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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Shipping livestock

It's that time of year when farmers are sending stock to market.  This year's lambs, breeding cattle etc. Above as you can see quite a few sheep waiting to be shipped. At least it's a bonny day for a sale.

We've had a few problems with the crane on the MV Graemsay, so the ferry company has had to get one of the renewable energy work boats to help out.  You can see here the vessel closest to the pier has lifted the cattle from the pens on the pier over onto the MV Graemsay which will take them back to Stromness.  They will be offloaded onto lorries and taken through to the Auction Mart in Kirkwall.

These are mostly young "beasts" so they will be sold on to farmers to "fatten up" for meat later.  That part I don't like to think of ! I eat little meat these days, but I live in a farming community and that is just part of what happens. At least they get to graze fresh grass and breathe clean air which is more than factory kept animals do.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Snow showers!

To be honest it fell on Graemsay mostly as sleet and hail.  But this is what the weather reporters mean when they say "snow on hills".  It was a wee bit chilly for a while, but it didn't last.

A snow shower on Hoy!

We've not had "proper" snow for years.  I love the brightness of fresh snow but I do hate it once it gets slushy or even worse, frozen over!

Monday, 28 November 2016

And yet another glorious Autumn day....

Hope you're not bored of the photos but it has been another glorious Autumn day today. I went out for a wander in the car - leaving Button at home keeping her paws warm!  It's been chilly but glorious.  Above is the road leading to the old Kirk.  The sun just about to drop behind the Hoy hills, this was about 2.30pm today.

Below, a similar photo but with the croft of Dean in the shadow of the Hoy hills.

And a bit further along the road, Burra Sound between Graemsay and Hoy.

And the road up to the old School.

Cloudy days

In the interests of balance I do have to admit we have had some grey and cloudy days too. The panorama above was taken from the top of Windbreck hill.

With a wide landscape and big skies there are lots of dramatic effects throughout the day. This one looking towards the outskirts of Stromness. The communications antenna on top of Howe Brae highlighted in the light.

Heavy clouds hang over the water and the hills of Hoy

A closer look at the croft of Scarrataing.

And from the top of the hill.  The clouds can feel really oppressive at times.

But a lovely sunrise can provide a moment of joy (till it disappears into cloud!).

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Late Sunday afternoon....

4.55pm, lovely and calm late afternoon, with a clear sky.  Frosty tonight no doubt, and lots of starts to see too.

Autumn weather

This year we have had a proper Autumn in Orkney. I'm not sure I remember one before in the 16 years I've lived here!  We've had sharp, freezing weather with beautiful frosty mornings, and mild days too. And shhhh hardly ANY wind.  Oh it has been wonderful.  Even some of the trees still have their leaves on at the end of November.  Usually they are blackened by the gales early October and that's it.  Anyway a couple of weeks ago I took some photos of the glorious sunny autumn day to share with you.  Above looking from Sandside up to the Manse where the smoke from the fire is lazily wandering along horizontally, with Ward Hill on the island of Hoy as a backdrop.

Meanwhile at Sandside, those trees I was mentioning.... oh and Button....

.Looking across the front garden to Hoy..... apples on sticks.... for the wild birds.  NOT ONE went anywhere near them!  In Stromness folk had lots of Waxwings dropping in on migration. Put apples out they said, they will come, they said.  Did they? NO!  About the only thing that took an interest were the chickens and even they didn't attempt to fly up.  In the end I put the apples on the stone dyke and probably the field mice in the dyke ate them. Bah!  I do have seeds out in the walled garden for birds, so they are getting some food.  I'm feeding mostly sparrows (known locally as spuggies) but that's fine as they are a struggling population in the UK I believe.

Look at that lovely blue sky

And calm sea - the Hamnavoe sailing into Stromness

And all calm in Sandside Bay.  Road is a bit frosty though.

Turning round now and looking through the gate over the water to Orphir

All clam there too.

The kye (cattle) on the hill in the sun, which still has some warmth in it.

And a closer look....

Did I mention it was a bit cold and frosty out?  Hmmm Madam Button indoors keeping her paws warm.....

Saturday, 26 November 2016

I'm back! Sort of......

