April 2016: We’re working on a ‘picnic place makeover’ at Eight Askernish (and also at Carrick – The Blue House, Eriskay) to make outdoors as inviting and as practical as it is indoors. They’re very different cottages, of course, used in different ways, and tend to be booked by guests with different needs, so what we’re doing is … yes, that’s right, go on … similar. At both houses we know – from you! – that when the occasion and the weather are right, you want to be able to sit outside – comfortably – for a meal, and it could as well be breakfast or morning coffee and toast as lunch … it could be anytime. Good food, conversation, bird song … perfect! Our own experience tells us that outdoor furniture has to be safe when a storm suddenly blows up, summer or winter, and that means picknic benches, and at Carrick it means bolted down! At Carrick we’ve just completed a deck of larch, to complement the house ; but at Eight Askernish we’ve kept it simpler – again, in keeping with the house, widening out the stone path to create a clean, dry, level area for the picnic bench – so much more satisfactory than on wet grass! Next? New island-built picnic benches: in our extreme climate, the softwood and plain steel screws of flat-pack products don’t last long!