oh dear.

If you Googleup Shetland Cattle [its ok I'll wait here till you have read a bit] then you see they are small, environmentally friendly and calm. Not this lot I can tell you. I suggest this lot have been exiled because of their stroppyness. And size. I might even regail you of the lassoing saga one day.

Anyway, everytime Mr Crofter Sir ['Sir' because he is on the Grazing Committee. Voted on you know] tried to get Hyacinth to show her pretty little head - the one with sharp horns an all - every time she did show at the gate to the road the flippin Coop delivery van came then, no sooner had that gone the bus arrived. I mean, it only comes once an hour-ish. The buses are great I tell you. Eve left her purse on the bus the other night [for the second time. I might add] and duly next morning Mr Bus Driver produced the aforesaid lost purse. He would have brought it round to the house like last time it happened but he kept getting held up by the Cow Saga outside - all through the afternoon!

In between each visit of the bus Sir Crofter would be dancing round the croft trying to entice Hyacinth and Co to have a little look-see, perhaps a little tit-bit from the bucket and possbly, pretty please a walk gently and with great control down the road to the nice warm byre.

By now, the villagers were beginning to look out their windows since this was now Wednesday and if this saga continued till Sunday, there would be Trouble Looming. Sundays, we, the Tolsta villagers, go to church, relax, meditate or in some cases watch TV. So I'm told. We have have no TV here so we meditate or walk. Or something. We don't walk cows down the road that's for sure!

But eventually, the coows decided the coast was clear and obviously had spotted the long lush grass on the other side of the road that hadn't been eaten to a bowling-green length by the Hebridean Sheep that spooked me the other day and to whom I spoke to VERY HARSHLY.
Hyacinth trotted off down the road with Sir trotting everso slightly faster in front. Then, like a flash, Tinga - one the tother-uns shot off at great pace down the lane causing an up-roar in the English Crofter-clan which got Sir Paul sprinting away out of harms way so quickly Mr Bolt would be proud of him. Then Tinga, recognising the bails of lovely hay and the byre came to a very abrupt halt, hooves skidding on the Tolsta Tarmac in true Road-Runner style.

Eventually, all the coows were safely housed in their warm-winter quarters again, sanity had reared its familiar head, Sir's heart had stopped beating at 300bpm and nice cup of tea was had by all.

As I said earlier, I wasn't there. I have no snaps of The Saga of the Coows. So you'll have to put up with these; Dad Crofter playing with the metal things to keep the beast from straying. And, Sir Crofter wondering what happened

Thursday, 26 November 2009


Fashion; just because one is a crofter, it doesn't mean that the latest fashions pass you by. In fact, I can honestly say that Crofter and Dad crofter are fair setting the fashion. In the village. Well, down that end of the village anyway. As you can see here.
Ah hem.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


The Culprit [I think. Was one of them anyway. Huh!]
Mum crofter keeps me out of the incident scene and traps me with those spooky little Hebridean Lambs.

The scene of The Fence Post Incident.
Ghreit loves me. I know she does. Arrived this morning to take her for a stroll on Garry beach and she barked with glee, span round three times before jumping into my car. That's how I know.

Hyacynth does not love me. She trashed a fence post yesterday knowing full well that there was a gale coming in and Paul the Crofter, newly elected onto the village grazing committee and all that, would have to come out and un-trash the fence post - with me, camera-laden following behind. That's how I know.

Paul the Crofter, newly elected.............. tolerates me. He lets me snap him up anytime while he, along with Dad crofter and Mum crofter do all the work. That's how I know.

I think Mum and Dad are rather ambivalent towards me. They smile at me. Me? Eh? So I snap them up, come home, develop my film and then sit in front of the fire and sip my green tea in a rather up-market way. I'm from Bath you see.

The weather is horrible. Hyacynth is a good forecaster - un-like the radio who even got the day wrong on the shipping forecast the other day. I'm still wet from venturing out onto the croft with PtC [+M&D] to sort the fence post. I stuck it out till the end. Well, till the end of the first bit when they had nearly got the stump of the old post out of the ground while Hyacynth looked smugly on.

I'd hate to be a crofter. I mean, I got spooked when the little flock of sweet Hebridean Lambs followed me down the croft today. I spoke to them Very Harshly I can tell you. And quickened my step and everything.

