Christmas is a coming ……..

….. maybe someone should tell the weather gods though, because according to all faerie tales, christmas cards and most folk lore, it should be snowy and  crisp, children should be throwing snowballs and skating on ponds by now. However, we have gales and heavy squally rain showers and more soggy sheep than you can throw a hat at. All the grasses, shrubs and indeed tender trees have a definite list to the east thanks to such strong westerlies and the birds all fly as if they are participating in some bazaar race to the other side of the glen, tacking against the wind in order to make headway.

Talking of birds; there’s a keen sense of wonder as I sit at my weaving loom and sense a shadow skim past the window. Quickly looking up, my attention is grabbed as the Sparrow Hawk sweeps in low and deadly with mind-bending speed and grace snatching a small bird from the feeders for his breakfast. He’s devastatingly quick and agile, he’s also cunning! He’s quickly learned over past months that if he skims low and fast, close to the house banking around and rising fast from below the garden wall he will be successful in his quest. Devastatingly successful for the most part. However, I watched him yesterday in pursuit of what turned out to be a very lucky finch, as he powered after it whilst crossing the glen. But agility and speed are not the sole preserve of the hawk. It is quite breath-taking watching a small finch smaller than the palm of my hand, perform incredible aerial acrobatics in a bid to avoid becoming lunch.

December, it appears is the time when Skye’s crofters put eager rams into the fields for a couple of weeks of tupping. You’d be surprise at the antics going on, some of those ewe’s are just brazen hussies yet it can be quite amusing watching a massive ram barreling across the field in hot pursuit of a young ewe whose not so eager and knows the field slightly better than he does. Its all to no avail though as he will catch her in the end and then next year she’ll be as brazen as the rest of her cohorts. Last year our local crofter put three very handsome rams into the field behind our house  which resulted in a very pretty assortment of lambs from Blackface to Texel. This year the rams are all Blackface but just a eager and the lambs will be just a cute if not quite so varied. Today he removed the rams and relocated the ewes for the winter to get a bit of peace and quiet consoled with new grass to chew on. I wonder, do sheep suffer from morning sickness? Just a thought!

Three lovely Tups from North Uist, don't they look grand!
Three lovely Tups from North Uist, don’t they look grand!

With weather like this, walking the dogs is a mission in itself! Today grabbing the opportunity by its horns I drove down to Carbost and walked the girls along the Pier Road to the pier and back. Not a great distance but clearly enough with lots of fresh doggie smells to keep them busy for at least a good 30 minutes or more. Wasn’t long though before we were beset by a huge dark cloud that came lumbering over the hill and promptly swept us along, pelted us with hail and systematically drenched us. But the patterns on the water and the after light of this brief wintery blast was to my mind worth the experience.

Loch Harport looking wintery
Loch Harport looking wintery
Lila & Tali - when there's plenty of lovely smelly things to sniff out who cares if its raining?
Lila & Tali – when there’s plenty of lovely smelly things to sniff out who cares if its raining?

Well the Christmas tree is up, presents are beneath……..

Christmas Tree all set up in the Breakfast room
Christmas Tree all set up in the Breakfast room

….. and today I got on with putting marzipan on the cake. Tomorrow it’ll be the icing and ‘fancy bits’. I’m finally getting into the festive mood it would seem.

Marzipan on the cake, additional decorations ready to paint.
Marzipan on the cake and a additional ‘fancy bits’ ready to paint.

Before we know it Christmas day will be upon us again and we’ll all be saying for the umpteenth time ‘where did the year go?’ as we march inexorably towards 2016. But consider this: why is it, that the older we get, the faster the years go by? Well I know they don’t really but somehow, with so many tasks and responsibilities to fill each day, they seem to go so much faster than when we were children or maybe it was just that we noticed ‘other’ stuff more then, distracting stuff – everything was new and fresh and just had to be explored. I don’t remember thinking Christmas could never come fast enough when I was four or even eight, life was just so full of…..well, being alive.

I read somewhere today that ‘happiness is a journey not a destination.’ It’s probably something we should think on while we’re expecting life to be better if only the sun would shine, or can’t wait until spring when the bulbs all come up and there’s a bit of colour. If we only look with telescopic sight into the future we will miss the bits that happen in our peripheral vision, all the things that make the picture whole and in fact enrich our lives, making us, dare I say it…. happy?

Happy Christmas everyone, just don’t loose sight of what’s happening today 🙂

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