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Sunday, 23 February 2014

After the Rain (also the name of an Arran Aromatics fragrance!)

Sunshine arrived like a long lost friend one morning last week glistening on the snowdrops in the village and on the snowy mountain tops. It’s been a long wet and windy spell on Arran though nothing like as extreme as the stormy weather that has repeatedly hammered the south of England. At Lochranza the hills shelter us from the full impact of southerly winds, but getting on and off the island since Christmas has involved closely scrutinising weather forecasts to judge when the Caledonian Isles will be able to sail. High tides have nibbled away at the island’s edges and, in places, taken out a big mouthful, Maybe it’s time we pinched an idea from our prehistoric ancestors and started building crannogs on stilts to live in. I sometimes wonder if the ceilidh tradition of Scotland came about as a creative response to long dark wet winters. Anyway, one sunny morning and you’d think the storms had never been. There is very little pollution in the west coast air and sunshine after rain makes everywhere look freshly created in brilliant colours.

Another highlight of this time of year for us is the Lochranza Village Hall Burns Supper. A tasty traditional meal of cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, neeps and tatties, followed by Arran oatcakes, Arran cheese and Arran shortbread is punctuated with speeches and songs. We are well-fed on this island! The toasts, naturally, are made with Arran single malt. Two centuries later, it’s surprising to realise just how many well-known expressions come from the pen of Robert Burns.

The big news of the last week is that the Corrie seal was washed away in a storm and washed up at Turnberry Golf Course in Ayrshire. The wooden seal was carved by Arran sculptor Marvyn Elliott and was so lifelike that almost every passer-by stopped in their tracks to see if it was real. Hopefully, it will soon return to bask outside the Corrie Hotel once more.

A bit of sunshine has had the effect of a powerful energising drink on us. We open next Saturday so on with the outdoor painting!

Here’s Nigel polishing pods!