Monthly Archives: April 2016

A stunning home and holiday let on the Isle of Harris

8A Borrisdale, Isle of Harris. Picture: John Maher

07:00 Sunday 01 May 2016 14:05 Friday 29 April 2016

When the inspiration for an island hideaway changed from Frank Lloyd Wright to a rather splendid shed , it was no compromise for Rob and Carol

Chopping off the top of a house might be a drastic way to stay on budget when doing a self-build, but for this enterprising couple, it s given them the chance to create a life-changing property. Looking for inspiration for a UK Discount Holidays © holiday after a few years of stateside travel, Rob popped into his local bookshop on the way to work one morning. Staring me in the face in the bargain section was a Time Out book on the Best British Beaches. Flicking through I came across Luskentyre beach on Harris. It looked beautiful, it was somewhere different that neither my wife, Carol, nor I had been, and also, as Carol s background is in textiles, I knew she d be keen to explore the Harris Tweed link as well.

Carol continues: We came to Harris for three days and loved it. In parallel to our visit we d been looking at land in Wales to do a build project but never found what we wanted. Within a month we d returned to Harris, hired a car and driven round the island. We found a plot of land we liked and six months later we were the proud owners of a 0.5-acre feu, formerly part of the Bays of Harris Estate. Basically we were just looking for an interesting project and on Harris it all clicked into place.

Initially we envisioned something referencing Frank Lloyd Wright, Rob recalls. However, local planning restrictions are quite conservative so we ended up with what looked like a one-and-a-half storey croft house with an adjoining apartment. We also weren t 100 per cent sure how the space would be used in the future, so we decided on two smaller units joined together. This would be constructed by means of a SIP (structural insulated panel) system.

Arrangements were made to have the timber frame built on the mainland and shipped across, but Rob and Carol still needed a builder. A Stornoway building contractor wasn t a viable option as the travel costs alone blew the budget, but eventually the answer appeared in the form of a previous contact. Jonathan Bridge was a chartered civil engineer who had built a timber-framed cottage on South Uist and who also had a neighbour, DJ MacIsaac, who was a builder.

Now the couple had a team on board, work could begin in earnest, but there was still the question of where to accommodate everyone during the build. Jonathan and DJ suggested The Shed which was essentially a clone of the chicken shed built on Jonathan s croft, but upgraded to provide habitable accommodation. It was a simple design blockwork gables, timber infill and framing constructed by hand on site with a galvanised sheet roof.

The Shed was a revelation to us, says Rob. With the addition of internal partitions for temporary bedrooms and a biomass pellet boiler for hot water and heating, this became our home on site for the next two years. During this time the groundworks also commenced which proved to be very challenging and prohibitively expensive. As the project manager I could see the money running away, says Carol. We took a step back and took some time to rethink the whole idea, and then Rob said: Why don t we just chop the top off the house?

What also came to light during this time was how much Carol and Rob actually loved the design of the shed so much so, that they cancelled the SIPS frame system and decided to construct the main houses using the same, modest, practical techniques that had been used for the shed. The redesign harked back to the 1920s croft house metal-sheeted roof, old-fashioned wet pebble dash render on the gables and wooden cladding. Internally, the two separate, adjoined units are based around the open plan living areas and incorporate a kitchen, dining area and a double bedroom with en suite shower room and Japanese-style soaking tub. A pleasant surprise is the quirky d cor and furnishings inspired by Rob s father, as Rob explains: When my dad retired and relocated I cleared out his loft. He was head designer for Crown Wallcoverings and before that a freelance wallpaper designer, and he used to hand paint the designs for wall coverings.

I found his portfolio of hand-painted designs from the 1960s and 70s. He told me just to put them in the skip but I had them all framed now they re hanging on the walls in Harris. This was the real prompt for us to create a mid-century interior before it became fashionable.

I found a lot of the pieces on eBay and at auction, Carol recalls. Most of it is British, but there are a few Danish designs as well. There s a centrepiece in the Big House of an RW Toothill daybed and chairs in afromosa. It s identical to what my parents had in the 60s. We re also really fond of the EoN dining chairs but the origin and designer of the dining table and matching sideboard in the Big House eludes us. The seating in both houses is mainly Ercol Jubilee which is exceptionally comfortable as well as a timeless design. The only significant new pieces are the Cochin beds from Natural Bed Company in Sheffield.

She adds: We weren t trying to be purist in slavishly creating a mid-century interior if this was the case, we could be criticised for not seeking out some more original Scandinavian pieces. It s just a look we like and we feel it really complements the buildings.

We also really wanted to provide a showcase for the local tweed, and we commissioned several designs which have been used on our cushions, curtains and even a wall hanging. They were all woven by Luskentyre s Donald John MacKay MBE, who is a key player in the renaissance of Harris Tweed. Rob continues: Ultimately, we just wanted to do something slightly different with the property, we didn t want it to be like what you normally expect in a Discount Holidays © holiday let.

Rob and Carol both affirm that the expectations they had of this project have been more than exceeded in every area. I can t deny it hasn t been stressful, says Rob. Initially we wanted a Discount Holidays © holiday home with a separate house as a business venture for when we retire. Then we thought my father would move up here and live next door. We re now starting to think about tweed and the options that the houses can give us for our future. Our trip to Harris really has been life changing.

