So yesterday saw me learning something new and that was a Jewellery Course and how to make a Silver Ring!
Since moving to Tulloch, I am realising, that Kirkmichael seems to be the hub of The Glens. There is always something going on and it will often take place at The Session House in the centre of the village.
We are all kept up to date by Newsletters sent out by Petrina and I am often surprised by how much there is to do and to get involved with.
But since our move here, I just haven’t found the time to participate in things yet.
Upon receiving a Newsletter about a Jewellery Course run by the talented Sheila Roussel, I decided I HAD to make time.
I am always keen to learn something new and it would be a great opportunity to meet new faces too.
So yesterday, I took the short drive to the village to learn a new skill.
I was joined by Jeanette, Lyndsey and Carolanne, we would become The Fellowship of the Rings.
There were four workstations set out for us, with all the tools that we would need for this course.
I was sat wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew and hearing some of the others discuss their college & university textile course etc, I was starting to feel out of my depth, but this was all short-lived and our tutor Sheila soon put us all at ease and we were soon away working with Copper.
This would be our practise run and once we had produced a Copper Ring, we would then be let loose with the Silver.
Within no time, I was thoroughly enjoying myself.
Because this was a beginners course, it was all broken down into the stages we needed to go through to produce our rings and I don’t think we could have had a better tutor than Sheila to explain everything to us
We would begin by sizing our fingers (Or in my case, I would opt for a Thumb Ring). Then measure our metal and saw to the correct length.
This was followed by filing, then forming the actual band, then trying to bind the ends together (Tad tricky), that was before the soldering, then pickling.
It was then time for us to shape, smooth and finish our rings.
WOW, I had actually produced a piece of silver jewellery!
Sheila inspected our work and we all were awarded with our wee certificates and we admired each others work, congratulated each other and all expressed an interest in doing another course with Sheila, perhaps a Necklace to match our new Rings??
I will definitely be making time for future courses! – Karen – x
These last two weeks, have been somewhat more chaotic than usual, as we have had the workmen in!
There are numerous jobs in need of doing here at Tulloch, but what we really needed doing in the house first, was a new Shower for the Guest Room.
Also, I wanted to get the Kitchen sorted, so it was more user friendly and workable for us and all our guests.
So who better to enlist to tackle these jobs other than Jim & David from AJM Property Renovations
And…. Tah Dah the jobs are completed.
I collect Scotland and Nature books and had a small bookcase in the Kitchen with books I thought would be useful for our guests, but it was just looking lost, clumsy etc
I have been carrying around this idea in my head now for a while, it was a new shelve system to replace the bookcase, but me trying to relay that idea to Jim & David, was another thing all together!
So, we would go visual, with me laying out all books etc in order on how I would like to display them, with other added sections for Mr Fox, First Aid Box, Sewing Box, Games etc
Jim & David got their heads together and began work in a shed outside, I would wait apprehensively, did they get what I meant??!
Well, yes they did!
When it came to carrying in the finished project, I was literally squealing with delight.
They had managed to interpret my idea perfectly.
Also, the Fridge was a bit of a white elephant, so we decided to lose some kitchen units to get it fitted in and we would make a walk in Pantry, which I just love.
Have now been busy cleaning down and putting everything in their new places and then getting ready for this evenings guests, who will be first to try out the new Shower Room.
It has been so worth it, just a few alterations has made all the difference.
And all we need to do now, is decorate the kitchen!
Any volunteers, please step forward, free holiday for any painters!
– Karen – x
For as long as I can remember, the 2nd of February always heralds the start of a New Year.
Don’t get me wrong, have always celebrated Hogmanay, but with Gamekeepering, the year would end on the 1st February and the new one would begin on the 2nd.
It was like that when I was a child and my Father was Gamekeeping and then when I followed in his footsteps, it obviously continued and it has stayed with me, like it is in my blood and is a hard traditon to shake off, well I wouldn’t particularly want to anyway.
So, I usually find the 1st & 2nd a time of reflection and a time of new beginnings etc.
Reflecting, has me thinking what a year 2016 has been!
This time last year, if you had asked me about me wanting to return to my beloved Ardmair, then chances are I would have jumped straight in the car before I could have answered you and I would be there.
Now here in 2017 and if you were to ask me the same question, well, I just could not answer you, I would be torn! Hey, bet you didn’t see that one coming, well nor did I!
