Diary of a Highland Lady - August/September 2004
Thank you to everyone who sent me their best wishes via Dr June when she was 'down South' a while ago. However, I do feel that I need to reassure everyone that I am not exiled in the frozen North! Dr June was amazed by the number of people who said that when they looked at weather forecasts they also looked at what the weather was doing up here and it always seemed to have a permanent dark cloud over Wester Ross. Well, that just goes to show how potty forecasts are. In fact, with the Gulf Stream so near, the climate is more like Torquay than Moscow, even to palm trees on the sea front at Ullapool.
It's a good climate for growing things so Dr June and Dr Jeff have been trying to create a garden. I love the smell of roses so Dr Jeff has put a large potted rose bush by the kitchen door for me. The problem is it's a variety called 'Jane Asher' so Dr June keeps hauling it off further down the path because she says that with a name like that it will be nipping into the kitchen to make cakes every five minutes given half the chance. Cakes are a sore point with Dr June. I seem to remember she made one once. It wasn't a success. Everyone was a amazed she even managed to lift it out of the oven without the aid of a forklift. No one ate it. I think half was used as a doorstop for a while until it got green and furry, and the other half was put in the garden where it traumatised the birds until it was removed to a shallow unmarked grave, possibly to create havoc in the minds of any future archeologists who may dig it up.
Dr June is always a bit defensive about these things. She says she has other hidden talents. Mind you, some should stay hidden as far as I'm concerned. Take the bat in her bra. for example. Who in there right minds would nurse a baby bat in their bra until he was well enough to feed and fly? And Dr Jeff's as bad. He quotes poetry to sheep. Last year we had a very bad tempered ewe with udder problems and he calmed her by reciting poetry while Dr June stripped out the infected udder. It worked so well that he did it again this year with one of the Beryls. (We have three identical black Shetland sheep, so they are all called Beryl). This Beryl broke her leg so Dr Jeff cradled her and nattered away to her until she went all dopey and dreamy while Dr June strapped her up. She's fine now, just keeps trying to arrange cultural soirees in the sheep shed.
Wispa the weasel is still coming into the house on occasions, or, more precisely she is inside the house walls. And guess what? The Royal Scots Raccoon Guard get rat-tail just like ferrets. They've had a bit of a moult and grown their finer summer coat but they've got scruffy tails. At least there's no danger of them being turned into Davy Crocket hats while they're like that. Dolcie, the Lamb from Hell, is over a year old and will shortly be meeting her potential mate, Sherman, a champion Shetland ram who will be taking care of the pedigree Shetlands in the flock. Meanwhile Callum (derived from cal-lamb-ity) will be courting the Blackface ladies. Callum is the home-bred son of old 'Arry Ramsbottom - every inch a pedigree and knows it. It's said that there will be various other newcomers too as Dr June and Dr Jeff are taking on quite a bit more land.
I'm still concerned about the llama situation. Dr Jeff was dead against it until he met a couple of llamas at the Scottish Game Fair. They were very pleasant, civilised, beasts, he says, not at all like the 'gobbit' image they have. The upshot is that we are probably going to get one. I can't wait to find out if bossy Dolcie faints on the spot when she sees what looks like a six foot high sheep!
Another thing that happened at the Scottish Game Conservancy Fair was that Dr June and Dr Jeff judged the entries at the Scottish Ferret Club Show. They came back with glowing praise for the ferrets and the club members they met, although I think it was a little insensitive of them to go on quite as much about how firm and well-muscled Scottish Ferrets like myself who are built along more cuddly lines could get quite a complex.
And speaking of complexes, Dr June gets one every time she has to tidy herself up and go somewhere posh - or at least where she has to do more than take wellies off or put a crease in her jeans. She's due far a series of important meetings down South so she's in a tizzy about clothes. She says it's all very well there being specialist shops like Long Tall Sally for tall, slender, elegant ladies, but what about those of her size and shape? Well, she probably has a point, but I can't see a shop chain called Short Squat Nelly having much high street appeal, can you?
(Note from June: Ivy is blind, she can't see what sort of shape I am. I may be short, but I do not consider myself squat. I can only think I must have a fat sounding voice for Ivy to come to such conclusions).