Sound of Harris, www.soundofharris.co.uk1

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References

  1. ^ www.soundofharris.co.uk (www.soundofharris.co.uk)
  2. ^ terms and conditions. (www.johnstonpress.co.uk)
  3. ^ Terms and Conditions (www.johnstonpress.co.uk)
  4. ^ (www.scotsman.com)
  5. ^ No thanks, take me straight to the site. (www.scotsman.com)
  6. ^ (www.scotsman.com)

Bank Holiday travel: Eurotunnel passengers hit by delays of up to FIVE hours as train breaks down

Britons hoping to escape to the continent for the bank Discount Holidays © holiday weekend have been met with delays of up to five hours on the Channel Tunnel.

Eurotunnel1 passengers experienced lengthy delays during peak hours after a freight train broke down inside a tunnel early this morning. The rail link was beset by further problems caused by a power outage at the UK terminal in the afternoon. This required engineers to carry out an inspection before the route could be declared safe.

Meanwhile, IT problems affecting passenger check-in and security systems caused some delays at Gatwick Airport2 .

@LeShuttle3 Trapped inside your train. Been waiting 5 hours at Eurotunnel Folkstone. Awful service! When will we be moving???

Kate Sharp (@KateSharpUK) April 30, 20164

The delays came as holidaymakers attempted to get away for the long weekend, with some complaining of being stuck on a train for several hours and others deciding not to travel. Among them was Craig Dibble, from London, who had planned a day trip to Calais with his wife Liz Anderson and their children Lowri, 10, and Alice, eight.

The 43-year-old said the family were booked on a 12.50pm shuttle and believed his train had not left until 6.50pm.

Read more: Hero train driver rescues terrified boy, 3, from tracks moments before train thunders past5

“As we were about to leave the Eurotunnel sent out a text message saying they were experiencing delays but check-in as normal,” the IT engineer said.

Been waiting 3 hours and still saying 5 hours delay! #eurotunnel6

Ryan Colley (@RyanColley5) April 30, 20167

“When we got there the car park was rammed and people were parking on the grass. Fortunately it was sunny so people were having picnics.

“The signs changed to say five-hour delays and there was no indication of what was going on – we only had any idea by looking it up on Twitter.

Read more: Women hauled off EasyJet flight by police after ‘suicide bomber’ joke mid-air8

“There were people sitting on the F train for a few hours and we were on J so we did the maths and thought ‘this is ridiculous’. We wouldn’t have arrived in Calais until after 7pm so we left.

“The children were a bit disappointed they missed out.”

A Eurotunnel spokesman said: “We had a problem with a freight train that got stuck in the tunnel and that caused some delays initially between 6am and 8am, which was the time when we get a lot of traffic coming in for the weekend.

PA Bank <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Travel: Eurotunnel Passengers Hit By Delays Of Up To FIVE Hours As Train Breaks Down The delays came as holidaymakers attempted to get away for the long weekend (file picture)

“Then in the middle of the afternoon we had a reported delay of four to five hours, which is a worst estimate.”

It is unclear what caused the electrical fault in the UK terminal, he added.

“We did not have long queues on the motorway and traffic was not that high – people were waiting on the terminal,” the spokesman said.

“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience.”

Read more: Heart-stopping video shows children hide in rickety bridge as TRAIN passes over them9

People vented their frustration at the Eurotunnel service delays on Twitter. Kate Sharp said: “Trapped inside your train. Been waiting 5 hours at Eurotunnel Folkstone.

Awful service!

When will we be moving?”

Ryan Colley said: “Been waiting 3 hours and still saying 5 hours delay!”

References

  1. ^ Eurotunnel (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Gatwick Airport (www.mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ @LeShuttle (twitter.com)
  4. ^ April 30, 2016 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ Hero train driver rescues terrified boy, 3, from tracks moments before train thunders past (www.mirror.co.uk)
  6. ^ #eurotunnel (twitter.com)
  7. ^ April 30, 2016 (twitter.com)
  8. ^ Women hauled off EasyJet flight by police after ‘suicide bomber’ joke mid-air (www.mirror.co.uk)
  9. ^ Heart-stopping video shows children hide in rickety bridge as TRAIN passes over them (www.mirror.co.uk)

Bank Holiday travel misery for millions with warnings of severe delays on roads

Despite a miserable forecast there were warnings of severe delays on roads because of the huge volume of traffic this Bank Discount Holidays © Holiday weekend. The M25 is particularly busy with jams on the approach to the Dartford Crossing in Kent. The RAC expected up to 20 million leisure trips to be made over the break.

But most train passengers have been spared the traditional Discount Holidays © holiday engineering disruption.

Network Rail1 said it would be one of the least disruptive bank holidays for railway travel for many years .

PA Bank <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Travel Misery For Millions With Warnings Of Severe Delays On Roads Drivers will make up to 20million trips over the weekend

Showers or longer outbreaks of rain were expected in most places apart from the South-East. It will be especially wet in the North-West on Monday.

Read more: Drivers warned of road chaos as rain, gales and storms set to strike2

Laura Gilchrist of the Met Office3 said: The heaviest and most persistent rain is likely over the high ground of north-western UK later on Sunday and into the start of Monday.

It will be windy in most places with gales4 in exposed areas in the North-West. There is a low risk of severe gales in the far North-West.

Bank <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Travel Misery For Millions With Warnings Of Severe Delays On Roads 5 Watch this video again

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Veteran weatherman Michael Fish added: The British Isles have always had some of the most changeable weather in the world.

Never is that more true than at the start of May.

“Figures stretching back to the Victorians tell us that, even though we are moving into summer, the first week of this month can be cold and wet.

Better weather is on the way, with temperatures climbing from Tuesday and reaching 22 degrees next weekend.

References

  1. ^ Network Rail (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Drivers warned of road chaos as rain, gales and storms set to strike (www.mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ the Met Office (www.mirror.co.uk)
  4. ^ gales (www.mirror.co.uk)
  5. ^

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