** Anna V, please contact me to give me your
details so I can send you the calender you won!**
Davene, from Spilled ... because my Cup Overflows, asked me to show the photos I'd chosen for the 2014 calender. And so, here they are ...
The cover of the calender has this photo:
It shows some of the wild flowers that grow on our machair during the summer, and in the distance you can see our house. For a certain number of weeks each summer, the machair is cleared of all livestock and this gives these flowers the opportunity to grow and delight both our sense of sight and our sense of smell.
Ahhhhh ..... summer.
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This thatched village has been restored and some of the houses are now available for holiday lets. One of the homes is used as a museum which shows what island life was like in times past. The last of these homes were actually still home to folks right up until the 1970s. When the final few older residents moved to modern homes - homes without thatch, and all the additional work that entailed - the houses were given 'conservation status'.
The houses seem to us to belong to another world, and yet ... thick stone walls, their low profile, and the insulating thatch ... all these features make them ideal for the weather conditions here in Lewis.
And the materials are all to be found locally. I can see Green Grants being issued for the building of this type of home in the future - yep, sounds like a plan, Mr government-green-grants Adviser.
Y'all heard it here first, folks ;)
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February's photo needs no explanation.
Well, okay, I ought to explain that he doesn't always look like this.
This dirty? No.
This cute? Yep.
* * *
March could be nothing else but the lambs.
Here are some of Big Brothers' gorgeous lambs. Between March and April, he spends practically all his wakened hours in the Maternity Ward. So far, he's never felt it necessary to call for my help.
Strange that ...
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We had a gorgeous spell of weather in April, and I nipped out one morning to take a walk along the beach.
This was the same morning DR's run of Fire Service call-outs for moor fires began, but while I walked in these dunes, moor fires were the furthest thing from my mind. Early morning, I think, is the best time to wander down to the beach.
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Occasionally, Calum and I take a wee wander over to town, and on this lovely May day, we chucked a flask into the car with some sandwiches, a couple of books, and of course, his sword and additional weaponry.
* * *
June: the Callanish Stones.
My Dad joined Katie, Calum and I the day we took a spin around the West Side and visited the Broch and the Callanish Stones. It would seem that these stones have been around for around 4000 years. Yes, that's four thousand...
* * *
July's photo is of the Wee Guy, aka Calum Stewart, helping in the taking home of the peats.
The tractor is a Massey Ferguson 35, and has been in the Builder's family since way before we were married. It's been responsible for taking many loads of peats home.
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The photo I chose for August is from our friend, Calum's, trip to St Kilda. Our three St Kilda blog posts, Part I, Part II, and Part III, were amongst the most popular posts of 2013.
This is looking down on the Village Bay, Bàgh a' Bhaile, on a stunningly beautiful summer's day.
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We return to the Castle Grounds for September's photo.
This photo is taken from close to Cuddy Point, and shows the main part of Stornoway, the island's only town.
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We stay in Stornoway for October's photo.
This photo is taken from the town, looking over the inner harbour to the castle from with the Castle Grounds takes their name.
The castle was built by Sir James Matheson in the mid 19th century. Matheson, who'd made his money from the Chinese opium trade, had bought the island in 1844, and the castle and wonderful grounds are his lasting legacy.
* * *
November: an early sunset and a reminder that we will all, one day, die.
I love visiting the cemetery - not for morbid reasons, but because my visits bring reality home to me. My grandparents are buried here, as are the Builder's parents. There are graves belonging to many, many people I knew: some reached old age, and others were called out of this world way before the expected 'three score years and ten'.
I am sad, yet rejoice, when I read some of the gravestones. They speak of people who are now in heaven, awaiting the resurrection. They are people with whom I will spend eternity, and together we will sing praises to the Lamb in the midst of the Throne.
There are some that make me weep: in the early part of last century, there were so many young children who died as a result of illnesses that are so easily cured now. How blessed we are with the age in which God's providence placed us.
Other graves speak of sons who never returned from the World Wars. That, in turn, speaks of unspeakable heartache and that makes my heart sore for mothers and fathers whose grief was unimaginable.
This also makes me thankful for the time in which I live.
* * *
December's photo was also taken by our friend, Calum, when he visited St Kilda.
When I posted this photo on Homeschool's Facebook page recently, a lady contacted me to say that the closest house in the photo is where her mother was born, and where she lived until the final evacuation of the island in 1930. Wow!
I find the scenes from St Kilda so poignant. I think any poet, or writer, or composer, or artist, who is struggling with inspiration ought to take a visit to this island.
The stones truly speak, even though the homes are empty and silent.