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Saturday 22 February 2014

Where does the time go?

I know we all say that.  February seems to be racing past!  I'm really busy with work right now, working part time for one University plus some freelance work for another. I'm really enjoying the work (I'm a health researcher), but it does eat into my free time!  Still the days are getting longer and despite some wintry gales and rain we are still faring better than the South and South West of England. My thoughts are with everyone there - I noticed this week all the news-hounds had obviously moved on, but the devastation will last weeks or months yet and I do feel for folk affected.

Anyway - yet again, here are some photos of a walk with Button along the shore!  I'm full of good intentions of walking further but I've been unable to sneak out the house without Madam Button, and I don't want to take her too far from home and into the domain of the other island cats.  So we stick to the beach near home for now.....

I like to try and get out each day for some proper fresh air. I may not go far, but 20 to 30 minutes along the shore is a wonderful tonic and a good break, plus the opportunity for some vitamin D!  Although I work from home I do tend to keep fairly regular hours of working 10 to 6 Monday to Friday. This is partly as I work with other teams and they work regular hours, and partly I am neither an early bird, nor a late owl these days, and in order to get all my work done I keep fairly conventional hours.....but....I also get to walk on the beach :-)

And I apologise for not responding to comments for a while - I LOVE hearing from folk, but I just don't seem to have the energy to reply by the end of the day - sorry, but thanks for commenting...

Anyway, here are some more pictures of a walk along the shore with Madam Button this week (between windy days, and showers).

The old stone pier down at the shore, the sea so still and calm....

A pair of Oystercatchers enjoying some respite from the wind too....

A young gull, some ducks and more oystercatchers.  The Wind Turbines on the hill standing out clearly (click on the photo to enlarge it - honestly there ARE wind turbines in this photo!).

The two black largish birds are shags, who have to stand with their wings out to dry as they don't have oil on their feathers like other sea birds.

Stones thrown up during recent storms, nestle among the more solid rocks. The water is so clear!

And yes I went paddling!! Kept my boots on though .....

Meanwhile Madam Button likes to alarm me by living life on the edge....

I try and ignore her as I'm sure she does it on purpose to frighten me...

On the way back I stop to admire the delicate crocus. It amazes me that they manage to survive our strong winds.... though they do get some shelter from the willows here.

And among the willows some dwarf daffodils.....

And the buds on the willows are starting to get all fluffy too.....

And recent rain has revealed more old crockery by the dry stane dyke (stone wall)....must get out there with a bucket!

I certainly need to pick up the glass as the hens love wandering around here....  Speaking of which, the cockerel wants his photo taken too...  Handsome chap, though he may have to be - um - dealt with soon as I don't want any unexpected chicks or a population explosion again this year!

He followed us home - excuse the salt covered windows! No point in washing them till Spring as they are dirty again with the wind, salt and sand within a couple of days.  Well that's my story!  Not sure if he wanted more photos taken or dinner!

Meanwhile out the back of the house, the Hoy High Lighthouse looked very dramatic against a darkening sky

And on past Stromness the renewable energy "sea snake" was on it's way out to Billia Croo for more testing.

Right - time for tea and a curl up with a good book and Button, ah a nice relaxing Saturday afternoon.....


  1. February never seems to fly by here. We will not have Daffs, or Crocii or Pussy Willows for another month at least ... This winter has been particularly hard.

    We don't have Shags but we do have lots of Cormorants.

    Your lighthouse looks quite exotic, almost Minaret-like. We have many lighthouses here, but they are of a pretty standard design and painted red and white.

    I am curious about the "sea snake". Is it designed to harvest power from waves or tides ?

    BTW I did see the wind turbines ... but am glad you pointed them out.

    1. We have cormorants too and I do struggle to tell the difference but I know these chaps were shags. We've been so lucky this year with the winter - we've probably had the best winter in the UK. We did have several weeks of gales, but not the rain of everywhere else, and we've had more than our fair share of sun, plus it's been failry mild.

      Yes the sea snake is designed to harness the power of the waves. There is a marine test centre just outside Scapa Flow, and they test wave and tidal. The snake is for waves - if a storm brews up when it is out there it can sink to the bottom of the seabed where it's calmer. It's all very experimental but brings in lots of money for the local economy and jobs too. It can be controversial - especially the wind turbines on the landscape, though I like them in certain settings.

  2. Gorgeous photos as always, Sian, and I do envy you your blue skies, as we're back to the wind and rain down here. Never apologise for not responding to comments. You have your living to earn and that and your own well-being have to come first.

    1. Oh dear, and I was thinking of you last week with the storms. We've definitely fared better this winter. I do hope Spring is glorious for you! Thanks for understanding re comments. I just wish I could magic up more energy!

  3. hi there, I am a regular reader of your blog and love it. would I be able to contact you to get some advice on how to progress my career as a health researcher? kindest regards, Ann

    1. Hi Ann - yes email me at and i'll be happy to try and help!

  4. The tail-end of winter always makes folk feel less inclined to do much, and with the glorious small signs of spring, winter is on its way out. What a glorious blue the crocus is!!! I miss daffodils here in Australia ... simply too warm for them to flourish, but back in New Zealand their blooms brightened what could have been a cool day.
    Surely cock-a-leekie soup is not on your menu???
    Continue to enjoy your walks with Button along the shoreline ... there is something so invigorating about walking on that space between earth and sea.

    1. Yes that's true, once I can start getting out in the garden I always feel a bit better. Though for various health reasons I'm not exactly a high energy person at the best of times ;-) I love the daffodils, they are bright and big and blousy trumpetting away at the start of spring. They cheer me up no end, and I love their perfume in the kitchen. I refuse to eat anything I have been personally acquainted with ;-) but no one will want him so he will have to go...sigh....

      Oh yes it's my favourite place that space between earth and sea.... draws me daily...

  5. Oooooooooooooooooo....Sian! I would be MORE than happy to carry that bucket for you!!! I literally gasped when I saw all the glass and crockery!! Then I clicked on the photo to make it bigger and swooned all over again!
    As always, the photos are just wonderful. You do such a fantastic job making the reader feel like we are right there with you. Thank you for continuing to share your view of the world.
    Hello to Madam Button!

    1. Oh you would LOVE my garden it's full of old crockery! Sometimes glass, but mostly crockery.