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Monday 24 November 2014

Visit by the Longhope Lifeboat - just a social call!

The hall was dusted down after the party on Friday night and made ready for the RNLI Longhope Lifeboat Ladies Guild who were bringing their Christmas Bazaar to Graemsay again for the afternoon on Sunday. There was a chance to look around the lifeboat, hug Hector (more of that later!), buy souvenirs and Christmas cards as well as a raffle and tombola.  And I've just heard that the grand total at the end of the afternoon was.... £378.14........  Yet again the Graemsay folk leave me speechless. There are so few folk on the island yet they rise to the occasion every time.

Of course the lifeboats of both Stromness and Longhope are our life lines in emergencies, and all sea users are grateful to the men and women who put their lives at risk to save others in all weathers.

So join us on the visit by the lifeboat! A few of us gathered on the pier to welcome them all. It was a bright day but very cold......  we could watch the lifeboat approaching from a tiny spec in the distance, slowly getting bigger and bigger.

James excitedly told us it was nearly here!

And standing proud as the figure head of the vessel was Hector!  The lifeboat mascot - a wonderful, characterful Scotty dog!  Complete with his life-vest of course.  Essential safety for all including the dog!

Here's the boat coming alongside the pier....

Quite a few folk came over from Longhope too to help with the Bazaar.  Here Neil helps unload all the goodies to be taken up to the hall.

Meanwhile I spotted the Hamnavoe ferry sailing into Stromness harbour....

Hector was checking out that the coast was safe for his people to visit.... or maybe he was just looking for biscuits!

Meanwhile the Graemsay children got a chance to go over the boat.  I wasn't sure if they'd be that interested as they had a chance to go on it last year and have been on the Stromness lifeboat too.  Oh dear, I don't know much about children do I!  The parents couldn't get them OFF it!

Aye Aye Cap'n Hannah!
Kids young and old had a look round....

And had a go at "driving".....

And said Hi to Hector....

Hector with his person, Angus...

Most of the ladies had already gone up to the hall to set out the tables, but once everyone had had a good look at the boat we all headed up to the hall too.   Angus was telling me Hector had been on a boat since a wee pup.  He's now five years old....

The lifeboat folk had also brought along some music!  I'm not sure of this gentleman's name.  I asked one of the crew who he was and he said "Do you know Archie of Longhope?", No, said I.  "Well he's Archie's brother" came the reply..."Ah" said I.  Apparently "Archie's Brother" was up on holiday though he was born in Orkney and lived here for some years.  This was his first trip on the lifeboat.

The hall was very busy with folk from Graemsay and visitors.  An interesting variety of footwear was on show....

As you can see some of the crew came up to the hall for a cuppa and some cake....  As ever on Graemsay at any event, there's always tea and homebakes.

Not surprisingly Hector hung around near the cake table....

And some of the crew seemed to enjoy a cuppa too.... Michelle & Sandra were womanfully working in the kitchen pouring tea and coffee - their home from home as they spent most of the harvest home in there too!

There was a raffle towards the end of the afternoon.  I won some Christmas Puddings...I wanted to change them for Hector but they wouldn't let me.   Now if they raffled Hector I'd have to buy ALL the tickets!!  Poor Hector. Don't think he'd like to leave Angus, and he certainly wouldn't be welcomed by Princess Button!

They all had to be away to be back in Longhope for 4pm and as they were leaving the weather changed to cold rain and a breeze began to rise.  So we'd all had the best of the day.

A big thank you to the Longhope Lifeboat Crew and Ladies Guild.  Thanks for all the work you do! And thanks to the Graemsay folk who make me proud to say "I live on Graemsay."

Sunday 23 November 2014

Graemsay Harvest Home

From October to New Year it's one round of partying on Graemsay. Hee hee!  Well it seems that way. I'm just waiting for a cake to cool so I can ice it as we have the Longhope Lifeboat and Ladies Guild visiting this afternoon.  But before they arrive I thought I ought to tell you about our Harvest Home on Friday Night.

Each year many isles and parishes in Orkney celebrate the bringing in of the harvest by having a "Harvest Home" supper and party in October or November.  Late you say?  Well the potato harvest wouldn't have been gathered in till October.

This year we were delighted to welcome Richard Shearer as our speaker, along with his wife Audrey. They run my favourite shop in Orkney - William Shearer's..... a veritable Aladdin's cave of wonderful local produce, as well as being a general merchant (kitchen stuff, garden stuff, pet stuff, loads of stuff!), fishing and shooting supplies and agricultural supplies (seeds - got my garden grass seed from Richard. I complained because it grows too much!).

Richard - not the most flattering photo - sorry Richard!

We were also pleased to welcome back John Budge, who has provided us with music for dancing for many years now.

