Sounds an unhealthy combination, doesn't it! We started today by heading in to the local shop (Take "Local" somewhat loosely - local up here is a 10 mile round trip!) for some more kindling for the fire, then up the road to Hebridean Smokehouse for some of their quite excellent Peat Smoked salmon pate for our lunch. Next stop was McLeans Bakery on Benbecula for some oatcakes to go with the pate! We made the handy discovery last year that they sell nice big bags of broken oatcakes in the shop - usually tucked slightly out of the way to ensure that the tourists buy the posh packets at a higher price, I suspect! Anyhow, at 80p for a bag probably three times the size of the standard packs, we weren't complaining about a few crumbs in the bottom of the bag!
From there it was on to Creagorry at the lower end of Benbecula. We discovered a couple of years ago that the South Ford as the area is known is a rich picking ground for cockles and mussels - so off we strode armed with a cut down rake (well, it had to be cut down to get it in the back of the car!) and a bucket. A short while later that was dinner sorted out! A quick call into the co-op for those classic shellfish accompaniments of wine, garlic & cream and off we went again.
First priority was to find somewhere for lunch - without any clear idea of where we picked a side road to turn off onto and away we went......sometimes these little turning end up as little more than tracks but this one was fine and eventually we found a nice spot where we could pull off the road with a view over a lovely white sandy beach. The place was teeming with bird-life - including the little chaps above - Ringed and Grey Plovers. First time we'd seen Grey Plovers and I have to confess to only having made a firm ID once back here with the help of Surfbirds bird identifier - I'm afraid we usually find the RSPB one hopeless! We sat outside for quite a while watching them running about and taking the occasional photo......
Back at the cottage now and the wind is howling about the place - it's showering too so the raindrops are splattering against the window. Warm & cosy in the front room though with the fire lit. There is a faint smell of peat smoke in the air and I have a pint of Isle of Skye Brewery's Hebridean Gold at my right hand and a fabulous view out of the window......life doesn't get much better.