Its proper hard work and everything too. Once you have sorted the fence in the howling rain, the animals have been fed, get the amorous turkey extracted from your leg, you have to go and earn a living to pay for it all. Its not like this on The Archers is it?

ps. Yes, I lightened the pictures from reality so you could see them!


I was mooching around the croft yesterday exchanging pleasantries with Mr Crofter and fending off the amorous turkey when I noticed the light falling on this wonderful collection of tools in the feed shed. I love the look of old tools, they have so much texture and love ingrained in them - I was using a pile of old junk of a camera as it happens - so I snapped them up onto film. As you do. Well, as I do.

I hear one of the cows decided to go on walkabout yesterday - bashing down a croft fence and taking off towards the little village shop. Dad and Mr Crofter are out today mending the fences so, when I have walked Ghriet [an Afrikaan woofing dog] I shall be out snapping them up.
By the way, congrats to Mr Paul Crofter on his election to the village grazing committee. The first English crofter, possibly the youngest and certainly the nicest english crofter called Paul around here :-)

Monday, 23 November 2009


Pig is pinching the ducks mash again this morning. Ah well, at least the sun is shining

Friday, 20 November 2009


Chickens again. Or is it ducks. Whatever! Here's Dad crofter doing things in the old terraced hen-houses soon to be demolished [probably by a winter storm] to make way for a new hen-related development. Progress eh?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Chaos. That's the only way to explain it. I troll down to the croft to do a spot of snapping up at the croft to find the turkeys in the feed room trying to snatch an early feed [ they were threatened with the freezer as a home!], the piggies ran round the 'lawn' dispersing the ducks and chickens everywhere as they tried to pinch the chickens food - and did before being moved on by Sir the Crofter.
Dad crofter arrived and we went down to see the chickens - where I find that they have a chicken who thinks he is a duck. He lives happily with the ducks, he eats with the ducks, sleeps with the ducks. I wonder if he would eventually taste of duck!
I wandered back to the house to have a sane chat with Mum Crofter then went home.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


I had a metaphorical letter from a Mrs Trellis about the sheep who had tidy-up in the horn department. That was Rambo - a common name for a ram in these parts. Not sure if that's a reflection on the film viewing on the island, a lack of imagination or else I'm missing something in the Gaelic. Needless to say, he's fine. I say fine but what I really mean is that he is well and just as likely to butt you up the rear end as you stroll unconcerned down the croft, camera and lightmeter in hand, as he was before. As it happens I was on the tother side of the fence when I took this brave shot [?] and Rambo was looking for some chicken/duck food to supplement his morning toast Dad Crofter had already given him.

Friday, 13 November 2009


Paul the Crofter and Eve stroll down from The Croft towards the beach.

Its not all graft and hard work at the croft. Mum and Dad have just had a couple of days living it up on the mainland - and visiting the various retail outlets one can't access here on the seaward side. Paul gets into Stornoway one in a blue moon for a quiet IrnBru or to collect some more feed for the ever ravenous beasts he has. And then again my partner Eve and I drag him him down to the beach for a stroll from time to time - where Paul regails us with how wonderful life is etc. Always uplifting don't you know.

The Crofter gazes over the Minch to the mainland mountains some 30 miles away.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


Well, I can tell you the sheep look very happy at the moment enjoying the late season sunshine. At least I think its still sunshine but my paid job kept me out till midnight and I'm yet to peek out the window.
In true photographic style, that's mum crofter who'es head has been cut off in the image. Well, one has to stick to tradition!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Teeth! Who'ed ave em? Well, most of us would really given a downhill and a following wind. Only, some of us were given rather weaker natural teeth than others, some ate too many sweeties and others never looked after what they were given with the brush and floss. That's where the Dental Technical Artist comes in. Since it is they that make the crowns and bridges and dentures dentists decide we require.

Paul The Crofter, apart from chasing all over the croft trying to find that elusive Ewe, mend a chicken run, feed the cow or scratch the back of piggy gets to make his living as a dental technical artist. Of course, you all know the correct term for such a job is Technician, but since I know a little about the job and since I know the work Paul does, I shall henceforth call him a Dental Technical Artiste. This work provides an income so that Paul can run the croft which provides a lot of the food for him and his parents.

