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Tuesday 27 November 2012

Sun still shining....

Thanks for all kind thoughts - I'm feeling much better now. Cough has almost gone too thankfully. I must say our primary health care centre in Stromness is brilliant. I was able to phone my GP (general practitioner) at the health surgery and get advice and a prescription for a magic elixir to stop me coughing so much.  When I lived "south" I could never get an appointment within a month to see my GP never mind a personal conversation with her!!  Of course as I have asthma I keep a good supply of medication to hand for most eventualities. But, as anyone with asthma knows, if you go into a chemist and ask for something for a cough or cold, most over the counter things are off limits because of interactions.  Fortunately a simple remedy was available via my GP this time.

As a result of feeling unwell I had a fairly lazy weekend, relaxing watching old movies (I collect them for such occasions!) as well as catching up on some reading. The "old fashioned" real book kind as well as with my wonderful "Kindle".  Oooh the wonder of almost any book at the touch of a button.....glorious!

I also felt well enough to have a short wander down the the shore, at Button's insistence. No really - she stands on the doorstep demanding I go out with her.  Sometimes I just threaten to shut her tail in the door if she doesn't move (I wouldn't!), but I do enjoy her company on a walk so was happy to go with her this time.

As you can see the weather here is still lovely and sunny with no wind. We've had some rain showers but nothing like the floods that have been occurring south in the UK. I really feel for people. It must be so horrific to be flooded out, and for some folk it's a re-occurrence.

Anyway, back to a lovely sunny Graemsay.....

The wind last week had swept seaweed onto the shore (MUST remember to take a bucket down and get some for the vegetable patch!).

And the waves had sculpted the sand...

And swept the sand and seaweed into ridges

Meanwhile Button (who is a very vocal cat) clearly had something to say. Hmm maybe this should be a caption competition!

Wind is getting up outside as I type.  Lovely to be nice and cosy indoors. Button is snoring on the sofa behind me!

Calm morning...

Yesterday was lovely and calm in the morning before the wind got up in the evening. But thankfully the wind abated pretty soon. I love calm days in Orkney, they are particularly precious in the Autumn and Winter as the wind is a constant companion otherwise.  Above is Sandside Bay with a wee creel boat sailing into view.

There are quite a few creel boats in Stromness that sail around and put creels in the Bay and around the shore of Graemsay. These are used to catch crab, or partans as they are known locally. There were quite a few gulls around this one so I'm guessing he had a good catch.

The reek (smoke) was rising from the lum (chimney) up at the old Manse

And the water was glass calm across to Stromness - I felt I could just walk across it to the town (but not in the Red Shoes)!

Saturday 24 November 2012

Sorry for absence....

No, not due to power outages from the storm - neither of which arrived. It was quite windy and our boat was cancelled on Thursday but not the storm force winds we were expecting thankfully.

My absence is due to a cold. I know, nothing too serious. Though I have been feeling pretty rubbish with it and have an annoying cough.  As I have reduced lung function (due to a spinal condition) and chronic asthma I tend to get a bit anxious even with "just" a cold.  However I seem to be on the mend now. Certainly feel more "human" today!

Anyway - the sunset above is from the evening after the Storm-that-wasn't.  Friday was a day of heavy showers......

And large puddles, but no floods, unlike other parts of the UK. I do feel for them!

But there were lovely rainbows.  This photo was taken by my neighbour Mick, as he drove past my house. delivering the post. Mick's the island postman - yes we have our very own postman AND post-office (limited hours obviously).  But we have daily collection and delivery Monday to Friday. Not bad for a wee island!

But the sun is shining today. I'll maybe take a wee walk and get some "air" before settling down on the sofa to watch old movies ("Some Like It Hot" and "Brandy for the Parson") and chill out with Button.

Hopefully back soon!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Calm before the storm?

High winds and torrential rain are forecast for Orkney tonight and tomorrow.  But at sunset tonight (3.45pm) all was calm...... fingers crossed we miss the worst of it.

Monday 19 November 2012

Harvest Home....

Friday night was party night on the island. It was the time for the annual Harvest Home. This is a non-religious festival that celebrates the harvest.  Sadly in Orkney many parishes no longer hold this event as not so many people are interested in the tradition. But Graemsay is home to a number of farms and crofts and, though there are few of us, we still celebrate the bringing in of the harvest. Though this year it's VERY late due to poor weather.

