A lovely day on Rum

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Mon 17 May 2010 20:26
A lovely gentle day enjoying the sunshine on Rum. Andrea and I had a stroll along the side of the loch this morning and then headed back to the village to get some lunch in the tea room before our castle visit. The tea room was a challenge. One local girl trying to serve a horde of people on her own. Fair enough, though. It's hard to predict that all the people on the island are going to want to go the one place that does lunch at pretty much lunch time and all of them are going to be anxious about going on the one tour of the one visitor attraction. The poor lass was doing her best but it was chaos.

Anyway, we finally got our toasted sandwich and headed for the castle. It was bonkers victoriana taken to the max. The entrance hall had lion, leopard and cheetah skin rugs, loads of red dear heads, some massive oriental bronze statues of eagles, a Steinway grand piano, a screen with ivory Samurai on it and loads of other stuff all placed in a dark oak-panelled room. The guide was good and pitched it well. George had done a grand job of spending the fortune his dad had earned with a series of patented mill machine inventions. He spent much time on his 250 foot steam yacht and about 8 weeks a year on Rum with his French wife and his degenerate chums.

There were many rumours of debauched balls amongst the collection of the strange and wonderful. The Imhoff and Muckle orchestrion was a real treat - surprisingly. I was standing very close to the ranks of brass pipes before I worked out that this usually means a piercing racket but I was pleasantly surprised. It had a lovely deep tone and played well. They had a push-up piano player as well but we didn't hear that. I was wrong about the coal-fired power station needed to keep all this stuff going. They actually built a hydro scheme and had the first electric lights in Scotland outside of Glasgow. The same system still powers the castle and the village today. You've got to hand it to those Victorians!

Andrea and I pottered off on another walk after that - Kali was doing a major yomp over the island all day - and then took the dinghy back to Saxon Blue. Andrea had gathered conical limpets from the shore to use as fishing bait and was on deck looking very professional while I chatted to John Ash on the SSB. I just called him up on the frequency we last used and Michael heard me. We had a great chat and the system worked well. It sounded like a VHF call to a nearby vessel. I love my SSB! Just then, I got a shout from Andrea and had to dash on deck to find that we had aquired a new crew-member. A very aggressive looking crab who was dragging a length of seaweed down the deck and generally making a nuisance of himself. I took some photographs of Andrea with her new friend and then we had to dash back to shore for dinner in the castle bistro.

Food was pretty average but we had a good time sharing a table with a couple of walkers and then back to our peaceful home. Andrea is fishing again and I'm about to do some passage planning for tomorrow when we'll hopefully make it out to the outer Hebrides.


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