But it was heavy for a time and continued falling for an hour or so. As a result, it is welcomely fresher today, not to say refreshing.
Now we have a bit of light cloud, a more pleasant coolness in the air and buckets of birdsong. J started the bready process last night; by this morning the first stage - a 'sponge' - was climbing out of the bowl, the biggest we have. She thinks it a bit too wet but it went into the oven allright. She always made bread in Sweden, using a machine to mix the dough then a traditional oven finish. In Swedeland they have a penchant for sweetish, suger added, breads and crispy stuff that looks, feels and tastes like cardboard, for the most part. She thinks that using French bread flour might be the difference and reason why it seemed wetter than she'd like it to be, together with a different yeast. She plans to make another batch in a few days time. This time using different quantities as a trial. It looks fine to me and it tastes mighty fine, too.
It does seem a tad strange to be making bread in France, a country with a reputation for fine crusty pains and baguettes etc, with artisan boulangers still surviving in most villages. We have three nearby! But it is a useful skill to have and when/if we make it up to the Hebrides, will be of value, I'm sure.
We've more or less decided that Lewis is the favoured spot for our relocation. We had been planning to go down to our Spanish place for a bit then maybe move over from there but it makes (marginally) more sense to move there from here, given transport/removal costs/mileages involved etc.
It has taken a bit of persuasion to convince J that this will be a good move. She is worried about having a decent growing garden and perticularly the weather - the wind and the rain - something that is difficult to write-off or deny and which can/will be challenging. However, she has now confirmed that it will probably work out okay for us all in the longer-run. She also remembers the awful health services on Skye when she was pregnant, one of the reasons she herself, (who had originally trained as an SRN) became a Midwife shortly after leaving the island. It's been another reason for her hesitation, though she now realises this aspect of Hebridean life has changed enormously in the intervening thirty-odd years!
We're not too sure of how to approach it just yet. J can retire next year but can also leave early (on slightly reduced pension) at the tail end of 2011. She hopes to continue as a Midwife in London (on the bank) at the hospital she currently works with, who have confirmed this would be fine with them. We also, of course, want to raise funds from the sales of our houses in both Spain and Sweden.
Having not had a mortgage for many years now, this is not an avenue that appeals greatly. In addition, lenders are behaving like total assholes these days, from all we can gather. Nevertheless, it might be a suitable short (hopefully)-term fix that would get us off our behinds and up to Lewis. I think renting for a bit is also a good option, as we could get to know the area better and be in a position to view property and select an area in which to buy with more background info and knowledge under our belt. However, we don't know whether there is much of a rental market up there and what the options in that direction might be. If anyone has any ideas, they'd be most welcome!
Charlie wasn't greatly taken by rain and cowered under the Hazel trees followed by the back axle of the car, before turning in for a bit of drying off, preening and affection. He then braved the storm for the remainder of the night. As it is again threatening a bit of rain - nothing that would be recognised as such by those in the Outer Hebrides - he will probably return to the fold again soon. I'm not sure whether to get out and water the garden veg again this late afternoon; or might that be tempting the Gods?!