A year in Argyll

Oct 23rd, 2014

A year in Argyll

Today was worthy of two blog entries because R and I have been in Lochgoilhead a year today.

What an eventful year it has been as well – I feel as though we have been here much longer. So on the whole, most things have turned out better than we expected, but (as ever in life) there have been some disappointments and some things which turned out to be more problematic than we were expecting.

The wildlife was probably the number one unexpected thrill. I really didn’t expect to see all the things we have – particularly in our own garden (just as a side note we had a fine roe stag and his two ladies at the back of the garden this morning). Then there has been the walking and the sensational scenery we have seen – the highlight of the first year being our Good Friday climb of Benn Donich. And just the sheer joy of living out in the country with no noisy neighbours and the river to sing us to sleep at night.

What didn’t work out…. Well frankly the idea of being semi self-sufficient. I didn’t realize the huge amount of work it would be to produce a relatively small amount of food – and although I greatly enjoyed what I produced – next year I am toning it down (no more trying to raise tomatoes from seed in a propagator in Feb – I’ll buy the seedlings from the garden centre). The outdoors vegetable plot was pretty much a failure as well – the slugs here are ferocious and I don’t have the inclination to use a load of chemicals or the time to mess around with copper rings and coffee grounds. So next year I am planting the area out with fruit bushes and trees (which do do well here).

The other thing which we just didn’t bank on was the time it takes living here to do basic tasks which need done like food shopping, getting haircuts etc. No one will deliver food here so you really do need to stock up if you don’t have time to shop weekly. And that means if you want vegetables that you have to either buy them frozen or freeze them yourself. Getting to the shops in Helensburgh or Dumbarton and doing the shopping basically takes half a day (particularly at the moment when there are loads of road works) – so we have to factor that into busy lives and try to make do with once a fortnight….

From an IT perspective – the Internet access here has worked out ok (2 bonded ADSL lines for an 8MB connection, satellite as backup), but we are really lucky we went with R’s opinion rather than mine. If anyone reading this is contemplating an Internet based business, do not even contemplate doing it just over satellite, and think long and hard about what speed you really need. I thought 2MB would be sufficient for R and I – I think I was wrong and 4MB ADSL would really be the absolute minimum for a connected lifestyle.

So there are some sacrifices to be made, and I wouldn’t wish to underplay them (I still miss 3G!), but I’m not sorry we came out here (so far at least) and I’d encourage anyone who works over the Internet and loves the countryside to at least consider giving it a go.

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