Fleeting moments

One of my favourite views in the whole of Scotland – as you come around the corner towards Inveraray.  Luckily, there’s often a moment when you stop for a second or two to enjoy this view – the single-lane, 18th century hump-back bridge that takes you past Inveraray Castle and into the town is controlled by traffic lights.  So I always have my window down and my camera primed, just in case.  The splash of red of the fishing vessel completes the scene.

We were heading north – a little later in the day than usual, because I’d had a conference that morning in London to attend. Charlie and the dogs scooped me up at Penrith North Lakes Station and we had the easiest drive to the bothy on completely deserted roads. The beautiful May light couldn’t be believed, the greenery of the countryside intense, hills covered in bluebells.  We got to the bothy late and unpacked the car by the fading light and rolled in to bed, so happy to be there for the first time in weeks.

The following day we were meeting with the builder! Works have started. At this stage – just a little car park, complete with a huge tarmac driveway that the local authority insist on us building. When we first got to the bothy a few years ago it wasn’t too long before we got a letter from the council enforcement officer telling us we were parking illegally.  Oh well, this is the result.  It’ll all look good when it’s finished.  We just caught the removal of the digger that morning before taking the dogs for their walk.  We had a day of catching up and meeting with the builder and our local architect to go over all sorts of plans before the building work starts in the summer. Watch this space. we are building a third tiny little bothy.  We get asked a million times if we’re going to the two existing houses up, but that would 1) be massive and 2) mean chopping down the beautiful trees which we love, and 3) we just really like the tiny little houses as they are.  So now we’re adding a third.  Will post photos from time to time here!

We were all pretty tired that night.  10pm and still daylight.  The following day was incredibly still. Not a whisper of air.  Jura was swathed in fog as we walked down the peninsula.  Orchids everywhere;
Absolutely flat sea, silvery grey.  And then, while we were walking – we suddently heard the amazing sound of a whale, blowing. Then again.  We realised that there was a group of three whales – I guess Minkie – slowly working their way up the sound of Jura.  We saw them for a good 15 minutes, coming up to the surface fairly regularly.  Amazing.  Such a mesmeric sight, but eventually we carried on and they seemed to vanish too.  Such a beautiful day.  The general attitude in the bothy that afternoon:  It was a short trip – up and down – mainly meeting the builder and getting things underway, but a lovely evening with our neighbours Ross and Mo catching up on life and local news generally.

The next day, we had a lovely breakfast and a late start and then headed back down to Dorset.   Inveraray looking beautiful too, approached from the south west.  And we had the easiest drive home, and back to Dorset for the softest evening.  The garden is full of the blowsiness of May.  So different, so beautiful in its own way.  Another fleeting moment, which I am glad to have caught – Charlie’s Iris moment.  I’m away next weekend and it will have changed when I am back.  There is nothing more beautiful.  There was a magical sunset, the red glow of the sun fading totally on axis with the path down the garden. Something we must remember for the future on this date. 

And back up on the train to London this morning.

Life is full of fleeting, thrilling moments – whales – iris. It’s hard to know which is more special?


Hi Ben. Have never commented before. Have read your blogs for years and follow your and Charlie’s lives with great interest. Thank you for most beautiful photos and moments of your lives.



Suzy O'Brien

So beautiful to see your home in Scotland again. Nice that you will have a car park area and another building addition. Loved Charlie’s Iris’s. They are so beautiful and nice that you could see the Whales. Scenery beautiful.

Darlene Chandler

I always appreciate the little slice of your life in England and Scotland. I’m a California girl and it’s fun to see other places.
Karen B.

Karen B.

Another wonderful post. You make me want to pack my bags and head to the UK. Your bothies are so magical and Charlie’s garden in Dorset is a sight to behold. Please keep your posts coming as I really look forward to them.

Malcolm Pym

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