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Sunday, 1 April 2012

One of those weeks.....

The week started off with the most stunning weather for Spring, breaking all records back to 1870-something with the high temperatures. Even in Orkney the temperature was up to 19 degrees - we don't get that heat in summer never mind MARCH!  It was two or three days of pure bliss.  Although working,  I found time to wander down to the shore and lie on the pier (photo below) listening to the waves gently lap the shore. This is one of my favourite spots on Graemsay. The old pier was built at the time of the construction of the lighthouses and was used to ship all the materials over from Stromness.

It splits the two beaches at Sandside into one very sandy beach with few shells and one beach with lots of shells and cold water coral but not so much sand.

I found the remains of a poor crab (I assume?) with beautiful intricate markings

It was sheer bliss listening to the waves and all the bird calls that are filling the air now Spring is here. I could hear:

Skylark (dwindling numbers in the UK)
Lapwing (sometimes called pee-wits because that's what their calls sounds like!)
Hooded crow
Blackbird (one of my favourite calls, so melodic)
Sparrows (again dwindling in numbers)
Geese (oh far too many here)
Fulmars (chatting to each other on the cliffs)
Herring gulls

It filled my heart with joy and soothed my spirit.

Of course other folk were busy making the most of the weather. One of my neighbours was moving some sheep. While "Mum" was up ahead leading the flock to new grazing, the "younger generation" were helping one of the slower members to move along!

Lambing has begun in Orkney and the "Lamb Bank" is open for business again. No, not a new financial institution, but a much older one that works well in the farming community. The word goes out if someone is in need of a lamb to put to a ewe that has lost hers, and a farmer with a "spare" can help out where needed. Excellent system!

Anyway after a beautiful taste of summer, my week went downhill from thereon.

a) The temperature plummeted to more normal for this time of year - from 19 degrees to 9 degrees.

b) My kettle broke (it's been wonky for a while but still worked) - and as every tea lover knows you MUST have boiling water for a decent cup of tea!

c)  My island car is out of action so I'm hitching lifts to and from the pier (fortunately I'm on the main route to the pier so that's not too bad and neighbours are kind!).  And

d) central heating broke..... WAH! WAH! WAH!  And in fairly spectacular fashion with a pipe bursting and water leaking through the kitchen ceiling....sigh..... The pipe has probably been drip leaking for some time and I thought it was winter rain through the kitchen window staining the plasterboard.  Unfortunately the plumber who installed the pipes during renovation did not choose the best route with this particular pipe and it has corroded due to it's proximity to the outer stone wall, hence the leak. But to find the problem meant pulling up some floorboards and will take some intricate fixing to get round the old floor-board joists and existing pipework. Hopefully it can get fixed this week. None of this activity by ME but a helpful neighbour!  Meantime Button and I are glued to a portable heater I carry around with me....... PLEASE can we have some sunshine!! (It is, of course, lovely weather in the rest of Scotland....not to mention the rest of the UK -harumph!).


  1. Keep those beautiful days in mind while your pipes get fixed. They won't keep you warm on the outside, but maybe a little bit on the inside. Warm hugs!

    1. Last night I had the electric blanket on and imagined I was lying on a warm sandy beach ;-)

  2. All sounding good, apart from burst pipes and plumetting temps, of course. We have unusually mild weather for the season up here and so are hoping for a good, early Spring and a bountiful garden summer. Unfortunately, the sheer weight of snow has smashed every pane in the greenhouse roof! So that's a job we must get in hand soon.

    1. Good grief - I hope we don't get as much snow as you! Beautiful pictures on your blog. But I'll pass on the actuality this year if you don't mind....

  3. I looked and looked and looked for a crab, but couldn't find it--then realized I was looking at the wrong picture. Duhh. Those really ARE intricate markings!

  4. Your "island" car ? You have multiple cars ? ;-) We had a ridiculous HOT spell two weeks ago when the temperatures matched mid-summer highs. Now we're back down to 6-7 C and freezing at night. Sigh ...

    Hope you get sunshine, working car and heating fixed poste haste.

    Think about soft lambs ...

    1. We don't have a roll-on-roll-off car ferry so yes it's necessary to have a car on the island (because in a gale you really don't want to be riding a bike to pick up your groceries!) and one on the Mainland.....

      I was wondering about grabbing some lambs to throw on the bed at night - but decided the - er - mess in the morning wouldn't be worth it!

  5. oh i feel for you with no heating :( the fire went out last night and it is feezing here this morning, these old houses get so chill very quickly. hope it gets fixed soon :)

    1. Although my house is reasonably insulated and fairly draught free, now that it has cooled down from the central heating it is quite cold AND hard to keep more than one room warm....ho hum.. hopefully it will get fixed soon. HOpe you can stay warm too!

  6. Oh, poor Sian, what a rollercoaster week! I do hope the car and the heating get mended soon and the weather warms up again. We're waiting for the forecast snow as I type. Thank goodness we arrived on Saturday in the dry.

    1. I'll settle for heating.....sigh.... hope your enjoy your time in te "North" and you don't get snowbound!

  7. Louise from Seattle2 April 2012 at 15:17

    Do you do "April Fools Day" in Scotland? I was hoping your post was an April Fools joke, but alas - I'm so sorry for you with your heating and car problems, not to mention the weather. Here in Seattle we just finished the 3rd rainiest March in the record-books - and we were here for the 2nd rainiest one, too, in 1997. Hope you have a warm, sunny week ahead and more Welsh cakes. Love the Welsh cakes!

    1. Oh if only it was an April Fool! And yes we have that in the UK. Though I think April Fool "pranks" are banned in Orkney after some debacle a few years ago!! Yes I've heard about your rain in Seattle! Hope you dry out soon and may you too have a wonderful summer! Sorry I won't get to see you this year - you will have to wait to taste welsh cakes another year ;-)