Mid July now and several weeks have passed since you last heard from Bloggy. There have been two major changes this Spring/Summer at the Lodges at the Mains.
The first has been the planting of many more trees and shrubs. We’ve planted trees this time which will produce beautiful Autumn colours and shrubs which are in some cases scented and others have Autumn berries and colourful foliage. That’s the good news. The bad news is our little four legged friends aka the deer have found some of them irresistible and nibbled the new growth as well as rubbing their antlers on the stems and stripping off the outer covering. So so annoying! This has resulted in us having to put up fencing around the central area and making individual little wire cages for the shrubs needing protection. Not very pretty but now the new plants are off again and doing very well. Our gardener/landscaper Jason is doing a fantastic job at keeping that fine balance between a natural look and very formal. The latter will never happen at the Lodges! However we do need a bit of discipline and the weeds are encouraged to live somewhere else in certain areas! Mind you, I decided to have a campaign this year for the poor flowers referred to as ‘weeds’ and some of them are really pretty.
The other big change and this is not only visual but spiritual too, is the Relax Room. Out have gone the two single beds and in has come a state of the art relaxation chair with massage and inbuilt Bluetooth for your music. Perfect for after that cycle, run, work out or just switch off the massage function, lie back and drift away!! If yoga or pilates is your passion, we’ve included an exercise mat and some books to remind you of your routines followed at home. If you are not into ‘bendy exercises!) we have paints, crayons, origami packs, craft books and a selection of other books to calm the mind. We are always hopeful that some one will find time to leave us a beautiful original piece of art to display on the wall or the shelf. Optimistic’s our middle name!
Our wildlife never fails to amaze us, and our visitors have seen a fantastic selection of animals and birds visiting the feeders and the lochan. We try hard to keep the environment as natural as possible for them and after 6 years we feel that for some of them it is home now. It gives a superb opportunity to photograph squirrels, wood peckers, ducks – oh the list is endless – in the comfort of the sitting room, out on the balcony, in the bird hide or just on the decking. You can have your camera set up and your cup of tea or glass of wine at hand and you won’t have to wait long for an inquisitive visitor to appear.
For the first time this year we had a daily visit from a young fox, which was quite oblivious to the two excited visitors watching from the lounge. Kate and Ian managed to capture some super videos of her/him and I did start to suspect they may have had extra luggage when they left! I think it was last year’s cub that possibly was born in the woodland part and was enticed out by the peanuts dropped by the messy jays and chaffinches. Even if you’ve never been a birdwatcher you won’t be able to resist watching the little birds feeding right outside the window. They are on their own reality tv show!
On the farming side of things, our energy rye has been harvested as has our first cut silage. Both crops going to the bio digester down at Dalcross. The huge tractors, trailers and harvesters come rolling in and in a day and a half, three fields are completely bare. Before you know it the plough is in and it starts all over again. From both lodges you can see a field of silage (grass), a field of rye and our grass field which is our hay field.
On a personal front, Donald and I have been out and about doing ‘research’ for our visitors. Comparing and contrasting accommodation, food, entertainment and attractions – well someone has to go to all these lovely events and restaurants so it might as well be us!
Donald is currently sailing round Scotland in a clockwise direction single handed – yes I can hear that!! He left Nairn on 1st July and called in at some of the beautiful little harbours along the coast. His luck changed when he got as far as Fraserburgh as wind and tide were against him to progress round Rattery Head. He came home for a few days and caught up on a few jobs I’d kindly kept for him, then off he set again. Second attempt round Rattery Head was thrilling and he continued down the east coast to Arbroath ( I hope you’ve got your road atlas out and tracing this with your finger!!) This weekend sees him in the Firth of Forth heading to Grangemouth to have the boat demasted for its journey along the Canal to pop out in the Firth of Clyde. Mast on again and away with full sails to the Crinan Canal – up to the Caledonian Canal and back to Nairn. It has been incredibly challenging and very thrilling to hear his tales. I am hoping for a few photos to share on Facebook when I see him next and I’m sure any yachties/sailors who are reading this will know how challenging the waters and harbours of the east coast of Scotland are.
There are so many events taking place in this area it is impossible to name them all but a selection is:
- The Pearl Fishers at the Strathpeffer Pavillion
- Small Cottage Gardens open to the public
- Belladrum Tartan Heart music festival 3rd – 6th August
- The Nairnshire Farming Society annual Agricultural Show 29th July
- The Black Isle Agricultural Show 3rd August
- The Moy Game Fair 4th and 5th August
- Eden Court our local theatre has a wide range of shows and a very good restaurant for pre show dinner
And on and on it goes. You let us know what you are interested in seeing, doing, hearing, tasting, experiencing and we’ll do our best to find it for you!