John Budge from Longhope on Hoy came along with his accordion and provided music

A lovely meal was provided by the "ladies of Graemsay" (of which I'm not one!)

Owen Tierney from Finstown was our speaker, who, during coffee and cake, spoke about community traditions and told some stories.

There were few of us fit to dance this year, but the children were inducted into the tradition.

There was the obligatory "Strip the Willow" (picture at the top of this post) and the Westray One Step (which seems to include more than one step!).Children often learn the dances at school, and though during teenage years are less keen to show their talents, they do come back to it.  I'm can't hear a beat or remember any steps so I sit out.... plus... yes .... it was an outing for The Red Shoes!

And there were more stories to be told.....

Songs to be sung...

And a wee lass had a go at playing the accordion too!

A fun night was had by all. Here's to next year's harvest and hopes that the summer will be better.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Hail showers.....

Hail showers (with hail stones that *hurt*!), sunshine and rainbows today.

A double rainbow in fact

And "snow on hills"

And a bit of a choppy sea

Thursday 15 November 2012

A walk on the beach...

On sunny days like today a walk on the beach is a MUST! Calm sunny days are too precious to miss any time but especially in Autumn or Winter.  These views may get a bit repetitive....this is my favourite walk. But hopefully you get to join me on it in all the seasons.

Of course on any walk the hens must come along too.... for a short while anyway

And Button. I love it when the sun is low.... it's the only time of year I can pretend I'm BIG by looking at my shadow!

The tide was coming in. I loved hearing it passing along the old stone pier at Sandside

The burned out boat is full of water now. Button has to inspect....

The other wee boat is still floating...

And the Hamnavoe Ferry sails off "south" to Mainland Scotland

Back on land the power of the sea continues to erode. This old croft house edges closer to the shore after each storm. The old wall near it fell onto the shore years ago, even before I moved here.

The old farm buildings stand out stark against the blue sky

I love how the low sun picks out the contours of the land from the Hoy Hills to the dips in the fields

Meanwhile, the old cockerel waits at the door for me to return.....

Hope you enjoyed the walk!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

A room with a view....

This is my favourite view. It's from my bedroom window and looks over Sandside Bay with the Hoy Hills (and the sleeping dragon) in the background.  In the summer I love waking to this view.

Years ago when I was still dreaming of "moving to the seaside" I used to keep images of the kind of place I would like to live.  I kept this card.

It's almost a mirror image of my view! (Well if you use your imagination). I kept this card for YEARS before I'd even seen Orkney.  In fact when we viewed the house the upstairs windows were boarded up to keep the pigeons out, so it was only when the windows were put in during the renovation that I even SAW the view like this.  Maybe somewhere in my subconscious, the memory was hidden and that's why I chose this house.

I even used to have a tabby cat - dear old Fitzi-cat, sadly no longer here.  But I have the gloriously bold and sassy Button to admire the view with me......

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Fresh Carrots!

OOoh I just LOVE carrots fresh out of the ground.  There is absolutely NOTHING to beat the taste...forget the large bags of carrots in the supermarket - well until MY stocks run out I admit.... but ohh these are carrotty!  Just a light scrub and crunch.  Yum.....  I've been blanching and freezing some, hoping they retain some of their youthful flavour.  More in the ground to be dug up, along with tatties (potatoes).  The final crops to be gathered in.  Not a great year, not a great harvest, but still well worth the effort!

Meanwhile in November one or two hardy plants continue to show some flowers. Not much frost yet, and these are reasonably sheltered from the wind.

I love the blue of this cornflower

Not sure what this little one is but I know it comes up each year and has lots of these pretty pom-pom flowers that last for ages.

This is a soft red

And another soft pink.... I like pink!

Um.. I said I liked pink....

And I love this bright orange - this is a wildflower of some sort and spreads quickly - which I like in my garden.

The rose hips on the Rosa Rugosa are gorgeous at this time of year.  There have been flocks of Waxwings in Orkney recently. They are winter migrants and normally winter much further down the UK on the East coast of England, and further inland. But there are lots in Orkney at the moment.  Of course I have yet to see one for myself....sigh.. But they are pretty birds.

The St John's Wort (Hypericum) has lots of berries which are also a great food source for birds.

And on calm days the hens still enjoy "taking the air", and having a wee sit down and preen. (Though not today as it's pouring with rain!)