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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."


  1. What lucky children ! What a lucky DOG !

  2. I enjoyed the new post and reading about the lifeboat. I have been intending to get a letter off to you, but haven't accomplished it. We had our first hard freeze and light snow on Nov.9th. Since we had a lot of green tomatoes, Alton picked them and persuaded me to make chow chow, It took me five hours and was a lot of work but he enjoyed his mother making it when he was a child so I tried my best and ended up with 10 quart jars and 4 pint jars. Hopefully I'll write more to you son and send pictures. Our cattle are registered Beefmasters,.

  3. Hello Sian. I live a bit south of you in North Yorkshire, but love the Scottish Islands - so really enjoyed reading about your 'party'. I found your blog via Yael and shall call in again - please pop over and visit me.

  4. What fun. I wonder what memories those kids will have of growing up on Graemsay, when they are adults.

  5. What a wonderful afternoon and of course you all supported the lifeboat to the hilt. I just love Hector in his little life-vest. If he were the prize I might be fighting you for those raffle tickets!

  6. No-one could ever say you don't have a good social life on the island! It sounds as if everyone pulls together in the good old fashioned way.

    Hector obviously has better sea legs than me! Andrina

  7. Hector is a darling; it looks like he has a job to do on the lifeboat. The fundraiser sounds a grand success.