 Some young folk also came along to support John so there was plenty of music for the dances.

As ever the folk on Graemsay put on a wonderful meal, and the ladies did a grand job of managing to serve over 40 folk and still find time to eat their own meal.

I stay well away from the kitchen, not being any good at catering for more than a couple of folk!  But I usually have the visitors stay at Sandside and I thoroughly enjoyed their company.

I don't have many photos because I'd tried a different setting on my camera and I won't be using that one again! Lots of blurry photos which is disappointing.  But a few here capture the spirit of the evening.  Er - yes there was quite a lot of spirit around!

Richard had brought along a sheaf of oats which he presented to Cathy Ritch as a symbol of the harvest.  Traditionally oats would be used to decorate the hall, but they are not grown on Graemsay very often, so Cathy was delighted to receive the sheaf and it will be used next year for the hall decoration.

There was also a birthday celebration with us singing Happy Birthday and presenting a not to the wee lass on the left, but the big lad on the right!  Well everyone deserves a cake whatever age!

And then there was the dancing....... a bit of a huddle as they discuss what step comes next maybe?

And time for Grandad to have a blether with his grand-daughter about her love for her mobile phone. Hee hee!

And Granny Cathy and Great Auntie Winnie explain a dance to wee Kirsten....or maybe it's the other way round?!

And then there is the raffle.....which is also legendary for the number of prizes and the time it takes! But one wee boy was delighted and a little overwhelmed by the number of prizes HE was winning!

And yes the swede (neep) was a prize will shortly be hanging in the henny house once I can find the baler twine......

The wind got up during the evening and in the morning when I put some of the visitors back to the pier the waves were crashing over the pier.  But everyone got away OK.  My friend, G, stayed on as we had planned to go for a walk round the island.  But as the gale blew and the rain lashed down we stayed indoors and she valiantly helped (um did most of it) with washing up the crockery from the night before, and changing beds ready for next visitors.  I was hoping she'd stay longer as I'd started writing a list of chores she could do....hee hee.... but she made her escape on the late afternoon boat. And we did manage a walk to the shell and sandy beach when the weather cleared into a lovely bright calm evening....

And the light from Hoy High was shining bright as the lights of Stromness started to come on.

Another fun evening on Graemsay...... now.... onto icing the cake....

Monday 3 November 2014

Graemsay Halloween

Last Friday it was time for the annual Graemsay Halloween Party.  Cue lots of spooky outfits, and strange coloured food, as well as party games.  Yay!

This year the island children each brought a friend from school for a "sleepover" (never had those in my day!). So along with the island children and grandchildren, plus added friends there were about 16 children at the party.  Eeeek! Now that WAS scary!  But adults and children entered into the party mood.

Even the wee ones were dressed for the party (above) and the adults too (Joe below)

Looks like Ronnie Wood turned up to play us a tune - hee hee

There were, of course, the traditional party games overseen by the Head Witch, Irene, and her chief wizard, Bobby, with their familiar black cat (Squeak stayed at home this time).

First up was "dookin'" for apples. I think some practising had been going on as they all caught them very quickly.....

And, of course, the adults weren't to be outdone.

Then it was the eye and spoon race (I'd been sent on a mission in town to get eyes earlier in the day, Found lots of Zombies but couldn't see any eyes.... (haha!).  But found some in the good old Stromness co-op in the end).

The girls were competing against the boys (it was ever thus).

Then it was time for the donut game - you have to eat your donut while it's hanging from a bit of string.  No hands....! And Yes I managed to do it too!

Again boys against the girls

A more experienced witch inducts the younger ones into the dark art of the donut game!

And finally it wa the "Mummy" game - where the men get wrapped up in toilet roll as Mummies and then have to break out of it.  Three teams, the first one to finish wins...

Then it's time for the parade, where all the children show off their wonderful outfits to the adults sitting around......

The children then had to sit in a cirle and each do a party piece - tell a joke, a sotry, or sing a song, before they got their halloween treats

Two wee lads telling their jokes

Followed by a song from a wee witch.

And after all that excitement it was time for the supper, with sandwiches and cakes with lurid icing for hungry witches and wizards.

And a chance for a blether (chat) with everyone.  I got the message loud and clear from this scary monster!

A wee witch explains the workings of a wand to Granny.

Not sure who's instructing who here....

And these boys reminded me of the "Jets" from West Side Story!!

And to end the evening was a special Birthday Cake for John Cromarty of Gorn to celebrate a particular birthday (hee hee he'll not thank me for telling you his age!).  There was a card and gift from the island folk too.  He did a good job of blowing out the candles!

And what did I go as?  The Witch of Sandside of course!   Loved the hair - might have to keep it!!