One of the fun sides of blogging is you get to know all sorts of people from around the world and sometimes get to meet them too! I've met several in the past, including Dancing Beastie and her family, and of course Orkney Flowers. This week it was the turn of Perpetually in Transit to come for a short visit. Oh we had a wonderful time! Lots and lots of conversations about rural communities, books, archaeology, Orkney, ourselves, bread makers and many other topics. We were both saying that having read someone's blog regularly for a while, the first meeting face-to-face meeting isn't like meeting someone for the very first time. Over many blog posts you can learn a lot about someone. OK it might be an edited version, but you can still get a strong impression of the person. So it was with "Perpetua". We could get right into conversations based on things we knew about each other.
The weather wasn't at it's best and Perpetua braved the high seas (literally) to get here. Having got off the large ferry from Scrabster and saying it was a "lively" sail I had to introduce her to our very wee replacement ferry. However I assured her it WAS sea-worthy, and the journey would only take 15 minutes. After a brief walk down the street and a reviving cup of tea we boarded the ferry. This being the school run, most of the Graemsay children were on board so there were many hands to be shaken and exchanges of greetings.
We had a brief tour around Graemsay and popped in to see Irene who used to be the teacher on the island in the "one teacher/head teacher" school, until it closed. We had a lovely blether (chat) with her, while she recounted tales of her days at the school and the children she taught.
Here is a photo of the side of Graemsay that looks towards the island of Hoy with the lovely sandstone cliffs glowing as the sun sets.
The old Kirk and Burra Sound with Hoy in the background
On Friday the weather had fortunately cheered up with blue skies and sun (though a chill wind) and Perpetua and I headed off for Skara Brae, the Neolithic village, and the Ring of Brodgar, a Neolithic stone circle. These are "must sees" on any visit to Orkney. I love showing visitors around because it reminds me how lucky I am to live here. Also it's interesting seeing my "home" through other people's eyes. Perpetua went around the interpretation centre at Skara Brae while I sneaked off for a cup of tea and cake! Then we wandered around the neolithic village together. We were very fortunate to be the only people there at the time and had the place to ourselves for some minutes. This enabled some nice photo opportunities without getting other people's heads in the way!!
This photo was taken with my feet in Skara Brae. You can see how close it is to the shore now, though at one time it was much farther inland. There is a beautiful sweep of Skaill Bay to wander along after a walk around the village.
One of the houses with the hearth clearly visible. Skaill House is in the background.
This is the famous stone "dresser", with the hearth just in front of it. You can see how close to the shore the village is now.
Here you can see openings which lead into the underground passage-ways that link the houses. Excellent for this climate - good protection from weather and attack. Though no weapons have been found at the site. At the back of this house you can see the stone beds. It is thought that the people at that time slept in a crouched position, sitting up.
We then wandered up to Skaill House which is inextricably linked to Skara Brae. This is the home of the Scarth/Macrae family and is a large "laird's" residence but with comfortable and well appointed family rooms. The views from the "drawing room" are stunning!
It was then time to head off to the Ring of Brodgar as Perpetua had an afternoon ferry to catch. But more of that in another post in a couple of days. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy the photos on this post. We had a lovely time wandering around, chatting over tea and exchanging stories!