Category Archives: written posts

lies, lies, lies from British Telecommunications

BT said that for the period of time I have been without an internet connection, a prepaid connection, I would be refunded the payment for the relevant periods of time, I have been dreading the bill coming in as I strongly suspected that BT would charge me for an internet connection even though they were not providing the connection, sadly and annoyingly I am right, Monday afternoon the bill from BT arrived and they have not only not given a refund for all the time they have not provided a connection but they are also charging me for the next 3 months service even though I am no longer a customer of BT, when I phoned to explain I was told I had never complained of no internet service but only of a slow speed, I have reached a stage of feeling disgust not only for the company of BT but for all it’s employees, the number of lies I have been told by BT staff, it cannot be an accident or mistake, that frequency of lying is intended, calculated even, I firmly believe now that BT train their staff to lie, I had been putting off writing to the ombudsman but feel now that BT have left me with no choice, I am not paying the bill they have sent when I am no longer a customer of BT, I really hate it when I have to fight for my rights but fight I will, I am studying with the OU and half my course is online, submitting all essays is online and the forums for students to communicate is online, all of which I have not been able to participate in fully due to BT, it has given me a lot of time to think about and consider how we live with yet another society of have’s and have not’s, those who have internet access and those who do not, where I live many people do not have an internet connection because there is not a supply in their area, just the other end of my village people cannot get a connection and I know one lady who has no connection in her village and accesses the internet by driving the hour into Stornoway to sit in her car with laptop and dongle just to read her e mail, providing access at libraries is very limiting, we are fortunate that Stornoway library allows one hour session per day, however, Inverness library only offers a 15 minute session, if they are not busy you may be lucky and get 2 sessions, back to back, but that is still only 30 minutes a day, an unequal IT society,


on the bright side I have finally used the wall paper I bought last October, I now have a living room full of butterflies, if you are curious it is a Laura Ashley paper, totally different from any style of decorating I have done before, I usually go for plain walls, mostly just emulsion, just decided if I can’t get into the garden I’d try bring a bit of garden inside,


©Copyright 2015 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

the night of 130 mph gusts …..

When I looked out at my garden as light came Friday morning I could see the storm during the night was stronger than the pre-christmas storms. Some old drawers (that should have been turned into raised beds last year) had blown away, they were in a sheltered place, upturned wet wood with several large stones on top, they had survived like that with even 90mph winds before the festive season, 3 of the 4 are blown away in scattered bits, I can see some of the debris, the fourth is amazingly still intact but along the garden, the stones were tossed aside. My mini wind proofing around some of the raised vegbeds is flapping like flags, again it had withstood 90mph winds, it was attached very firmly, with regular winter wind speeds of 70, 80 and 90mph winds nothing is ever not attached firmly. I will not be picking any fresh kale or broccoli for a while as the plants are ragged sticks.

The electric went during the early hours of Friday morning and stayed off until Saturday morning, it was back on when I got up this morning, I was very surprised by this as it means the engineers were out working through the night. I have very high respect for the service engineers here in the highlands and islands of Scotland, the weather extremes they work in at times would leave most people downing tools and complaining to their union, employer, MP, etc. thank you engineers.

Listening to the shipping forecast this morning, it is the only relevant forecast for the Outer Hebrides the land forecast is useless, I realised that gale and storm are not interchangeable words which I had previously thought, apparently storms are stronger than gales and today we here can expect, gale force 8 through severe gale force 9 to storm force 10. The Shetland isles north of the Hebrides, are expecting sever storm force 11 to hurricane force 12, I am glad I did not move the Shetland, thinking of you sister islands.

During the early hours of Friday morning Stornoway (my local town) weather meter logged 130mph wind gusts, the strongest in the UK except for the top of the cairngorm mountains which logged 140mph gusts but there are no houses up there.