2016 has of course, seen us move (Again) and I am loving Tulloch and life in the Glens, (Though a tad disappointed with the lack of Snow lol).
And if you had told me that I would be living in a place where I stayed in a Holiday Cottage just two years previously, well I doubt I would have believed you, but here I am.
Tulloch is pretty hard, but rewarding work, we knew it needed things doing to it, but it is not until you are actually living in a place, do you realise how much does need doing!
Builders are here again the now whilst I type and we seem to just keep moving things from room to another as work continues.
Of course, the main job has been getting the new Gallery ready, which I really had hoped would have been open by now, but, we have to wait just a wee bit longer yet and for those who know me, you’ll know that I am not the most patient of folks and that my patience is really being put to the test here.
There was a bedroom downstairs here at Tulloch, separate from the others, on seeing the view from that room, I had instantly bagged it for my office and was well on the way to getting it set straight, but then… Oooh, I know, lets do Airbnb as well!
So I moved the office into another room and August 2016 saw the start of Tulloch Airbnb
And neither Alistair or I did not foresee how well it would take off.
Now you may not know, but many years ago, I studied Hotel & Catering Management, I qualified, but then almost right after getting my diploma, I finally got my chance at Gamekeeping, so I had no intentions of ever using any of my learnt skills.
But, I am using them now. Its funny, how things from life past can suddenly one day reappear and come back into play again, even for those briefest of moments.
Now, I am no domestic goddess or anything and our home is a working one and definitely has that ‘Lived In’ look about it, but I am loving the Airbnb and the many new people and new friends we are meeting/making.
With it still being a new project, it is still a learning curve, but on setting up the room, I just took a step back and thought, what would I like??
With Barclay, camping really isn’t an option at present, so if I am on the road, a bed and breakfast would be the next option, but sometimes, by time a morning shoot has finished, I have known for me to be too late and have actually missed breakfast, so that was the first thing, breakfast is pretty much a laid back affair, it is there for when IT suits our guests, including my freshly made bread, which I am now making on a daily basis.
The room, well I have added lots of wee extras, which I hope help make the guests welcome, relax and feel right at home.
If I wouldn’t sleep in the room, nor does anyone else type thing.
The Kitchen has become the real social hub of Tulloch, dining table in the hub of that hub and already it has seen many great discussions, including many political and historical, seen map/route planning, seen whisky tasting, seen games nights, seen many a dinner, seen much laughter, seen much coffee and one highlight, was Fondue night, shared with a wonderful couple from across the pond and I learnt that when you lose your food mid dip, you kiss the person to your left (Fortunately, on my left was Alistair lol), all of these have made for some wonderful new memories in the short time since we begun Airbnb.
Also, going back to my education years, a couple of us planned to travel the world, sadly it had to be cancelled, but with many international guests here at Tulloch, in a way, I feel like I am getting a taste of travelling the world now and that itself, is so uplifting and inspiring.
Thank you to our guests for sharing your travels with us and thank you for choosing to stay at Tulloch as part of your travels.
2016 saw the release of the Nikon D5 and I was chomping at the bit for that gold box to arrive at Tulloch, my expectations of this Camera were not at all disappointed.
Another superb bit of kit from Nikon, which just felt right from the off.
I like the D800, but I did not connect with it like I had with the D3, that was soon put right again with the D5.
But, with all that has been going on these last few months, I still haven’t used the D5 a fraction of what I would have liked, but, that time is about to start, as this next week should see the end of current work, which just leaves the decorating and setting out of the Wee Scottish Gallery for February.
And I need to be out and about doing some Photography to relax!
Since Christmas, it has been nonstop, work, work and oh look, some more work.
Whats that saying, you are waiting for a bus, then three arrive at once? Well, its been that kind of thing.
I am exhausted the now.
All work and no play, doesn’t make Karen a dull girl, but, it does make me a poor friend at times, for that, I sincerely apologise, so many of you I need to get caught up with, be there for and cherish and enjoy, as so it should be.
Out and about, well I have been, mainly locally and mainly on foot.
So many paths to follow and new things to explore around Tulloch, it has been all about finding my way round, finding my feet and having wee adventures.
Also, still trying to teach Barclay a few things, though I reckon that is a lost cause, am sure McBasil wasn’t as bad as this, though my Mother says I am looking back through Rose Coloured Glasses and that McBasil was indeed a wee sod when he wanted to be!
