Winter Grasses

Today the wee ferry is off.  The last weeks have been stormy and the combination of high winds and winter tides quite regularly suspend our one physical link with the outside world. No journeys, no post or deliveries, no milk or papers, no way off the island should that ever be necessary – unless in emergencies when they send the helicopter from the mainland.

There's no alternative but to be here and make the most of it. OK, the weather can be pretty inhospitable, but it makes a very good job of simplifying the options available.  Today for instance, I have no need to go anywhere, I can certainly live without post for a day or two, and there are enough food supplies in the pantry.

Simply knowing that we're cut off somehow focuses the mind on what's realistically possible and important.  On Jura today there is one shop, one pub, and nowhere to go other than a walk in the wind.  There's nothing to do other than exactly what I can actually do.

Whilst I didn't plan it this way, exiling myself on a quiet island, for a time separated from the marketeers' prevailing assumption that everything is possible, has been strangely liberating. Today, only a few things are possible and I'll get them done. What a relief...

It helps that I have plenty to get on with. Following the collaborations with Steve Jansen, Dudley Phillips and the Scottish Ensemble last year I've been editing the recordings we made and starting overdubs and mixing.  Continuing in a vein of self-sufficiency, and because I'd like the completion of the record to happen in as organic a way as possible, I've upgraded the equipment here so that I can make the highest quality final recordings and mixes in my own time rather than decamping to another recording studio.

So the final production stage commences. The first mixes should be appearing by the time Spring eventually asserts itself over the Winter - which is still a month or two away.

Over and out.


Hugh Carswell