While writing this and thinking of rabbit comments in my previous post I thought I’d tell a rabbit storm tale. With this change to wetter weather we now get a lot more storms from the north, previously we rarely got winds from the north, all wind protection was on the west/south west side of property, gardens, etc.
Now down at the little cove near me, across the river from the track (the track is on the north side) there is a nice very large bank that faces north, when I first saw it I named it the rabbit highrise as it was (note past tense) full of rabbit entrance tunnels. Well 2 winters ago after one of these new northern storms when all was calm I took a walk down to the cove. As I get to the end of the track I can see the rabbit highrise across the river, now perhaps I should not have but I burst into laughter as there was not a single entrance tunnel to be seen. The wind coming from the north had wiped across the sandy beach and filled all the holes! In my defense I did not realised the impact it had on the rabbits, I had visulised them tucked up in their dens just needing to dig their way out and fully expect the next time I visited the cove for rabbit highrise to be back in action. That never happened, in a single storm lots and lots of rabbits were lost and I imagined it was probably not the only place it happened. A few entrances appeared again but another storm filled them too, it is now strange down at the cove with so few rabbits scampering the other side of the river, I wonder what effect this may have had on the seagull population as they would have been the rabbits main predator and in spring and summer the gulls nest on the cliffs around the cove and along the shore.

Wishing everyone a good weekend whatever your weather and where ever you are, x

©Copyright 2015 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

time stood still

looking back on progress in my garden during 2014 and it is the year when time stood still, all the hopes and plans I had optimistically early in the year came to nothing, yes plants grew both the good and the bad, the fruit and veg harvest was good (for me), however when a few weeks ago I cut the wildflower slope I saw the alder garden and remembered all the hopes I had for creating more veg beds, none of which have materialised because the rain has been so persistent and I do not want to work outside in the rain, this is a photo less post as it is raining, grey and miserable outside, so I am staying in,

looking at the year from both sides, there are some plants that have done well but there are others that did not survive and are lost forever, I know I should feel hope for the coming year but I’m actually dreading it as I do not think I can survive another year of rain, I’m making myself more melancholic by writing this post,

the veggies have been my saviour, I am so pleased I started growing veg, I am still harvesting broccoli greens and baby leeks, I have planted garlic and one set of autumn onions, the potatoes are finished but I still have 2 small net sacks of onions, I pulled the first crop of beetroot which did not grow any bulbs but I read or heard (can’t remember which) that you can sow beetroot in July for an early crop next year, well my second sowing was in July so I am leaving them and also leaving the main crop leeks which have not grown very big to see what happens,

2014 has been a double ‘R’ year, RR no not rest and relaxation, RR = Rain and Referendum,

my end of year view, like end of month views are about the garden which is what I have written about above, this year I am adding an additional writing on more worldly thoughts,

in the last week we have all heard of the ferry on fire, fortunately we now know most of the people are safe, we have all heard of the plane that is missing and now sadly believed to have crashed into the sea, my thoughts have been with the people on the plane and their families and friends, a few weeks ago gale force winds swept across parts of Asia and we heard how the people had moved inland for safety and that their wood and corrugated metal homes would be blown down or worse still blown away, I felt, still feel very grateful for my stone house that withstands the gale force winds that sweep the island I live on every winter,
things like this put other things into a different perspective and make my melancholy about the rain feel like a luxury,

wishing all my readers a brilliant 2015 and a Happy New Year x


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

winter solstice

one of my favourite dates, the darkest day of winter, from this day on the daylight will last a little longer, the grey outside means lights are on inside even during the daylight hours, happy winter solstice to those north of the equator and happy summer solstice to those south of the equator,

the weather here has been very unusual, strong winds this time of year we are used to and in the last few years excessive rain too, however in less than 2 weeks we have had 4 thunder storms, since moving to the islands 15 years ago I have only known 2 thunder storms in all those years, it was one of the things I noticed about the weather, the lack of thunder storms, the last 2 thunder storms brought heavy hailstones and I do mean stones it was quite scary, I have been lucky but I understand some people have suffered damage to their homes, I hope we do not get any more, very weird weather,