Many people don't even realise that this job exists. So I shall endeavour to try and remember the processes to make a denture that Paul carries out.
The dentist makes the impression and Paul makes a plaster mould from this. Then bite blocks are made. This enables the dentist to register the relationship between the upper and lower arch of the gums. From these bite blocks Paul then sets up the teeth onto a wax base and makes it look real pretty. I might add here that Lichtenstein is the false teeth king of the world – where the little white[ish] teeth are mainly made.
You following his??
The wax based teeth are then tried in the mouth to see if you can get them in and stay in, look like Simon Cowell [if that’s what you like !!!!!] or Sheryl Crow and not like one of Paul’s cows!
Now the really clever bit – the wax is then changed into acrylic and this is done using the loss wax process. Eh? The wax and teeth are put into plaster which is in two parts. When set, the wax is melted out and putty like acrylic paste is put in and then, under great pressure is cooked. The mould is then carefully cracked open, the dentures trimmed and lovingly polished and there you have it.
A potted version of a long and involved job that I am so pleased to have left behind some 20 years ago!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


Here's Nigel White II. He's a guinea pig - although I'm not sure he realises. Spends the day eating and sleeping it seems. Nigel is in his winter quarters and has a fine view of Paul making teeth through the window. Nigel shares his quarters with another GP whose name I'm rather unsure of.

Monday, 9 November 2009


I like to have porridge for breakfast. I was recently informed that my 'bad' cholesterol was a little high so I've taken out all the fatty foods from my diet and eat porridge most mornings. It's doing me good, I like it - especially with dried fruit and my sister's honey. And it feels like I'm doing Scottish. A bit. Having said that, I didn't manage to get up as early as I should have this morning so all I had was bread with pear and apple spread washed down with black coffee.

I popped down to The Crofters and find Paul The Crofter mooching round the kitchen like a turkey some weeks before Christmas. He's been out at a fireworks party the night before, has a cold, got up late and has to make some teeth before the post goes. Paul is a dental technical artist don't you know. Not wanting to disturb Paul's breakfast [milky coffee and cereal since you ask], I wandered outside to find Crofter Dad happily feeding the old ram [sorry, can't remember his name] and a few ewes . Feeding them TOAST !!!!!!!! I mean, these are sheeps aren't they?? Apparently, Dad has always fed one of the sheep toast for breakfast "and it wouldn't be fair not to feed the others" I'm told.
I spend a few moments scratching Piggy's back and traipse back home bewildered.
Oh, and a very Happy Birthday Mum Crofter.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


Horning - or something like that

It might have been Rambo - or it might not. I have not quite got my eye in as it happens. I could have been Querty - if that's how one spells his name. Anyway, whoever it twas was having an issue with his curly horn - which look so lovely on the postcards that sell like hot cakes in the Big City of Stornoway and passes for ART - whatever that is. The curly horn was a day of two away from pressing hard on the ram's cheek near his eye rendering his sight of the lovely ladies nearby impaired somewhat. So now we have the the second act of the day - the first being the penning of the rams - the second being The Sawing of the horn. Eh??

We don't do this sort of thing in Bath Spa where I'm from but I'm assured by Susan, The Crofters Mum, that you get used to it and anyway, it needs to be done. So out comes The Saw! At which point I barely stop myself from fainting and hold on discretely to the fence. The ram is held securely by Crofters Mum and Dad, cloth protecting Rambo's [or whoever it happens to be] eye and sawing off the edge of the horn commences. I'm reliably informed one can't just hack the whole thing off as it bleeds, but like a tooth - that both Mr Crofter and I know a little about having both been in that flippin trade and Mr Crofter Sir is still in - like a tooth, it doesn't always hurt if you saw a bit off. I just hope my very nice and adept dentist in Stornoway isn't reading this......

These aren't not the best pictures of this act but I was getting glare from something in the sunshine. Just wish David would put his hat back on... :-)


Rams and the girls too
It the time of year in this village when the boy meet girl scenario happens. Sheep that is. The humans get their chance later.
There is a lot at stake here. You chose a nice ram who might like a few of the ladies and then you pop them together for a while and later you get some lovely little sheep-lets.
Only the boys have another idea and they've been fighting it out between themselves for the right to have the girls for themselves. Its a bit like what the deer do only you only have to look your window to see the rams rutting in the field. Actually, you can hear their heads crashing together while your supping a nice cup of green tea over breakfast sometimes. Its like Saturday night in Stornoway! [I'm told] You can see it in the rams too - with scars all over the shop. Pity really, because they all get a girl in the end anyway.
Here we see Mr Crofter and dad Crofter gazing lovingly at the girls before rounding them up to await their suitors.