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Over the last two weeks, the Courier has revealed how a family of friendly ‘Furbochs’ is encouraging people to explore and appreciate the wonders of nature on Gigha as part of an island wellbeing initiative.
The furry creatures are helping the organisers of the Our Gigha and Me (OGAM) project by travelling round the island in their own little shepherd’s hut, full of fun and nature-based activities for all ages to enjoy.
The Furbochs also feature in a storybook, written by Maggie Wilkieson and illustrated by Kris Miners.
‘We are researching whether community-led nature interventions, including the Furboch house and its activities, as well as The Gigha Furboch storybook and an outdoor shelter for young people, can help to improve the wellbeing of children and families,’ said an OGAM spokesperson.
‘The project was designed to help make getting outdoors a bit different, fun and a little quirky, whilst making the most of what our beautiful island has to offer us.’
The OGAM project organisers have kindly allowed the Courier to share the Furboch storybook. Last week’s issue featured the first half, with the conclusion this week.
The Gigha Furboch – part two
The Furboch and the wise little man sat on the rocks in the sunshine and both thought about what was said.
The wise little man reached up and pushed his toorie right back to expose his shiny bald head. His hand drifted down to settle on his jaw.
And there was a long pause before he spoke slowly, as those who think in the Gaelic and speak in the English often do, and said: ‘Mr Furboch, I’m not sure you and I are so very different… and I would believe that any differences we have are to be celebrated… certainly not something to concern ourselves with.’
The two sat in a comfortable silence, enjoying the beauty of the poor man’s diamonds glistening on the water, lighting up the world.
The wise little man rose to his feet slowly, looked into the Furboch’s eyes, straightened his toorie, and bade the Furboch a good day.
The Furboch sat a while longer on the rock, under the sun which had risen high into the sky.
Warm on his rock, he slid onto the cool white sand and allowed his head to rest on the grassy bank.
He thought about the wise little man. He remembered his demeanour and tried to mimic the wise little man’s stance, folding his arms over his own rounded little tummy.
But the Furboch’s arms did not quite reach so instead he rested his hands, palms down, on his tummy and watched as they rose and fell with his breathing.
Time passed and he felt quite relaxed as he watched his hands rise and fall, whilst listening to the waves gently lapping to and fro onto the shore, rhythmically and in time.
It was strange and comforting, a feeling of some kind of connection, and felt very good.
He stretched and rose to his feet, licking the salty spray from his lips.
He stretched again.
He loved the shore.
He walked towards the water’s edge and dipped his hairy big feet into the water and chuckled as a small green crab darted sideways and burrowed under the sand.
‘Are you safe there in your home, Mr Crab, from my hairy big feet?’ he asked, but Mr Crab was nowhere to be seen.
The Furboch raised his eyes and looked over the sea, taking in its sparkling beauty and looking further across this wonderful island he had found, by chance.
‘I’m home too, Mr Crab.’ he said softly, ‘I’m home too.’
He thought about his tummy, remembering the fluttery, jumpy, icky feeling he had earlier in the day. It had gone, replaced by that familiar soft squidgy feeling, which felt very warm and very good.
Several months later, another Furboch made her way from Rhunahaorine Point to Gigha, in time becoming Mrs Furboch, with babies arriving soon after.
The Furboch family live in the woods on Gigha, although they like to travel all around the island, loving, just as the Furboch does, the beauty of the landscapes, the wildlife, both on land and sea, the smells and the tastes, the colours and the changing seasons, the company of people and the quietness… and most of all the soft squidgy feeling they have in their tummies which makes them feel very good.
They are shy but do enjoy seeing people so please, do to visit them whenever you can!
Anyone is welcome to visit the Gigha Furbochs – there is a map outside the village shop which offers a clue on where to look for them.