Well that’s it over, Raasay’s biggest yearly event is by with. Now it might seem strange to people who don’t actually live here that the annual school coffee day is the most eagerly anticipated function of the year. Of course you might just think that living on a wee island we haven’t got anything better to do and you’d be wrong. Well actually you’d probably be right just at the moment with Raasay House being closed for renovations the hotel being closed for the winter and the village hall not being fully open yet 😦 but even if all these other venues were open this would still be the islands biggest draw. In almost 20 years of living here it has never ceased to amaze me that a school with as little as 6 pupils and at the most 30 could pull in such a crowd and raise so much money. When you consider that there are only 90 odd permanent addresses on an island with less than 200 people then the fact that they have never raised less than £1000 in 20 years and considerably more in many is a testament to the community.
Such a pefect day
It’s a song by someone, but it was!
The day started as ever with the usual round of feeding only this time I separated out 3 of the Tamworth gilts for their trip to Dingwall on Monday 😦 after which it was a mad rush to get all the little jobs like emptying the feed from the Land Rover and re building the dashboard done before heading down to the school behind the gritter.
Though the nice man did let me pass with my precious cargo of chili, the wife having set off earlier with her chicken curry. As I arrived a little late all the heavy moving of tables etc had been done and already a fine macaroni and ham soup had been brought in by Ann Macleod two wonderful salads by Mairi Nicolson, and some bean salad by Anna Kenny. Hugh (Hooky) Mackay was busy unloading his digger for the ‘Raasay Digger Challenge’ and Chrisabeth Brown along with Jane Gillies were busy unloading mountains of home baking. Many more people brought stuff and helped but I spent most of the day in the kitchen with the ‘Babes’ slaving over a hot stove and the washing up so missed a lot of it!
Despite having sweated in the school kitchen all week and looked after all the guests at http://www.allt-arais.co.uk/ B&B Anda brought in a wonderful soup and kept us all in line in her kitchen. You can tell she’s a professional by the gloves! Outside the kitchen there was plenty going on
There was a fine ‘Crofting calender’ on sale
Which was designed and drawn by the pupils, clicking on the images will enlarge them and many thanks to Balfour Beatty for sponsoring it. There was a spectacular cheque handover from Balfour Beatty to the school but yours truly was so busy washing up he missed it. I did however have chance to go and try what must have been one of the biggest attractions and that was the ‘Raasay Digger Challenge’ which involved lifting a bucket of water off the ground, slewing it round and placing it on three different platforms, trying to do it as quickly as possible whilst retaining as much water as you could in the bucket.
Other attractions included a raffle for amazing prizes like a Half hour flying lesson from http://www.highlandflyingschool.co.uk/ nights out in various hotels ( which once I’ve found out which ones they are I’ll tell you and if anyone has a list of prizes could they email it to me ) The piano playing digger driver winning the plane trip and a night in a posh hotel. There was also a trip from http://www.seafari.co.uk/skye/ as a prize. The silent auction included a selection of tools, electrical equipment and two piglets which could end up on the menu at http://www.isleofraasayhotel.co.uk/ when it re opens for Easter! Two excellent arial photos one of ‘Calum’s Road’ and one of North bay and the old pier donated by George Rankine fetched excellent prices. There was ‘guess the weight’ of a cake and clootie dumpling both of which were won by Gina Ferguson ( again ) years of working in the Raasay stores has given her very accurate scales in her hands!
The dining room was busy all day with everything being eaten and all the plates coming back clean! which either means the portions were’nt large enough or people realy enjoyed them. Ann Macleods macaroni took an early lead, the two large dishes running out first, the chilli was a bit slow off the mark but soon gained ground and caught up with Barbara’s chicken curry both of which ran out around 2:30pm which was pretty good really considering that it was our first time. All in all it was a fantastic event on an amazing day and whilst it’s not possible just now to give an accurate count of the takings it will certainly be around the £2000 this year which has to be some kind of record for a school with only 16 pupils.
And once the washing up was done and the kitchen cleaned I watched the sun go down over the Cuilins from the playground.