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Tuesday 5 January 2010

Belated Happy New Year!

Sorry for the lack of posts - I've not been around for a few days. I was unwell just before New Year and as we didn't have a ferry for the 1st & 2nd of Jan I decided to go and stay with a friend in Stromness. I spent a quiet night snug and warm by a fire on Hogmanay (New Year's Eve), while others went out to the Pier Head at midnight where the boats hooted horns and there was merriment and singing of Auld Lang Syne etc before folk headed off for first-footing.

In Scotland there are two days of public holidays to allow people to celebrate the new year - it's taken very seriously, with lots of the Scottish water passed around.

Anyway I'm back home now and getting back into the usual routine. The weather is icy. We don't have much snow on Graemsay, but lots of ice and today there is an icy northerly wind. However the Orkney Mainland is still under a blanket of white, partly snow, mostly just frozen snow and ice. The pavements in town are quite trecherous, and the roads aren't much better. I shall try and stay nice and warm indoors till it passes but it is getting very tedious now. It's been like this for two weeks and the forecast is for it to continue into next week. It's very unusual for such a cold icy spell to last this long in Orkney. Our winters are characteristically mild, wet and windy!

Clouds over Stromness:


  1. Sorry you've been (literally) under the weather.

    Please explain "first footing" for us non-Scots.

  2. Glad to hear that you're now on the mend. Stay warm and snug, and a happy new year!

  3. Mary Z : The “First-Footer” is someone who steps over the threshold of a house at the stroke of midnight (it mustn’t be their own house), traditionally they bring some gift, in Scotland they usually carry a bottle of whisky which they share around with the residents, stay awhile and then move onto the next house. The “First Footer” is supposed to be a bringer of good luck for the coming year. Usually food and other beverages are served at the various houses too, but folk just stay awhile at one house and then move onto the next. This often goes on for a couple of days! Other parts of the UK have variations on the tradition too. I think for maximum effectiveness of good luck the First Footer is supposed to be a tall dark handsome stranger - dream on! LOL!

    Martin - hope you are snug and warm in your part of the world too. The whole of the UK seems to be in the grip of a mini ice age. Wish it would go now!

  4. Happy New Year, Sian!So sorry to hear that you have been unwell. Yes, wintry conditions are beautiful when they start but this long stretch is just too much.Snow++ here in Yorkshire on top of packed ice from weeks ago. Travelling to Cambridgr this Saturday & then separately to Surrey on the Sunday. Needlesss to say, I am glued to weather & travel reports!
    Here's to 2010 - we can dream about the spring & plan all the planting in our gardens. Does Button enjoy the icy conditions? Our cat, Marmite, has hardly been outside. Keep warm, Jo

  5. Louise from Seattle9 January 2010 at 07:21

    I've been reading your blog for months and just learned that it is polite to leave a comment! I really appreciate your posts and photos. They are a great way to feel connected to the beautiful Orkneys. I've just finished reading a book you might enjoy: "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

  6. Jo - hope your journeys this weekend went to plan and you arrived safely!

    Louise - lovely to "meet" you. Thank you for comment. I'll look out for the book you mentioned!