It has been a sad week. Down to London for my sister Geraldine's cremation. A good gathering of good people remembering a good and delightful person.
The drive down to Glasgow was through some of the most beautiful light conditions I have ever known, the Highlands truly magical. Many memories of walks and climbs with my family, Geraldine as fit and able as any.
Before that, I was near Auchtermuchty with dear friends of many years, John and Nickie Fletcher, and then on to Dunfermline to help launch Sir Patric Spens (Dunfermline) - one of two really beautifully produced books to which I have been privileged to contribute: the other was Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr's Wayfaring Strangers – the musical voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia, (University of North Carolina).
Back on Skye, it turns out our lovely Highland-Aberdeen-Angus cross, Rose, is not pregnant for the third year running, which means we will have to sell her. Meanwhile, it seems likely that Robert's slow approach to titbits is occasioned by teething - he is 3 years old and it is round about now he'd be getting his proper teeth, which would explain his drooling and generally looking rather miserable.
My son Sean is here, fixing everything from leaves and peat dross to computers. A real blessing.
Just back from a visit to the Arn Hill rock gong to record it and its "child", a smaller rock gong snuggled up against it. I had the company and musical contributions of Will and Becks Boyd-Wallis and their two kids, Hebe and Jack. Such fun! The sun set and the moon rose, and the cattle were intrigued. This in preparation for a presentation I am to give in Gdansk on rock gongs in December.
I also went to Crathes Castle to meet and discuss with representatives of the National Trust for Scotland about the reconstruction of the unique bell-ended flute depicted on the ceiling painting of the 9 Muses, dating from 1600. Rod Cameron has made an initial reconstruction and Elizabeth Ford will play it. Watch this space.
This is all after a holiday with my wife Bar in the Pyrenees with dear friends, and then the spectacular Gorges du Tarn (best pork pate in the world) and finally with my beautiful grand-daughter Eva Hind, who sings with La Grande Zsa-Zsa under the name Lark Hind, and whom I heard at a late-night concert outside Montpellier. Magic! Their CD La Grande Zsa Zsa is wonderfully French.
The cows are beginning to look to us for additional food - but there is still plenty on the croft for them. None-the-less, their enthusiasm for banana skins has upped a notch or two and, who knows, next week they might not reject the bean pods, were there any left. Poor Robert, being a connoisseur, has to sniff every bite carefully before committing himself, by which time it has been snatched from his lips by Dedee, who will eat anything and run to get it without the first clue as to what is on offer.