Sunday, 2 July 2017
The Old Post Office
The small building attached to the side of the house used to be the island Post Office. It moved down to the Clett once we moved in - it wasn't ours to run, so the Post Mistress at the time (Avril) moved it down to a caravan which had more "mod-cons" and electricity for computers as well as being drier (for the computers!). The post office had been in this building since the house was built I think. Jane Anne Sutherland used to be the post mistress till the Sutherland family left Graemsay in the mid 1950s. Then Gertie & Jock Seatter took over the business. Since they left the island in the 1980s it's changed hands a few times. Now the post office is run out of a building near the lighthouse. Opening hours of 7.30 to 8am (I think - too early for me anyway ha!) Mon, Weds & Fri.
At one time the building was going to be incorporated into the house and there is a door knocked through from the kitchen. But in the end it is more use to me as a shed so no further development took place. It's needing some tlc but it's challenging enough to get workmen to come out and do essential work, and so far I've not been able to get someone to come and do some of the repairs. Maybe I'll be lucky this year!
But today it was a grand clearing out and tidying up. Sue came along to help. To be honest she did all the work, I spent most of my time leaning on a broom! Some rubbish needed removing but actually it was mostly about rearranging things better and getting stuff up on the shelves.
The interior of the old post office is wood lined. The remains of the counter is still propped up against the wall. The post box is still in the corner (boarded up on the outside as visitors to the island tended to still think it was a public post box!) You can see the red post box in the corner.....
There's a fire place at one end (well a grate anyway). I cleared out a lot of ash - must have been Avril's last fire about 15 years ago!
It's just visible between the "stuff" - but has been hidden for years. No plans to light a fire in it again, but nice to see it. Just to the left is the back of one of the old fireplaces that came out of Sandside. There are two, both badly rusted and corroded so not really sure what to do with them. But don't like to part with them.
There are still some notices on the wall. This one was telling people about special air fares for people visiting relatives on the Scottish Mainland. Our nearest major hospital is Aberdeen! Hence the need for subsidised air fares....
And this one from the Library service in Kirkwall. This still goes on today. You can apply to the book service, giving them an idea of the genre of books you like reading and a "box" will be sent out every couple of weeks. Though we do have a fine new Library in Stromness near the pier so most folk just visit that now. And the local charity shop (Cat Protection) have a grand second hand bookshop in the end room, so you are never far from a book in Stromness!
Plenty more floor space now things are on shelves and stacked better. The Post Office also used to be a shop, selling dried and tinned goods. No refrigeration for anything fresh! The shelves come in handy now!
And of course Button had to come in and inspect..... She doesn't approve it has to be said. Fewer places for her to rootle around in. You can see the flagstone floor - it's lovely and original of course. Though unfortunately it's just laid on top of an earth floor so tends to get quite damp.