It’s January and the garden may look like the Somme but our steading is starting to look like a house.  We had lunch in the lounge for the first time – admittedly sitting on deckchairs, in puffa jackets with a flask of hot chocolate, but the view was terrific.

We hope we have found a solution to our renewables problems with Black Isle Renewables who seem very knowledgeable and efficient.  We’re going ahead with a ground source heat pump although we still haven’t heard from the Energy Saving Trust whether we’ve been successful in our application for a loan to cover the cost.  We are an example of how government u-turns and indecision has hit the renewables industry, and being ‘green’ in general.  We abandoned an air source heat pump because of the danger they won’t qualify for Renewable Heat Incentive.  We then abandoned solar panels because the government slashed the Feed In Tariff.  We’re left with a ground source heat pump.  Let’s hope the Energy Saving Trust doesn’t let us down.

However a big success has been our woodworking class.

I’ve replaced the rotten louvres for the upstairs windows, not to mention making a range of garden furniture.  The classes are run by a brilliant community project to encourage recycling old wood rather than buying new, and I’m definitely a convert!  The skills I’m learning will hopefully last a lifetime, and the results are so much nicer than anything you can buy commercially.  The amount of perfectly good wood which is thrown out for the binmen every week is astonishing.

Finally, a quick picture of the amazing snowdrops on the island of Islay (pronounced Isla).

I’d thoroughly recommend Islay for a winter weekend break – but take your woollies and waterproofs!

  • Samuel Joy

    The house is really coming on Eleanor, great stuff!


  • Anonymous

    Check out the credit rating and directors details of any company you deal with in the renewables industry. Get in touch with previous customers, find out about the service after you have paid, etc etc.

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