with the washing machine the third thing happened, I could not get the screw nut undone on the water inlets to disconnect the old machine so had to call my nice friendly plumber who lucky was working near by, he lives in the same village too, he called in and did it for me, I felt better that he too could not do it by hand and needed his special tool for undoing difficult screw nuts, I had decided not to use any grippers on them incase I broke the plastic, machine working now,

the storms have turned most of the privet hedge brown and the leaves are starting to fall so it will soon be mostly bare, the olearia has turned mostly black, I’m always reading and hearing how evergreens are the backbone of the winter garden, not if you live by the sea and there are winter storms, I always think the people who talk of evergreens being a winter feature must garden in areas with very tame winter weather, the privet and olearia will grow new foliage next spring but this is not true of all evergreens and I have lost many over the years so now I rarely buy evergreens unless I have good reason to think they can survive the salty winds, the lodge pole pines look as if the storms have not touched them but I know from experience they have suffered wind burn, the needles will over the coming months change to some lovely autumn colours before finally falling never to grow again, this cycle means the pines only have foliage on the ends of the branches where new stems grow, the middle being quite bare giving them an open look,

I was going to add some photos but find I have no photos of the garden this month, the last photos of the garden were taken on the 28th November, so a word post,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

why I blog

Jessica recently posted about why she writes a blog, apparently there is a round of these posts though as I do not read many blogs Jessica’s is the first post I’ve seen on the subject, I read many of the replies to her post and noticed many people write to an audience, this is what made me consider writing my own post about why I blog and how I started, and the journey I’ve traveled as a blogger for nine and a half years,
frances caple.ropes in nets2
in the beginning, long ago in January 2005 a quilt list I was/still am on a member posted that she had just started a weblog, web log shortened to blog nowadays, they were/are online diaries, and she asked if other quilters were doing the same or would be interested in starting, she wanted to create a ‘ring’ for quilters, you do not see rings much now and I’ve found some of the ones I belong to no longer work so I have removed them from my side bar, it was a means of a group of weblogs to connect to each other, I started my first weblog and joined the ring,
the name Island Threads came because I was at that time living on 2 islands, my home was here on Lewis but most of my week was spent on North Uist, so as I was traveling between the 2 islands, I was connecting a thread and of course textiles and quilting are all about threads,


allium detail

allium detail

so when I read about people blogging for online presence then being surprised and pleased to find they are communicating, for me communicating was there from the start, although we communicated through the quilt list and still do the weblog gave us the advantage of showing photos, which is why I have not used the title ‘why I write’ for me it’s all about seeing, I’m not talking perfect photos I’m talking seeing as you could see if you could pop round to each others homes,


I deleted that first weblog in the summer of 2006 but as I had most of the posts in word format, after having a post disappear when I clicked publish early in my blogging life, I write all my posts in a text document first, I started to upload some of the early posts to this blog a few years ago but never have finished the project,

sunrise over Barvas moor

I soon started blogging again as I missed it only this time I used the BBC island blogging site for my blog to connect with other islanders as well as quilters, the BBC closed their blog platform in (I think) 2009, as I had started this wordpress blog and used it in 2008 for a picture a day posts, I moved everything here and I hope not to move again,
I began to quilt/stitch less and garden more, I found blotanical in September 2010 and met other garden bloggers my garden took over Island Threads, I know the name does not fit so well but I’m not changing it,


I still think of my blog as an online diary, I write and post photos of what I want to record about the garden and occasionally other things, that other people should find my thoughts and photos interesting enough to want to read is nice and when they comment and we can have a conversation that’s even better, I read the blogs of people who comment on my blog (if they have one) and comment on most, I’m afraid I don’t comment on some google/blogger blogs due to the commenting set up needing me to either log into a google account or share my wordpress account with google, neither of which I wish to do, my choice,


my online diary is an evolving diary, it has changed in the last 9.5 years and will no doubt change again as the years roll on, visitors have come and gone, I’ve met some lovely people along the way and a few unwanteds which is why I now monitor comments, I have participated in textile exchanges, received plants from other gardeners and had the pleasure of meeting up with some people, x


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.