Well it was time to party last Saturday! I organised a belated birthday celebration on Graemsay. Back in April it was my 60th birthday but I snuck off to Copenhagen (Denmark) to celebrate (more of that another time). So I'd only just got round to having a party on the island to thank folk for all their presents and continued help and support.
A few musicians and friends came over to the island for the evening, and we were joined by most of the island folk for some dancing, yarns, songs and CAKE. Oh WAIT till you see the CAKE! So here are a few photos from the party. Not that many as I was rather occupied enjoying myself. Hahahaha!
So the first ingredient for a great party are the musicians. John Budge of Walls (on Hoy) playing the accordion together with "Half the Cuff" (half of the group Aff the Cuff) with Fran Flett Holinrake on fiddle, James Groat on banjo, and Jack Yorston on accordion. John doesn't usually play with the band but they all knew each other and played some great tunes.
Irene Mathieson of Graemsay, sang some songs, accompanied by her guitar playing. She sang my favourite, Lonely Scapa Flow. Always brings a tear to my eye that one.
John was "Master of Ceremonies" on the night, and also told some stories and sang songs too. He really "knits" the evening together. And I could, with confidence, leave him to it and just enjoy myself!
Fran sang one of my favourite songs about the women Herring Gutters and introduced some of the tunes. One tune in particular was very special for me.
Because it was written just FOR ME! By Fran! For my birthday! How cool is that! And it's called "Sian's Jig" and is to be played alongside the Graemsay Jig. Whoo hoo! The original sits proudly on my dresser in the kitchen at Sandside.
Back to the band. There was a bit of a dual between Fran on the ukulele and James on banjo. I think maybe James won, but Fran shed blood.
Now another important ingredient to a good party is that the hostess makes an effort and dresses appropriately. So...this was an occasion for The Red Shoes. Oh yes! Not worn for a couple of years and I wasn't sure if I could still wear them but not only could I walk in them, I wore them all night! (And yes I could still walk in the morning!).
And with all the music, there was, of course, dancing!
Wee ones joining in too! Though I think Ring-a-Roses was more popular with the young ones. Hee Hee.
And John took some time out from playing to dance with his wife, Leslye. Bit of an energetic dance this one, clearly!
John & Leslye showing the way, while others try and work out the steps...
Michelle swaps partners!
And then there was the chaos that IS the Graemsay Strip the Willow (No trees were harmed!). I'd promised to try and teach friends from Holm G & G (of Imperfect and Tense
) how to do Strip the Willow, but in the end they were left to fathom it for themselves. Frankly they did just as well as the rest of us who have been doing it for years! Here young James & Ewan lead the way - er - sort of.
Young James dancing with his older sister.
And there was time for the auld (old) boys to have a blether (chat)
And time for a peedie lass to have a wee nap...
There was a lovely supper provided by folk on the island, a kind of "pot-luck" that always seems to work well on the island (sorry didn't get photos of that!) and.... THE CAKE!! Oh my word. What a surprise. It was made by Sandra, who is Graemsay born and makes the most wonderful cakes, as well as raising a family and farming. No idea where she finds the energy OR the time. But back to the cake..... covered in chocolates, chocolate icing, chocolate cake (rum & raisin)..... and the centre-piece was of course my beloved Button!!
And I love how the "60" is Button playing with a ball of wool!
The cake was delicious though there wasn't much left after it was shared around folk!
So I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday party! I love Graemsay parties as everyone is very friendly, welcoming and knows how to have a laugh! It was great to have some of my off island friends over too to share in the evening. And Graemsay folk always appreciate those that come over to Graemsay and the musicians (who played the entire night!) really make a night.
Hope you enjoyed the party - sorry there was no cake left for you. Hee hee! And NO I did NOT eat Button!