These tales first appeared in a short-lived Ross-shire Journal column. You can't please everyone...
Back on two wheels – but not for long
April 10, 2009
I used to scorn motorcyclists who hid away their pampered playthings when the first autumn leaves fell and didn't let them out again until the daffodils bloomed. Now I'm in danger of becoming one of them.
Every home should have one
March 27, 2009
Monday was the day that phase one of The Rural Retreat's stealthy makeover was completed: the installation of its gleaming new fireplace.
The Black Isle Chainsaw Massacre
March 13, 2009
Our choice of honeymoon destination has produced some unexpected ramifications, the most dramatic of which has reduced The Rural Retreat's lone apple tree to a gnarled, limbless trunk. Bob is to blame.
Tales of a traditional tradesman
February 27, 2009
The end of the recent cold snap didn't come a moment too soon for the residents of The Rural Retreat, especially the female co-owner who spent much of the frosty fortnight festooned in blankets while dreaming of the heat-soaked Namibian plains.
Hold-ups on the honeymoon highway
February 13, 2009
There are barely two months left until Matchgirl and I fly away to begin a long-awaited honeymoon that in our innocence we believed had been well planned and problem-free. Had been.
It's official – camping can drive you potty
January 30, 2009
In 1996 I retired from camping for good after enduring a final, sleepless, uncomfortable night under canvas. This is a decision I've never come close to regretting.
A tearful farewell to the Matchmobile
January 16, 2009
I have a rival for Matchgirl’s affections – powerful, sporty, fun and only ten years old. This is all the fault of the dozy driver who last month blundered on to the Raigmore Interchange without due care and attention and collided with Matchgirl’s prized blue Mini.
Just another Saturday night
December 31, 2008
Shaker, the rock band in which I play bass guitar, made its first trip to the west coast on Saturday evening where we were the post-Christmas reopening attraction at the Myrtle Bank Hotel in Gairloch.
Christmas – the season for giving way
December 19, 2008
In a week's time Matchgirl and I will spend our first Christmas together as man and wife.
This won't be a complete novelty, for last year we enjoyed the great day undisturbed in the solitude of The Rural Retreat and plan to do so again, but not everything will be the same.
The search for warmth as winter takes hold
December 5, 2008
When Matchgirl and I made our vows twelve weeks ago in a whirl of tartan and ivory satin I didn’t gain just a wife and a cat – a rustic Black Isle cottage and all the problems associated with ownership was part of the deal.
In every paradise there is a serpent...
November 21, 2008
“You write an occasionally interesting blog,” said Hector Mackenzie, hard-working and thrifty editor of this fine publication. “Why don’t you do something for the Ross-shire Journal? Don’t expect to be paid, though.”