Here commences a greatly overdue post about The Lazy Duck. I arrived on April 19 and now, three months later, feel very much settled in and thoroughly grateful to be here.
The Lazy Duck is a rather magical place with accommodations (huts, private hostel, camping), animals (sheep, chickens, ducks), and various extras such as a wood-fired hot tub, infrared sauna, and bush bucket shower. I’m here as a volunteer, the arrangement being I get free accommodation and a weekly allowance in exchange for 25 hours of work per week. Any extra hours are paid at an hourly rate. The work is varied, which I appreciate, and my tasks include cleaning, laundry, animal care, guest check-ins, maintenance, gardening, and making the occasional sign. 🙂
I may have had too much fun making these little signs.
I took my duckling cuddling duties very seriously.
Although they have grown a bunch since this photo, our two Aylesbury babies are still inseparable!
Here’s where it gets even better: my accommodation is a 6.5’x16.25’ caravan, cute and cosy with everything I need and plenty of charm. I mean, the dusty rose velour curtains and yellow wood paneling aren’t exactly my style, but you can’t beat the location – a polytunnel garden and chicken coop on one side, a forest on the other. There’s no running water and only an external composting toilet, but I’ve made the necessary adjustments and am loving living the simple life.
My caravan from the outside.
The cosy interior.
I have also come to love my chicken and sheep neighbours, and get much enjoyment from observing the lambs play-fighting outside my window or the chickens sticking their necks out as they run full-tilt towards me at supper time. A couple times a lamb has gotten stuck in the fence when its horns catch as it tries to pull its head back in after munching the greens on the other side. Selfishly, I love when this happens because it means I get to have a brief lamb cuddle as I assist in its extrication. They are Soay sheep, a very old breed which has never been fully tamed or domesticated, so they are quite shy of humans.
In addition to hanging out and working with the lovely Lazy Duck team, I’ve also been involved in a couple local events, including orienteering and the Cairngorm Community Orchestra. Orienteering was great fun and I made friends with M, who was just as uncertain and unconfident as I was, so we made a great team. We even participated in a competition and hit most of the points with 10 seconds to spare! This is not actually impressive, but it was much better than we thought we’d do, which made it a personal win.
As for the orchestra, because they were too full of flautists, they asked if I’d be willing to help out with percussion. This is how, with 3 rehearsals to go before the spring concert, I became a triangle player! A bit later I also found myself playing the cymbals. It all felt ridiculous, but was great fun and everyone was very encouraging. The main percussionist was especially grateful for the help. As it was, she had about 3 instruments to coordinate at any given moment. My percussion debut was an overall success, although of course the star of the show was cello soloist Katy Bell, who was phenomenal. Being on a roll with learning new instruments, I also ended up having a trumpet lesson from french horn player T, but ultimately decided there were too many other things I’d rather spend my time on. Still, it was fun while it lasted, and I made a new friend to boot.
A Lazy Duck gathering
Cairngorms Orchestra spring concert
I think I’d better wrap this up for now. But seriously, if you are ever in Scotland, The Lazy Duck is well worth a visit!