We were based in the tiny village of Tolsta Chaolais which isn’t pronounced anything like you’d think it would be – it’s more like Tolssa Hurlish, except the ‘H’ of Hurlish is one of those back of the throat type sounds. And that spelling is the English version…Gaelic is a really unusual language! It’s my dad’s first language, but I only speak a handful of phrases, and my pronunciation is pretty awful according to Dad. Squishy’s name is the Gaelic version of a fairly common name, and as such is not so much uncommon as unheard of down here in the South of England. Being able to tell people her name and have them accept it as easily as if it were Jane or Lucy was one of the unexpected highlights of the trip. Just today I went to another baby group where someone immediately repeated her name back as the English version…which obviously I had to correct. On Lewis, if people commented at all, it was to tell me that some member of their family have the same name. Her name means quite a lot to me as my mum suggested it four and a half years ago when she was ill in hospital, & she died shortly afterwards. I love the fact that she has a connection with her granny even though she can never meet her.
Sunday started badly – I’d hung some nappies out to dry the night before, completely forgetting that you can’t have laundry hanging out on a Sunday for religious reasons. So instead we lit a lovely peat fire and draped the nappies over chairs and footstools to dry. We then managed to find a petrol station shop that was open for two hours on a Sunday so we could buy some milk and bread! It really is a whole other world up there, and the Sunday rules underlined that. We’re so used to everything being available almost 24:7, so the idea that we weren’t allowed to do certain things on a certain day was very strange for us.
On Monday we visited Garenin which is the village my grandad was born in. It’s now a tourist site as all the houses are traditional black houses. It’s right by the sea, although we couldn’t go down to the beach as a seal had died there and was smelling awful…still, we had a bit of a wander, & my dad had a go on the loom making some Harris tweed (something he did a lot when he was younger apparently). Twink found that hilarious…I just found it noisy!
Tuesday we went to Melbost Borve which is the village my dad is from. I say village, but it’s even smaller than Tolsta Chaolais! Ten houses, maybe fifteen at the most. This was my granny’s house. Dad helped build it when he was 12, having been born in a black house in the field opposite. I have lots of happy memories of this little house.
This is my granny’s old chicken house…I can remember it hanging off the cliff 15 years ago, so I was a bit surprised it was still there. However the floor has fallen out since I saw it last 4 years ago. Oh & I’m not an odd lumpy shape – there’s a baby under my sweater! It was exceptionally windy, and she was sleeping so I’d tucked her away.
There are some really beautiful beaches on the island. On Wednesday we visited Uig beach (not the same Uig as in the first highlights post…there are a few of them around!) which is huge when the tide is out – we only made it half way before the gale drove us back (I may be exaggerating, but it was very windy and I am still washing wind blown sand out of my hair!).
There was important shell collecting work to be done.
Rocks to climb.
Ponds to examine.
And Daddies to wear out.
Thursday was Hubby’s birthday, and we visited ¬†Borgh Pottery (pronounced Borve) to buy him a mug to compliment (but not match) the one we bought for me 4 years ago. While there we also bought a bag made of patchwork Harris tweed for me to use as a change bag, and a toy Oskar & Ellen Doctor’s bag for Ethan as he wouldn’t let go of it! The hand written label which came with my bag, had the name of the lovely lady who made the bag along with her mobile number…for all those bag related emergencies I imagine!
My parents (whose house we live in as I inherited it, and which is still full of their stuff) have collected lots of Borgh pottery pieces, so it’s lucky we both like the style! I particularly like the mugs – they’re chunky and sturdy feeling, the handle has a thumb rest at the top which is perfect for the way Hubby holds his cup (by the handle), and they’re concave which is perfect for how I hold a mug (backwards with my hand round the body of the mug and the handle opposite me). Now we have one each!
Friday was our last day, and we visited the Callanish Stones. Twink loved racing around and helping to prop up the stones!
We finished our holiday and headed for the ferry at 2pm on Friday. The ferry arrived in Uig in Skye just before 6pm. We decided to risk driving through the night and just headed straight home. It was definitely the right thing to do – we stopped for a bedtime stop about 8pm as both children were awake, and after that, they pretty much slept the whole journey. They both woke up briefly around midnight as we stopped for a while, but they went back to sleep quickly. At 3ish (yep, that’d be a.m.!) Twink woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. From 4 to 4.30 was the worst bit – he just screamed as he was so frustrated and tired. But then he fell asleep, so when we arrived home at 5.15am he was happy to be transferred to his bed and stay there until 11!
We’ve just about recovered now – everyone’s sleep is more or less back to normal, and we’re eating at sensible times again. The first few days we didn’t want breakfast until lunchtime and it just throws the whole day off!