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Tuesday 29 December 2015

A different view.....

Sandside Bay

Earlier in the week on a quiet sunny day I went for a walk along a different footpath and here are some of the images I took along the way.

In the bay I'd spotted a bird I couldn't identify.  I thought it was probably a "diver" (loon) but couldn't work out which one.  Delighted to have it identified as a red-throated diver in Winter plumage.  Not necessarily rare but a lovely bird and pleased to have a pair overwintering near Sandside.

There's been a lot of rain about but we haven't been troubled by the floods that other parts of the UK have suffered so terribly.  But the burns are free flowing.

The community hall still has the Christmas decorations up!

The dragon in the Hoy Hills is still asleep.  A ruined croft on Graemsay at its feet.

Here you can see the croft of Quoys nestling into the folds of the landscape, nicely protected from most of the worst of the winds. Stromness glinting over on the Orkney Mainland.

The Graemsay communications centre - phone box and post box. Hee Hee!  Not sure if the phone is still working.  I should have tried it! But the post box is in daily use.

A slightly different angle onto Sandside and Hoy High lighthouse.

And here you can see how Quoys really does hunker down!

A close up of Sandside and the "steading" which was the original house, then became byres for the livestock. Not sure which writer said it but the houses in Orkney "turn their shoulders to the wind". The gable end (end of the house) has no windows in it, which when I first moved in I thought was a shame as that's the best view.  Ahem, then I experienced the gales and the lashing rain and realised why there were no windows!  Just a solid stone wall turning its shoulder to the wind.

Another view of Quoys with a burn running beside it.

Hoy High lighthouse from across the bay with the coral beach just in sight. Orphir on Mainland in the background.

And walking back home again on the road through the dunes and marran grass

Hope you enjoyed the short walk!  Battening hatches now as the forecast for tonight is for winds of 75mph.  Eeek!

Friday 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas...... those that choose to celebrate it.  Have to say I don't, but I'm all for a Winter Celebration so I shall be feasting along with many others!  And I wish you Peace and Happiness for 2016.

Yesterday we had the island Nativity and Carol Service. Organised by Irene again - this is her 30th year of organising it!  Amazing!!  Not with the same children, obviously.  That WOULD be odd. Anyway here are some photos of the event.

Last minute reminder of "lines" by the Angel....

The audience wait in anticipation....

Irene introduces the events - her halo is gleaming!

"The Band" (Irene Mathieson and Andrew Mowat)

The Archangel Gabriel begins the story....

The Innkeeper awaits....

Mary & Joseph in the stable with the Angel....

The Shepherds await their cue

Mary has just placed Baby Jesus in the manger. Um... upside down to begin with but easy mistake for a new mum to make!

The shepherds and their flock gather round Baby Jesus.

The Innkeeper morphs into a shepherd - we don't have many children!

And here are the Three Kings.  Well two of them are nailed to the wall - see above - not enough children!!  Katie trebles for all three!

The "Kings" and the gifts, with the shepherds and their flock,

Then the children play their guitars and sing the first verse of "Away in a manger"

And afterwards there was mulled wine and mince pies all round!

Thursday 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve...

.... and I'm still playing "catch-up"! Here are some photos from the island children's Christmas party we had a couple of days ago.  Of course Santa made an appearance!  Above is a bit of discussion going on in "musical arms".  It's much more fun than musical chairs - and more confusing, especially if the person in line forgets which arm to put up!  Hee hee!

It's a little chilly in the hall when we first get there.  Once the heaters are on it soon warms up.  But some were too scared to take their hats off in case they were forced to wear a Christmas hat. Ha!

Irene was Chief Party Game Organiser and explained the games to the children....

Which included a balloon batting game....

The older girls did well too....

The adults were a little more aggressive. A  certain amount of sibling rivalry going on I think!

The adults taking advice from the younger ones....

Ah yes the egg and spoon race - or in this case, the Christmas pudding and spoon race!

And then there was pass the parcel for the children.....

And for the adults too of course - we don't do a combined one as it is feared the adults cheat too much and are a bad example to the children. Hee hee only joking...a bit...

And for a change there was limbo dancing.  Not your traditional Christmas game I grant you, but fun nonetheless.  Though mostly it was left to the children to play this one!

And then it was time for Santa to arrive after a rousing chorus of Jingle Bells!

All the children get presents, of course.

And then there was time for the supper and for the children to play with their presents.

Kirsten just LOVED her sock monkey that repeated back to her whatever she said - er sort of!  Mum & Dad were keen to find where the batteries went. Hee hee!

And here she is dancing with her favourite sock monkey

And the boys loved their toys!

Not everyone on the island was able to come along this time, but those of us that were there had a great time!

And ahem.... a selfie from me, wearing my Christmas Antlers.  Well I have a permanent red nose in Winter so might as well do the whole Rudolph!