A few people who have made the move to Colonsay have commented that one downside is that you lose your favourite holiday destination. So far I haven’t really felt this. Probably because Colonsay has always felt like home to me rather than somewhere we went on holiday. However I have felt jealous of all the holidaymakers heading off to the beach each day. With Allan’s sister and our friends coming and my sudden freedom from the shop I decided to indulge myself with a weeks ‘staycation’. Apparently this is becoming more and more common. Cany Brits are shunning foreign climes in order to stay at home for a week and enjoy the British weather. The phenomenon has become so massive that foreign holiday tour operators are in serious decline!
The first few days of holiday went swimmingly. (Well I didn’t actually swim but one member of our party did!) The weather, although not fantastic, was at least dry for several long periods. The highlight of Allan’s sister’s stay was our trip to Oronsay on their last day. Oronsay is a tidal island at the south end of Colonsay. When the tide is out there is a five-hour window where you can cross over and visit the 14th century priory on the island. Since we had 3 very young children between our two parties and walking is a slow and painful process we decided to maximise our time on Oronsay by taking Allan’s car over. I thoroughly enjoyed driving past all the visitors making their way across the sand. Cheerily waving to them out of the window of Allan’s decrepit Mazda. Allan didn’t enjoy things quite so much. He expressed some concern as we drove through the deeper water and seemed a little distressed when the exhaust kept scraping off the rocks. We all shared his concern when, on arriving at the Priory, the hiss of air escaping from one of the tyres was worryingly audible. We felt slightly less smug as all of the visitors we had passed on the sand walked byt Allan while he changed the tyre! After looking round the priory and establishing that the thermos of coffee I had brought really had melted the bar of chocolate beyond all reasonable hope of rescue we headed back to the shore and spent a pleasant half hour searching for mussels. Allan’s sister demonstrated a rare talent for this and found more than the other three adults combined. Indeed she became so obsessed she had to be dragged away from the rocks as the tide threatened to envelop us all.
Our second batch of visitors arrived on Monday night in time to enjoy dinner with the Swedes (mussels featured heavily on the menu along with haggis which I don’t think they will be ordering again any time soon) before they left very early on Tuesday morning. As I previously mentioned these friends seem to be particularly out of favour with the weather gods and almost as soon as they set foot on the island the heavens opened. We’ve done our best to keep our spirits up. On the first day we went to Machrins beach in the pouring rain. The children didn’t seem to mind. Helen and their little boy looked charming in the their matching puddle suits and both paddled away and played in the sand seemingly impervious to the, at times, torrential rain. Eventually I put Sally down on the sand too where she proceeded to try to eat the entire beach and threw herself face first into the moat that Allan had dug to hold back the encroaching tide. We were pleased to see that we were not the only lunatics on the beach. There was at least one other family with drenched parents braving the elements whilst their children played happily in the driving rain.
The weather really has made things difficult though. Yesterday we visited the fire station which was in inspired suggestion from Allan. The two toddlers thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the fire engine although Helen expressed disappointment that she was not actually allowed to drive it. Whilst I was preparing dinner and sweeping some of the sand out of our house the sun briefly appeared. Our friends, ever the optimists, immediately rushed out to the beach where they were met by monsoon like rain with the addition of thunder and lightning. I really am deeply concerned that they will never come back. To Colonsay I mean, they made it back from the beach unscathed although quite soggy.
Today dawned sunny though and after a few set backs including the unwelcome presence of a strimmer in our car we set out to walk over to Ardskenish – one of my favourite beaches. I carried Helen on the way there and following this ordeal I plan to put her on an immediate starvation diet – that child is heavy. Helen tried out her new wetsuit on the beach – this was made even more exciting when she announced that she needed a poo and the wetsuit had to be removed post-haste. She did in fact leave a calling card in the sand (now buried) but sadly became hypothermic whilst the wetsuit was off and required to be resuscitated with bananas and rice cakes. Our friend’s little boy took a perverse pleasure in knocking down sand castles faster than anyone could build them and his five-week old sister was thoroughly unimpressed by the whole outing – I’m not sure she actually opened her eyes the entire time she was there. She made up for it with some charming smiling this afternoon though.
The problem with visitors is that spending time with them is so much more fun than carrying out the mundane day-to-day tasks which generally require to be done. As a consequence our house is even messier than usual. The utility room is so full of laundry you can’t really get into it. Our new washing machine is currently assigned to be delivered to Falkirk and other than the few luxury goodies our kind friends left behind we have no food. tomorrow is not going to be a fun day.
All in all though I have thoroughly enjoyed Colonsay as a holiday destination. Plans are afoot for a reciprocal visit to Sweden next year but I will definitely consider Colonsay for future holidays.