Mobile broadband (data) pack
I am still without broadband from my usual provider (BT), but I now have a wee mobile "dongle" from EE which provides 4G mobile broadband access (for a price, but a price worth paying!).

It's a bit of a saga because the local exchange in Stromness was being upgraded, and a local engineer warned "the bosses" that if they did that they would cut access for various people on Graesmay, but ahead they went and yes two of us are without broadband from BT, and another neighbour without broadband from another supplier.  Lots of calls and complaints logged and the intervention of our MSP, Liam McCarthur, and it seems that we might get something sorted this week.  We will get paid compensation but that's not much help when you NEED to access broadband, like I do, for work. Fortunately my mobile phone has acted as a "hotspot" to provide internet access over the mobile phone network so I continued to work.  But every time I got a text or phone message I lost the connection.  Anyway I've now bought this very sweet mobile hotspot (above) for data access only so I'm quite happy with that and am back online. Whoo hoo!

There was also a lightning strike to various telecoms equipment a week or so ago and to be fair lots of people across Orkney are without either phone, broadband, or both.  Had I lost the connection due to lightning I wouldn't have been quite as grumpy as I am now, when it was due to no one listening to local engineers resulting in the outages.

Anyway rant over. Meanwhile I've been taking photos, and we've had another island party so there is some catching up to do with my blog!  I'll start posting things over the next few days.

Today's photos are as a result of me playing with some photo software.  I rather like the "distressed" vintage style (I used DistressedFX on my Apple iPhone).  I love the old buildings around the island and often thing of the stories the stones could tell of the folk who lived in them. So here are a few just for fun.

This is the old croft of Moan

Old buildings at Sandside

I posted this a few weeks ago but had a go using photo software and I like the way the light changes and focuses on the old winch more.

And another one at the coral beach in Sandside with the old buildings and old binder....

Back with more photos soon!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Oh Calmity! No internet access

Well at least no proper internet (ADSL) access.  Currently using my phone for all data requirements so limiting those as much as possible.

Hope to be back online soon..... depending on BT (phone supplier).

Sunday, 6 November 2016

November sunshine and clouds....

Hamnavoe sailing into a rainbow as it heads for Stromness harbour.... Lots of rainbows the last few days.

An old winch down by the old stone Sandside pier....

Clouds and sunshine....

A panorama around Sandside bay. Click on the picture to see it in lightbox and larger.  The panorama is a bit conflated but still an attractive image in my view!

And another similar one.... This one really does do odd things with the landscape!

Meanwhile Button wanders along mumbling as I faff about with the camera!

Though she will sit patiently.... for a while....

Looking across to the Hoy Hills. The sun is very low at this time of year. It will set just behind the hills now.  The days are certainly shorter.  Dark by 4.30 at the moment, and that's a way off from the shortest day!

It's been a benign Autumn up to now with few gales.  But the beach is beginning to be strewn with seaweed again....

Hoy High light peeking above the land. It's had a lot of work done on it this year - mostly internal, but also had an external paint job on the light top. Looking very smart now. But still only the temporary light shining as lots of electric work still to be done inside.

Looking towards Stromness.

And a little later the sun hides behind some dramatic clouds.....

It was a bit of a chilly walk but hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Longhope RNLI visit

Having recovered from the Halloween party the night before folk on Graemsay were up early(ish) to prepare for the annual visit from the Longhope Lifeboat. They, along with the Ladies Guild, visit the island to raise money for the lifeboat.

They arrived on a calm afternoon, complete with Hector the Scotty Dog checking that all is in order.

Some of us took the ladies up to the hall so they could set up their stall with a tombola, raffle, and items from their shop.

Being Graemsay we had, of course, provided tea and homebakes.

Most of the island plus some visitors came along. The hall got pretty crowded!

Hector was hovering around ready to hoover up any food that fell to the floor!

Everyone busy buying for Christmas or wanting more raffle tickets! Almost the entire population was there. Um and yes we'd left the decorations up from the night before.  Well it adds atmosphere!

Then it was time to get them all back to the pier so they could head off to Stromness before our own ferry  arrived.

And I heard the next day that the folk of Graemsay had raised an amazing £412.13 (incredible for such a small population of about 23 folk!).  There are times when this community fair takes my breath away.  Amazing total for a wee island....