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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A fine November Day

I was over in Stromness yesterday just for a fleeting shopping visit. On a Tuesday, Wednesday and a Friday it's possible to get the 10.45 ferry from Graemsay, which gets to Stromness at 11am, a quick run out to the Co-op and Flett's the Butcher and then back in time for the 12 noon ferry home. Though it can be a bit of a "trolley dash" around the Co-op sometimes!

Above is the view from the Stromness pier looking towards Graemsay. My home is to the right of the Hoy High lighthouse (did I mention I lived next to a lighthouse? Sorry - that's a joke from long ago when some friends from the US came up to see me living on a wee island and I had somehow forgotten to mention I lived right next door to a very tall pointy light-house!).

When I returned to Graemsay I found some farmers were shipping sheep. Fortunately there were folk on hand to help with the shopping as it was necessary to walk through the sheep in the pens. The new Church of Scotland Minister from Stromness was over for his first visit, and I'm sure it was a bit of a surprise to be met by a "flock" of a rather different sort!

Later in the afternoon I decided I really needed to clean the outside of the windows after the recent gales - I couldn't even see through my kitchen window it was so covered in salt. I hasten to add this isn't salt spray from the waves but I am close to the shore so the air is laden with salt and the wind leaves it deposited on the outside of everything!

It was glorious to be outdoors, I could see for miles. Below are some of the wind turbines on the West Mainland but quite a few miles North of me. They stand out so clear when the sun shines upon them.

I also managed to catch the first "winter" sunset. Now the sun has moved round and is setting behind the Hoy Hills - a definite sign of winter. With the clocks going "back" on Sunday it's also dark now at 5pm. I have to say that *did* come as a surprise to me! It's been so mild (though windy) that I haven't really appreciated that Winter is here......(well OK technically autumn, but in Orkney it's either winter or summer and even then sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between the two!)


  1. I really enjoyed this, Sian. It gives such a clear picture of some of the little details of life in your unusual setting. I know what you mean about the onset of winter taking one by surprise. The sun drops behind the hill to the west at about 3pm now and dusk comes soon after. Christmas is definitely not far away....

  2. Really wonderful to read about living life on a island so far away from where I live. But although I don't live on an island I still do my shopping in a hurry, but that is not because I have to catch the next ferry back, but because it isn't something I enjoy.;) Groetjes Sandra

  3. I thought of you and your salty windows yesterday, as we went to a concert given by the Wrigley Sisters, who had braved the A9 to visit our neck of the woods! They were an absolute delight: within 5 minutes the audience was eating out of their hands, and within ten I was weeping helplessly with laughter. What fantastic musicians they are and what joyous craic! And that beguiling Orcadian accent too. Lots of jokes at their own expense and that of Orkney, e.g. that Orcadians cut their hair squint to compensate for the effect of the wind, and that the reason Orkney has a tradition of instrumental rather than vocal music is that you daren't open your mouth too much in case something blows into it: 'Like, a shed,' said Hazel. But a fair few digs at us 'sooth-moothers' too! A brilliant evening.

  4. I really enjoy your posts. We had some wonderful holidays in Orkney (mostly staying on Hoy, but also one on Sanday, which was very different) when the children were younger and when I read your blog it brings it all back. So thank you for prompting happy memories.

  5. Lovely blog and so interesting to read about life in your part of UK.

  6. Perpetua - Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes even *I* who tends to be in the "Bah Humbug" class is realising it is time to prepare for Christmas.

    Cuttingwood Cottage - Have to confess I hate shopping too! Even when I lived near a 24/7 supermarket I would shop for dry goods once a month and once a week for other "essentials".

    DB - oh how wonderful that you went to a concert by the Wrigley Sisters! Glad you enjoyed their performance AND humour. And I laughed too at the tradition of instrumental music in Orkney. Very true! Hehehe,

    Liz - Hoy is my favourite "other" island - one of the last really "wild" spaces in Orkney I think. Sanday is a lovely experience too but quite different. Glad I'm bringing back happy memories!