Sunday, 10 February 2013

Last Orders...

Face 9 of 29 Faces & sketch 12 of 75

When we were house-hunting we had a very detailed check-list of what we did and didn't want because, unless the universe throws us a cosmic curve ball,  we plan for this to be our last move ever.  We knew we didn't want to live in a built up area but rather somewhere with other folk nearby but not too nearby, so the village of Reay where our house is located ticked all the boxes.  Close enough to drive to the nearest Tescos in Thurso but far enough away to be considered remote.

Mind you, calling Reay a village seems a little disingenuous because, apart from a handful of houses, it contains one small shop, a church, a small school and a golf course.  The dictionary definition of a village is somewhere larger than a hamlet with between a few hundred and a few thousand inhabitants.  It doesn't mention what facilities there might be but surely it should have a village pub? 

Not being massive pub frequenters, a drinking establishment wasn't something that we considered one way or the other and certainly the lack of one wouldn't have been a deal-breaker on us buying Craggis Cottage.  Even so, we were a little disappointed when we got here and had a proper look around to discover that village pub there was not. We had thought we might be more sociable here, getting to know the locals over a pint or two.

Perhaps, it's having been brainwashed by all the British soap operas but I did expect there to be a 'Wool Pack' or 'Rovers Return' type pub where all the locals gathered over an ale or two of an evening.  Everyone would know each other and on first walking in, they'd all stop supping and stare at S and I, before turning back to their drinking companions to debate whether we were blow-ins (which we are) or just tourists out of season passing through. 

After a customary period of suspicion, we'd be accepted by the locals and join them every Tuesday evening for the pub quiz.  Once in a while, a couple, after a few too many drams would start arguing and one or other of them would inevitably stand up and divulge some personal drama to the whole pub and everyone would look suitably shocked (or not - it's a small place where everyone already knows your business so they'd all have heard the gossip before the big reveal in the pub anyway) before returning to their games of dominoes and cosy conversations.

I'd wear cosy big jumpers that managed not to make me look dumpy, frumpy and round, my hair would finally have grown long enough to wear in a ponytail again and I'd be fresh faced and rosy cheeked from all the healthy country living.  S and I would have our favourite spot in front of the open fire on a couple of battered old comfy armchairs and the dogs would lie sleeping peacefully at our feet while we enjoyed a wee drink, chatting pleasantly to awl Dougall McTaggart.

Face 10 of 29 Faces & sketch 13 of 75

That's how it would've been in my head.  In reality, I suspect I will end up looking weather beaten and leathery rather than fresh faced and glowing and Brodie barks incessantly at everyone and everything so would undoubtedly be barred from the pub on her first visit. Still, somewhere this small, I imagine we'll soon get to know folk with or without a drink in hand!


  1. I didn't know there was such a thing as a village with no pub, lol! When I cycled from John o Groats to Lands End, I was surprised to find that in John o Groats, where I only saw about three houses in as many miles through the fog - there was a pub. I wondered how on earth it made it's money! Anyway - we went in to find it absolutely full of people! It was a mystery to us where the people had all come from!! I love the picture you paint in your head of life in Scotland and I'm sure once Summer arrives it will feel much more like that - It'll just take a while to get to know the locals :0)
    Todays dogs are amazing! Fabulous drawings :0)

  2. Life in Scotland is sounding wonderful and I am enjoying hearing about your first forays into its little world and how it matches up... or doesn't match up... with your expectations... and your drawings are beyond gorgeous... amazing work...xx

  3. Oh, my. May I just say how EXCELLENT these furry faces are? FANTABULOUS! Superb! Their eyes are so alive and your textures amazing. Soon you WILL be talk of the village - they will hail you as village artist- in-residence:-)

  4. I enjoy seeing your pet portraits. They are really amazing! :) Looks like you gave that pub a great deal of thought. Maybe you should open one. I'm sure the folks would love you for it. :)

  5. Aaaaw your bullie is the BEST! I grew up with bulldogs and have had 3 in my earlier married years. Love them all to bits- although now I have a shih tsu! Ha ha. Loved your post- so interesting and fun.

  6. I love your vision of how the pub would be! Very 'All Creatures Great and Small" (I saw some on video recently).

    Love your dog drawings, as always, so wonderful.

  7. First of all your bulldog and labradoodle are amazingly gorgeous. How do you do THAT with just INK??! You make the challenge seem easy but no, it's not. I know it is not.

    Btw, if you want that cozy small-town living (surrounded by a large city), head to my town a little north of the airport. It seriously is like Mayberry from the old show, "Gomer Pyle." I wonder if you've seen it. Anyway, I love the way your mind works and I hope you find like-minded, creative and fun-loving people with rosy cheeks and all that good stuff soon...and you get to have a couple rounds of drinks with them, too! :)

  8. That really is a pity, about the pub, especially if it had been one like you described. It sounds almost impossible that there isn't one! Maybe they're all at the golf course. But it still sounds like a lovely place. Your dogs are just terrific! I never really manage to get all those different shadings and layers and textures right with a pen, but yours are jsut perfect!

  9. Sounds like a good idea to open a small pub. Wouldn't it be nice. Food for thought....errr...Drink for thought? tee hee. Love your drawings, always outstanding. I tried clicking on your link at Ayala's and it shows it as gone. Your name is there but it won't link to your blog? Anyway, I do love your work and enjoyed your post.

  10. Nic, that sound like the kind of place my husband would like to live in... I rather have a few more people near by, and preferable a clinic or hospital also, just in case... I would hate to drive 2 hours just to get to a Dr. ... the pub? I can live without them :oD

    I fixed the link for the 29 faces, so it is working fine. So happy you joined!!

    The 2 dog portraits are fantastic, so realistic ♥

  11. Reay sounds like a beautiful place to live. LOVE your doggie portraits!

  12. beautiful faces, i just love them all. I lived 46 of my 56 years in a small village , and I know from experience it takes time to settle in, I tried to be friendly and welcoming but sometimes the older people are slow to warm, and one does feel an outsider when everyone else knows each other, almost as well as relatives and our case lots of them too!I suppose we create in our mind the perfect scenario, it all takes time,

  13. Haha, love your fantasy! You could always open your own pub of course ... Who knows, might be a big success!

  14. Looks like everyone thinks you should open your own pub. That was my first thought. It sounded like such a wonderful place just like something my grandfather owned when I was little. I loved going straight from church to Poppie's bar every Sunday. Some people would think it was an unusual childhood memory but for us it was always a special time.

    Your sketches are amazing. I love looking at them over and over.


Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.


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