My activities in March changed almost as often as the weather so I spent the month wearing a number of different ‘hats’.
My writer’s ‘hat’ found me returning to Port Ellen Primary School. On my last visit I’d given the children a starting point for a story. This was a line taken from my book, ‘Clickfinger’.
‘The witch pointed her long black fingernail at…’
The stories had been written, cat pictures had been drawn and a bundle of these had been delivered to me. I’d promised prizes but, because there were so many great ideas, deciding winners was difficult. I solved the problem by choosing the two that, after putting them aside for a couple of weeks, had remained most vividly in my memory. I added written comments to every piece of work and read some of the stories to the class. I gave two copies of ‘Clickfinger’ as prizes for the most original ideas, activity books for the two best cat pictures – and a Gold bar to everyone as a reward for their efforts.
As a member of 26 – a group devoted to the love of words – I was selected to take part in the forthcoming Roald Dahl celebrations. I had great fun writing a story about my favourite Dahl character – The BFG – and will be taking it into schools in the search for someone to illustrate it.
Our botanist’s ‘hats’ led to Richard and I providing two more sessions on botanicals. The first was for Japanese people from the various aspects of the drinks industry. Working with an interpreter for the first time was interesting, but we missed having informal conversations with members of the group. This wasn’t the case with the second group from Belgium as they all spoke perfect English.
In my photographer’s ‘hat’ I rose to a Facebook challenge when asked to post seven successive wildlife photographs. My favourite was the eider duck on her nest, but the beautiful patterns made by goose barnacles on a washed-up log generated the most ‘likes’
In my gardener’s ‘hat’ I had a busy weekend potting dozens of small juniper plants that we’d grown from cuttings. Destined for re-planting in the wild we are hopeful that these will help to secure the future of this charismatic species.
By the end of the month we could hear three song thrushes singing and we counted twenty different wild flowers in bloom.
Finally, we paid a visit to Islay’s Toothie Stane.
Embedded in the rock’s crevices were 70 nails and 3 coins. Some time in the past they had been hammered into the stone in the belief that they would cure toothache. As all the objects are extremely old and rusty it appears that the belief has finally died out.
The grass in the garden is growing so April will see the mower at work. We don’t have lawns, but have to cut a complicated path that winds its way between the wildflower areas of our 1.2 ace garden. The whole area is still very wet so we are hoping for some dry weather.