It’s been a bad week …

During the last week two of the island’s stalwart “elders” both passed away.

On Saturday night (26th November) Bert Baker died peacefully in his sleep in the hospice in Dunoon and on Wednesday night (30th November) Petre Withall slipped away at home on Easdale.

Both had almost reached their “four score years and ten” and both will be sorely missed. We hope to publish remembrances of them shortly.

This will be a very difficult time for Jean and for Mary and our thoughts go out to them.

 

Easdale Medical Practice

Please note that the Surgery will be

CLOSED

from 12.00 noon on Tuesday 15th November

to

4.00pm on Wednesday 16th November

Only emergencies can be seen during this time.

In the event of an emergency, ‘phone the usual surgery number (300223) for advice.

If you will need repeat prescriptions around then, please order them in good time.

The Surgery will be closed while a new computer system is being installed

and therefore no patient records can be accessed or prescriptions issued.

Fingers and toes crossed that the new system operates smoothly and without any glitches!

And now for some good news!

Ruth & Dughall at No. 55 started doing bed and breakfast about six weeks ago and immediately got off to a flying start.

easdale-bb

They raise a flag on the flagpole to celebrate a visitor’s country of origin, and over the weeks the flags of all nations have been fluttering in the breeze – and occasionally flapping furiously in a Force 8!

Dughall’s full Scottish breakfasts, accompanied by Ruth’s homemade bread, have already become legendary across the globe. On Stone Skimming weekend 12 guests were regaled with heaped plates of bacon, eggs, tomato, mushrooms and tattie scones, to fortify themselves for the rigours of the day ahead.

Rooms are sometimes available at short notice, but advance booking is definitely a good plan. Check out their website HERE for booking info, and for a link to their Facebook page with up-to-date snippets of news.

More sad news.

We heard today that our former ferryman Tom Plunkett has recently died.

He ferried us back and forth from 1991 to 2002, and after his retirement he and Dot moved to Dingwall where they settled in very happily, returning here every couple of years or so to renew old acquaintances.

Our thoughts are with Dot.

Ooops!!

Some pretty stormy weather during last week, but fortunately there was only one casualty.

ooops

Mr. McSkelly has now been restored to an upright position and is seated by the living room fire warming his chilled bones.

 

Easdale weather!

easdale-rainbowPlease check the local weather forecasts if you’re planning to travel to Easdale from far afield – or even from quite close at hand – because the weather here can be very different from that in Oban … or even in Balvicar!

Have a look at “Weather Watch” on our Handy Info page.

This evening was gorgeous, with the horizontal rain and Force eights died down, and a beautiful rainbow filling the sky!

 

 

Sad news.

A wee notice has appeared in the ferryshed advising us of the death on 1st September of long-time Easdale resident David Brearley (no. 25a).

He was a quiet man who kept himself to himself from choice but, once you got talking to him, he was an unstoppable mine of interesting information and a man with amazing depths.

He suffered health problems all his life and latterly, due to his increasing health needs, had to move to a care home in Oban. Needless to say, his loss of independence didn’t please him!

He will be remembered for his independent personality; his trademark wellies; his archiving of every copy of the Oban Times; his personal recycling and re-use of everything that came into his house; his avid following of The Archers Omnibus on Sunday Radio4 and (until health prevented it) his annual visits to his own island of Insh, where he was free to do as he wished without let or hindrance.

The island is a poorer place without him.

AuroraWatch glitch

We’re signed up for AuroraWatch so that we don’t miss any dancing, shimmering skies and received a mail telling us to expect a display last night. A few hours later we received another mail:

Dear AuroraWatch UK subscriber,

We apologise for the earlier false alert (issued 13:25 UTC today) which was caused by a lawnmower creating a local disturbance at our Lancaster site.

Go figure … !

And we may have another rarity …

The beautiful Great Yellow Bumblebee was once numerous in flowery meadows throughout the UK but, as with many other species (including the Corncrake), changes in farming practices over the last 100 years have led to a drastic decline and populations are now confined to the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the far north of Scotland, and parts of Orkney. It is one of the rarest bumblebees, and is a Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species.

Great_Yellow_Bumblebee_-_Bombus_distinguendus

Here on Easdale we have an abundance of all the things the Great Yellows like best, especially up on the plots: red clover (see illustration above), knapweed (like a puny thistle without the prickles) and vetch (a low growing leguminous plant). The queens choose holes under tussocky grass to make their nests, and we’ve plenty of that as well. They prefer to make their nests a polite distance apart, so it’s unlikely that we’ll have more than one or two colonies; but, as each colony has up to 50 workers, there could be 100 of them zooming about! So take a bit of time to rest in the sunshine amongst some red clover and vetch and listen for the BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

The RSPB is apparently undertaking a survey of Great Yellow Bumblebee numbers, but we couldn’t find a link to it. If you do spot any individuals, contact the Bumblebee Conservation Trust – HERE – who have a very helpful factsheet on their website.

 

 

 

 

We have Corncrakes!

Yes, not one but TWO! They’ve taken up residence in the shrubby bank at the back of the Coalree, and their territories extend in roughly a semicircle down into the Rush’n’Gush.

Corncrakes lurk about in the undergrowth and are very hard to spot, but one islander was actually lucky enough to see one as it legged it across the path into cover at the other side.

Corncrake

The males call mostly at night, between about 11pm and 3am, but ours are pretty shouty during the day as well. This was good news for an RSPB birdwatcher who’d come across to the island to verify our reports, and our resident birds are now officially logged.

The corncrake’s Latin name derives from its call – Crex Crex – and this distinctive call can be heard for almost a mile! Females usually make a bark-bark call, but also use the crex-crex call like the males, so we can hope that we have both a gentleman and a lady in our midst, and that they become very well acquainted!

There’s lots more information about the Corncrake on the RSPB website - HERE - including a video recording of a calling male.