I’ll Keep you Safe

How lovely to read a book set in the Outer Hebrides and find mention of places with which you are familiar. . . .Stornaway, The Digby Chicks, the library, the Lion Hotel and many of the place names on the island of Harris, it was like a revisit of our recent holiday there.

The book is I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May, renowned for the Lewis Trilogy among others.

I had this book on my reserve list at the library and finally it became available.  I read it in a couple of days.  Terrific book.  His descriptive writing brings the island of Harris to life.

From the book cover:

“Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.”

This Peter May book did not disappoint.  There is a particularly good review on Goodreads by Jeffrey Keeten

Tuesday Travels. . . Eriskay

These are the ferry routes of Calmac Ferries and we chose to do the Island Hopper Route from Oban to Barra to Eriskay to South Uist, North Uist to Harris and Lewis and then back to the mainland at Ullapool. (All the orange islands)

We had good weather for the short trip across to Eriskay from Barra.

This is the small harbour where the ferry pulled up to let us disembark.

Gaelic is the prominent language on the signs with English taking second place.

Although only a small island (about 2.5 by 1.5 miles, 4.0 km × 2.4 km), Eriskay has many claims to fame that have made the island well-known. 

Eriskay is associated with the traditional Hebridean song, the Eriskay Love Lilt and is also known as the real  Whisky Galore! island.  It was just off Eriskay that the SS Politician ran aground in 1941 with its famous cargo.  If you visit the restaurant SS Politician in Eriskay behind the bar there is a bottle of the original whisky, procured from the wreck of the ship,

On 2 August 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie landed on Eriskay to start the ‘Forty-Five Jacobite Rising‘.

Apparently this is beach where Prince Charlie landed.  Our accommodation was the house on the point of the promontory.  It had magnificent views and the service was impeccable.  I can highly recommend An Taigh Mor. for accommodation on Eriskay.

The view from the upstairs balcony.

This shows the causeway between Eriskay and South Uist.  Perfect weather for our forward journey to South Uist.

A birthday cookbook

This delicious looking meal/salad is from the Ottolenghi Cookbook, the one I bought myself for my birthday.So many fantastic recipes I have tried already.  The one you see is Chargrilled Asparagus, courgettes and haloumi.

I had the brainwave of doing the char-grilling on our sandwich press which has ridge marks on one side.  It certainly saved a lot of faffing about with a cast iron grill pan or barbecue.

The salad was delicious and it also included basil oil.

Appreciating what we have and where we live.

It was a lovely morning this morning, and I had been for my early morning walk.  I had prepared a delicious breakfast of bruschetta with tomato, basil and feta on homemade bread. I took my breakfast outside and just enjoyed the surroundings and beautiful weather.

Tuesday Travels. . . .The island of Barra

On arrival in Barra after our ferry trip the weather was what you would call overcast but it added to the atmosphere of the island and didn’t prevent us from heading off on our trip around the island.Above Castlebay on an isolated hilltop stands this memorial to those from the island who lost their lives in the wars.

We also wanted to check the ferry terminal at Ardmor for our departure later in the day and it was at the ferry terminal we spotted this lovely sculpture of otters.  We didn’t spot any live otters although there were many signs telling us to look out for them.We wanted to see if it was possible to view a take off or landing on Barra sands so we set off for Barra airport and by this time the weather had cleared up.

Barra Airport is a short-runway airport situated in the wide shallow bay of Traigh Mhòr at the northern tip of the island. The airport is unique, being the only one in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway

The sands seem to stretch for a long way and was edged with what they call machair. 

We were lucky enough to watch this plane come in to land on the sands.

Our next stop was back towards Castlebay and a visit to Barra Gin. A purchase was made.

We headed back to Craigard Hotel for a late lunch and enjoyed a less dreich view from the restaurant. The Ardmor ferry terminal was our next stop before heading off to Eriskay.

There is a wonderful website called The Chaotic Scot and she has written a fantastic post about the island of Barra.  It is well worth a look if you are interested.

A Long Way Home. . . . it has taken me a while to get around to reading it. I’m glad I did eventually.

Wow! What a story. My sister had recommended this book to me quite some time ago but I hadn’t got around to reading it. I am so glad I have now read it.  This story had particular impact with me as our son is adopted, not from India but from the Philippines.

“A moving and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds, celebrating the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit – hope.

When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost home town half a world away, he made global headlines.

Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. He spent hours staring at the map of India on his bedroom wall. When he was a young man the advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of the country for landmarks he recognised. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for.

Then he set off on a journey to find his mother.”

What an amazing story this is.  I kept looking at similarities in the adoption process when we adopted our son but fortunately for him he had not had to survive living on the streets at age five as our son was adopted when he was eleven months old.

If you haven’t read this book I suggest you do so.  The book has since been made into a movie called “Lion”.