Thing is, Barclay does know things, he does know when he should be behaving etc, what he should do, but in a split second *Squirrel* it all goes, I just despair and think I am fighting a losing battle with him.
Plans, I have pretty much given up on making them, I certainly do not plan well ahead anymore. 2015/2016 saw me having to change and cancel so many things, which in turn, causes unnecessary stress which, ends up affecting my health, so for me, life now works much better taking each day and week as they come.
My health, has much improved over these last few years, but I do realise and accept, that I will never be 100% again, so I work, live and adapt as to what suits me best.
Still get frustrated with things and sometimes a wee bit down that I can’t do what I think I should be doing, or what I see other folk of my age doing, but, on the other hand, I reckon I am very lucky, that things could be far far worse and on a whole, I do live a really good life, for which I am blessed and am extremely thankful for.
So has the year 2016 finally seen me settle down!??
Well, who knows!
I certainly am for the present, as said, I am loving Tulloch, but I do know that life can change at any given time and as some of you will know, normality and I have never gone hand in hand lol, I am indeed ready for some calm time and I have pretty much got everything unpacked and found a place for it at Tulloch, surprisingly, that is something I had not done at Ardmair, so maybe all this was meant to be?
I will now start this new day and year as per usual and that is with a Coffee whilst watching day break.
And I finish off by wishing you all a wonderful 2017 and The Journey continues – Karen – x
Last week, I took our AirBnb guests, Benjamin & Talise, out for the day.
And one of our stopping points, was at Knock Castle at Glen Muick.
Talise is from Brazil and one of her wishes was to see a ruined Castle and I had not actually been here before either, so it seemed a great choice.
Finding it wasn’t so easy, as it isn’t signposted and the only clues are, a row of cottages called Knock Cottages and stone walls, which obviously used to be a boundary once over.
After flagging down a passing van and with Benjamins navigation, we saw this stone track heading up hill through a wood, yes, I did drive up it, though you may prefer to walk if you visit.
As we headed out of the trees, we saw the lonely looking Castle across a field.
It is called a Castle, but is actually a Tower-House, which were the traditional homes of the Scottish Lairds.
It was built in the 16th century, small in scale, but was was four storeys high, all floors linked by a spiral staircase, part of which is still visible.
Knock Castle, was home to the Gordons family, it had been granted to them by the fourth earl of Huntly.
The Gordons, had an ongoing feud with the Forbes, which worsened after the Gordons were defeated at Corrichie by the Mary, Queen of Scots in 1564.
Henry Gordon, 2nd of Knock, was killed in a raid by a group of Forbes men and Clan Chatten men.
Henry was then succeeded by his brother Alexander and the feud with the Forbes still continued.
One day, Alexanders seven sons, went out to cut peat and they accidentally strayed onto land belonging to the Forbes.
They were seen and the Forbes Laird and his men attacked and killed all seven sons, they severed their heads, which they then tied to the Peat-cutting Spades, leaving them stuck in the ground there.
A Servant from Knock was sent out with a meal for the young men, it was he who found the gruesome sight.
He fled back to the Castle, to tell of this dreadful news.
And they say, that when Alexander Gordon heard this news and the fate of his sons, that he fell down the spiral staircase to his death.
The Forbes were executed for the attack and here ends the sad story of Knock Castle.
An unusual post for me, but that is because I find myself in unusual territory.
You see, I have got a new phone. No big shakes you may think, but it is for me, my beloved iPhone has been replaced with an Android! A oneplus 3. I have been using Apple for what seems an age now and am a huge fan, it just works. But, of late, my 5s has been getting slower, been unresponsive and just doing some pretty strange things. I got tired of resetting etc. I did get a 6+, but I literally started getting headaches with it, I didn’t think it was as good as the 5s and away it went to a new home.
