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Sunday 19 December 2010

Extraordinary weather....

.... for Orkney anyway!  Orkney is in the Gulf Stream so our winters are generally fairly mild, but very wet and windy and snow quite unusual, and even when it falls it doesn't last long....usually. Last year though we had some snow and because temperatures didn't get above freezing it stayed a while and everywhere was like a sheet of ice for weeks. So this year we thought we'd be back to wet and windy...... not so far.  We have had snow now off and on since November and these last few days have seen a lot of snow fall (for us).  OK it's not as much as other parts of the UK but four or five inches of snow across Orkney is VERY unusual and more is forecast.

I think I heard on the TV news that our Arctic Blast is due to the Jet Stream moving, so we have the snow that is meant for Canada.  Anyone from Canada like to come and pick it up?? Getting bored with it now!

Yesterday "Scottish Water" (our water provider) had to send out engineers to the island as their monitoring of our water indicated some burst pipes somewhere in the system. They arrived on a special run by the ferry and spent the afternoon looking for leaks. The island water comes from the neighbouring island of Hoy. It's collected off the hills in a small reservoir, put through a treatment plant and then pumped over to Graemsay where it is stored in a large(ish) water tank on the island. It is constantly pumped round a circuit to keep it fresh.  Anyway the engineers were out checking various meters, hydrants and other potential sources of the problem but nothing was found. It's thought the problem might be at the Hoy end, but under several inches of snow and frozen ground it's hard to tell *where* the problem is.  Maybe they should try water divining?

I have to confess I love the landscape covered in a blanket of snow (but I appreciate it's hard for those who have to get out in it). I am obsessed with watching the weather out the window.  I'm trying to get through a block of work at the moment so that I can have time off between Christmas and New Year, but it's hard going as I keep gazing out at the landscape! Another inch or so of snow has fallen this afternoon so I think it will be like this for a while.

When walking in snow it is wise to remember that what looks like a beautiful flat surface may cover dips and holes... as Button found out!  How to climb out of a hole while trying to retain your dignity....


  1. We talked about getting snow tyres for our rusty old Land Rover back in October, but did nothing about it. Now you can't get them anywhere! Another thing to get organised for next year - though as you say, the problem is not knowing whether this weather is the new norm, or a blip before a run of wet and mild winters. I get fed up with the snow too, but it has to be better than endless greyness...

  2. My parents in Canada are reporting lovely mild temperatures at the moment, although they have already suffered a -30 C cold snap. I don't mind the snow at all, except that we are trying to travel. Back to Canada no less.

    Your photos are stunning. :)

  3. Nah. We don't mind sharing with the 'old country' cousins.

    and as Beastie says: it is better than endless greyness.

  4. No Thank You very nuch Sian: I think I'd prefer to leave Eastern Canada's snow where it is. Most winters between hydro bills and snow removal bills I manage to go through my disposable income very nicely. This year, I hope for some respite.
    I just love the picture of Buttons getting out of the hole he fell into and managing to look as if he meant to do it all along!
    Best Holiday Greetings!!!
    Warmly -