Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Customs on the Farm


The happy farmer got caught in his ‘undies’ this morning, out at the ‘well’ filling the kettle with water. Not that it put him up or down, he just smiled and shouted a cheery ‘good morning’ to our passing German visitors as they left the cottage for an early morning stroll about the farm. Farmer stood in his pants at a tap filling a kettle with water. He is never fazed, but hopefully he will remember that it is now summer and we have visitors in the cottages, and visits to his ‘well’ do require appropriate attire, i.e. clothes! Luckily he wasn’t in the middle of ‘marking his territory’, yes all of the men on the farm, and the visiting farmers seem to be very guilty of that one, as a ‘townie’ it was a bit of a learning curve, luckily it is not a custom practised by the women folk here so I haven’t been encouraged to participate in that particular custom, thank goodness.

The ‘well’ is situated at what was once our back door. It is actually just a tap, it brings water to us from our own spring which is situated out on the hill on the farm. Now before you panic and think we really do live completely in the dark ages, I must reassure you that we do actually have running water and taps in the farmhouse, but that water comes from the mains supply. The mains supply comes from a local Loch, but once it has gone through the treatment plant and been ‘cleaned’ you can taste a residue of chemicals off it, although not nearly as bad as some other supplies I have sampled on the mainland. Anyway the happy farmer can taste mains water a mile away, and refuses to drink anything but his own spring water. I can’t say I blame him; the spring water is crystal clear, always refreshingly cool and has a lovely ‘dewy’ flavour. It used to supply the farmhouse, but the collecting tank on the hill is not high enough to supply any real pressure, so year in year out during the summer months, when the spring water became a trickle, it only flowed through the kitchen tap, the upstairs supply completely dried up. The final straw came when I was heavily pregnant with baby number two and we had the longest and driest of summers I can remember. I had no washing machine, no dishwasher, no water for a bath, and it was hard going. Luckily my mother in law and parents were close by, I would off load a basket of washing at one, while I went for a shower at the other.

So if you happen to be having a holiday on the island and happen to see a long legged man in his undies, kettle in hand, now you know, it is just another of those strange island customs.

Until next time…

12 comments:

Pondside said...

First of all - if your farmer had to be caught in his skivvies he couldn't have been caught by a better group - as I recall from living in Germany for 10 years, Germans on holiday peel down to the barest essentials. They probably thought he was on holiday too!
Re the water - I couldn't agree more! We are on our own, very deep well and the water is delicious. I love to hear the comments from city friends when they first have a drink. We don't have piped water out here, so everyone is on their own well, some better than others.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh I get caught going out to let the chickens out in my Dressing gown and wellies - purple of course. We too have water from the hill - it is raining today and it is welcome. The last estimate for putting us on mains water was hilarious . . . . and would take so long we would have moved or died before it ever happened!

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

French men are the same, none of our french workers or friends ever use the loo, they always use the garden. Our territory is exceedinly well marked!

ChrisH said...

Hello, nice to hear from you... can't we have a picture of the farmer in his smalls as proof?

Woozle1967 said...

I do love your pictures! And thanks for reminding me of the arboretum! Haven't been up there for years.........xx

Elizabethd said...

Can I e mail you re Islay?

elizabethm said...

agree with you about spring water. we are on mains but our neighbours at the farm have a spring and the water is delicious. love the image of your man in his smalls.

Suffolkmum said...

I have a great mental picture now! Gorgeous photo as ever. I'm envious of your spring water.

Eden said...

Proper well water -- what a treat. and delivered by a man in pants too!

Fennie said...

Oh yes! The house that I grew up in had proper spring water pumped by a little electric pump to a tank up in the attic space full of rust and no end of debris. The water always tasted magnicient, though - more thirst quenching than you can imagine.

Lovely pics.

Blossomcottage said...

Photograph please colour not black and white, I would like to check he is not blushing.
Blossom

LittleBrownDog said...

Spring water sounds absolutely delicious!

And I'm sure the Germans won't have minded glimpsing your man in his undies. From what I remember about the Germans I've come across, they take every possible opportunity to strip off.