The other week, my dear friend Dawn was up for a wee visit and I would take a couple of days off so we could go the touristy thing. The iPhone was acting even worse than usual and I was really struggling to get any photos with it. We visited the Queens View at Loch Tummel and of course I had the McNikon with me and as usual when at such places, folk will often ask for their photograph to be taken, this I don’t mind in the least, first up, was a Japanese couple, he was carrying a Nikon, so even better & it was a tad embarrassing when he was wowing and squealing with delight over the shot, but a simple please get it off auto and he was grinning like a Cheshire cat (If only it was always that simple), anyhow, no sooner had the now happy Japanese couple departed, an American couple appeared, again, would I mind taking their photo and the guy passed me a phone. Now this thing felt good! I took the image, asked him to double check it, he was another happy customer and showed me it. Wow, this image was crammed with detail and colour and had fantastic clarity, OK, what was this phone! He then went on to tell me about the next big thing, the Oneplus 3. He used to be an avid iPhone fan, but was less than impressed with the 6s, had problems, then happened to read about the Oneplus and decided to give it a go and he said he hasn’t looked back and that he had no intention returning to Apple anytime soon.
As the next day wore on, me iPhone was getting even worse! Took an image of us lunching at Braemar, we were back home and planning an evening out before it loaded up onto Facebook! I posted on Facebook, had anyone heard of Oneplus, got a few, what? But, then got a yes, this phone blows everything else out of the water!
So, here I am now, tip tapping this post on the Oneplus 3. And I still can’t believe I’m on Android. And I am torn! I haven’t even had it a day yet and am constantly questioning myself. Should I have waited and gone for the iPhone 7? Do I NEED the iPhone7? I have a very early Christmas present arriving next week, my mum’s iPad, mum bless, just isn’t into tech & gadgets etc, so being the dutiful daughter iam, I offered to take it off her hands. With that arriving, do I still need the 7! As said, I am so torn.
The Oneplus is so light, you don’t know you are holding/carrying it. There does definitely seem to be more, well, easier control of the camera. And the screen is crystal clear, with colours packing a punch. I have been viewing a wide range of images from different photographers on Facebook and wow they stand out, also, I can’t believe how bad the quality of my 5s photos seem! The Oneplus, has dash charge, 30min and it is fully charged. Went to bed last night, without having it plugged into the mains and there was huge amount of battery life left! I certainly couldn’t have done that with the iPhone, even the 6 was plugged in, though, I did find the battery on the 6 to be dire! I don’t know how many times the iPhone is on charge a day! This still hasn’t been on charge yet. And the Oneplus is super fast! It is so fast, that I find it ultra sensitive, if I hover on a button too long, some other option will pop uo. I like the swift keyboard, but just had to change back to the Google one since beginning to type this, as it’s typing double words? I don’t like, well, just aren’t used to the notifications on Android. I miss those wee numbers popping up on the top corner of apps, so much easier for me to see. Apps, I had so many on iPhone and sadly can’t find some of my favourites on Android. As said, I find the camera easier, but, am not liking the gallery up to now. Apple wins hands down on that. Have had no problem getting my icloud mail and apple music transferred onto the Oneplus, but of course, Contacts and Calendars not so. I am a huge fan of Otterbox Phone Cases, don’t know how many times I have dropped an iPhone in the past and Otterbox has always saved the day, so, I ordered one for the Oneplus, it is OK, but not a patch on the iPhone ones.
Have only take a handful of images so far and mainly in the low light last night and when I know me old 5s wouldn’t have done the job, so will add them to the end of this post. This post, it is mainly to help me think things out, Oneplus or iPhone and hopefully, if you have read my ramblings this far, then you’ll say whether your an iPhone or an Android fan. And this post, it’s been difficult for me to do, it’s that ultra sensitivity thing with a combination of my thumb and me just nae been used to Android. Fantastic to view, but I’ve struggled typing it. Just adding the images and have to say, it has actually been a breeze adding watermark and uploading. No edits, just exactly as they are out of camera.
So, will I stick with the Oneplus 3, or return to Apple??? Karen x
Today I am busy mounting prints for an order and an exhibition, Barclay is running amok outside and Ali the Joiner is busy working on the new gallery.
I have just finished mounting The Dustcart and as always when I see an image of McBasil, along comes a pang of sadness and heartache for my old mate, though, sat staring at the image for a while, I realised how far I have come on The Journey and how incredibly happy I am.
I miss McB every day, but I am in a new chapter now and as always, I have to give thanks to my parents and to Alistair, for their constant support, as it is partly down to them that I am able to live the life I lead.
I also thank friends old and new, for support and encouragement.
You all make it possible and worth while.
Am very blessed, very happy & very content.
I don’t think I could ask for much more. Karen x