By Roz Skinner
The phrase "artistic safari" seems apt when describing No. 10 Borreraig Park, a luxury self-catering wing attached to the home of artist, Diana Mackie, and musician, Alan Cleobury-Jones.
No 10 frequently attracts a variety of creatives looking for peaceful surroundings in which to compose, paint, write or simply relax. "People read online that I am a musician and they know that we won't worry about people who want to scream and shout and play loudly," Alan reveals. Alan, who is part of local band, The Fulltones, offers his guests the chance to have a drumming lesson as part of their holiday experience.
The recent addition of a beach hide, means visitors can find a perfect place to escape and embrace their creativity. Says Diana: "It's always been our dream to have somewhere on the beach where people can go with their bottles, guitar, books and slippers and enjoy the outside without going outside!"
The hide, which boasts a roaring stove, comfortable furniture and awe-inspiring views, is ideally-located for wildlife watching. Otters, muntjac deer, whales, dolphins and herons have all been spotted by Diana and Alan's guests.
2017 will also see the culmination of a project that has taken several years to complete – the making of a collaborative film entitled The Journey. The film combines Diana's paintings and Alan's musical compositions with interpretive dance by Tina Fores-Hitt. Diana's daughter, film critic Amy Simmons, wrote poetry especially to accompany Diana's paintings. The poems are read in the rich tones of Skye-based writer, actor and poet, Angus Peter Campbell. Thanks to film-maker, Dan Brinkhuis, and his team in the Netherlands, the result is a hypnotic, intense visit into a stormy world – frantic dancing, thunderous percussion and visceral poetry completing the experience.
"We feel there is a huge potential for the film to be used educationally," Diana says. "Everyone involved will have an input, but I would love to see it used as an educational tool for children, depending on their age group and skill set. The film is universal – equally as relevant to university students as it is to a baby with a spoon banging a tin can. We want to stimulate people's imaginations, whatever level they might be at."
As well as the film, Alan has been working on a new music book, provisionally titled Coordination For Control Freaks. He explains: "If you play an instrument, you want to control it as best you can – so you become your own control freak! I have written a book of practice pieces, full of alternating rhythmic patterns. When the rhythm switches and the player switches hands, I believe there's a split second where the brain freezes, and that's when a mistake can be made." Alan hopes to finish the book this year.
Diana, who has her gallery underneath Alan's drumming space, has been creating a series of paintings centred around the moon. "Before going to bed at night, I always check the sky," Diana reveals. "Last winter, the moon seemed to have such a quality of colour, I found it quite bewitching. I enjoyed the challenge of painting just before it gets dark and discovered a whole new palette of shades to explore in order to create the effect of cold moonlight against dark skies."
Whether it's embarking on a new series of paintings, collaborating on a film or writing a book of drumming exercises, life at Diana and Alan's house is never stagnant! If you are looking for a hideaway retreat or want to be amazed by Diana's art, you can contact Diana and Alan on their website at: http://www.diana-mackie.co.uk/ and http://www.number10-skye.co.uk/.