A Year of Grace.

Farewell this year of grace, two thousand and ten! I know it is not perceived as a very good one for the nation but looking backwards through our own personal telescope it has not been at all negative. In many ways quite the reverse. And if I'm right 2010 will be written in history as the year the western world woke up; woke, that is, to learning how to live with peace and equilibrium 'stability' in place of that awful shiboleth of continual 'growth' that has all but succeeded in strangling our world.

But specifically ... In January we moved from our beloved Loch Ewe Cottage in Mellon Charles three miles down an ice-bound road into Kirkhill House. I must confess we had our doibts but by the time Dee had finished with it, (me too) Kirkhill  proved to be definitely the most elegant and comfortable residence of the many I / we have in our lifetimes inhabited.

A vital part of our justification for moving to such a large house was the creation of Dee's Bed and Breakfast venture. This turned out to be a major success. Of course we needed to invest quite a bit pf money, creativity and energy on TV's, linen, food stocks, websites, signboards etc etc, and the workload (almost all on Dee) proved heavy enough for a lady no longer in the first flush of her youth. But the returns were there and the big bonus was in the interesting people, ninety percent continentals, who we have been pleased to entertain as our guests.  

Our Pictures and Poems micro business made steady progress overall, especially in the Poolewe market if not in the local shops. The 2011 calendar proved especially popular. Having said that, the local business scene was much impacted early on by the Icelandic ash clouds and a recession that became more and more evident in declining house prices and pressure on visitor numbers. And a disappointing summer failed to shine often enough on the hills and the lochs and the islands.

It has not been a bad year for my original painting. Helped by a one man exhibition courtesy of the Gairloch Heritage Museum and by a handful of new commissions, sales and prices held up well.

But my personal focus has always been and remains on the writing of fiction. On this front 2010 has been a special year. In February I self-published my novel Going with Gabriel. Although I have thus far failed to get GwG the media attention that almost all who have read it say it deserves, sales have trickled along, and one day ... who knows? Then in November I self-published an anthology of my short fiction called Twenty Bites. This has achieved some outstanding reviews both in the local Press and on-line.

As the year ends my new writing web-site has come alive, thanks to Jackie West and partner, e-marketing gurus of Achnasheen! My site promises to deliver to subscribers a free of charge, brand new short story each and every month, starting January and throughout 2012. I have to admit this is a self-imposed tall order and there are moments when I feel like a jockey as the starting tapes fly up and I'm looking over the nodding head of my horse at a row of fences getting higher and higher as they disappear into the Grand National distance. (Actually January and February stories are already written so now it's fence three that looms large). So go on site and 'subscribe' and let me know what you think? Please

And please - have a good and a safe hogmanay and a thrilling, prodictive 2012. Never mind what the papers say, it's all down to us. Each one of us.

Should auld aquaintance be forgot ....

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