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Thursday 27 July 2017

Graemsay Sports Day

In the days when there was a school on the island there was an annual School Sports Day just like many other schools have at the end of the summer term.  This year Irene Mathieson (former head teacher of the school) decided to resurrect the Sports Day as a fund raiser for our community hall.

I'd just got back from my holiday in Guernsey so I was "excused sports" and was just a spectator. There was lots of fun and laughter.  Some extra wee children were drafted in for the afternoon, ably helped by their granny and grandad!  Here are a few pictures of the event.  Even if the "sport" was not of an Olympic Standard, you have to agree our venue was top class, with the best view ever of a sports field I'll bet. Hee hee! Sandra and Michael kindly let us use their field next to the hall for the event which was ideal.

Above the three-legged race.  Granny and Great-Granny having a bit of trouble getting co-ordinated at the back there!

I think this was another heat with James and Euan leading the way.

Some discussion about the rules going on here I think.  (Rules - hahahahaha!)

Older sister demonstrating some tactics maybe?

The "wheelbarrow race".....

Brilliant technique here!!  Good straight legs....

Mini-wheelbarrow race!  Bit of trouble with the steering  I think.

It was a great afternoon.  There was also welly throwing and some other games.  A "guess where the needle in the haystack is" and "How many sweeties in the jar".  A total of £60 was raised which is amazing for so few folk.  It was a brilliant afternoon and I suspect this may be an annual event.

Wednesday 26 July 2017


Just a few random photos of the garden, Button, views...and Button.....

Above is Sandside and Hoy High lighthouse.  This is the "main road" through Graemsay. We call this "the links" where the road goes between the sand dunes and marram grass.

And here is Madam Button doing her Sphinx impression.... (fat Sphinx?)

And in the garden.....

New Allium sculpture in the new flower with the old byres in the background.

Hawkweed, Knautia and Globe Flower all mixing together with blue knapweed....

A poppy needing a little support!  Love the colour of this one though. It's new to the garden this year so fingers crossed it comes back next....

And a pink variety of knapweed.....

Washing on the line..... I love the summer days when I can put washing out, the smell of clothes and bedding that have been drying on the line is just wonderful!

A caged beastie!!!!!

The Hamnavoe coming in - photo taken up by the community hall

Hoy High lighthouse at the end of the day.....

And Hoy High lighthouse from up by the Manse!

Tuesday 25 July 2017


Sorry for "radio silence" - been off on my annual visit to family in Guernsey.  No photos of that trip - it's a time to focus on family.

Anyway back now and here are some photos from earlier in July.  Sky - there's a lot of it about in Orkney.  One of the things I love about the low lying land (apart from a few hills!) are the huge vistas, big skies......  Here are a selection of photos mostly taken from the "back door" of the sky in evening/night.

Same view as above but on another evening....

And again....

And yet again!

This is a panorama taken with my iphone and it gets a bit distorted in perspective, but gives you a flavour of the scene...

When I go outside to take sunset photos Button has to come along.  She worries when I go out in the evening I think.  Maybe she thinks I'll steal all her mice?

And here is a sunset from Sandside Bay just along from the house...

And the night sky - this was taken about midnight.

And sunrise (this was about 4am).....

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Night sky

Button woke me at 2am the other night - she wanted a light supper, clearly a failed hunting trip then.  Anyway on my way past the window I spotted a beautiful night sky.  I grabbed my iPhone and took some pictures - but I was bleary eyed and not really sure what I'd taken and was too intent on getting back to sleep to check.  Anyway - quite pleased with the results.  Above - Hoy High Light.

Below - looking across Hoy Sound to Stromness through a salt encrusted window after the gale of the weekend!  But I rather love the impressionistic look of the landscape.

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Blue skies

There have also been some lovely blue skies recently. Though we have had our fair share of rain, grey cloud, chilly weather, and even a gale at the weekend!  But for now we can enjoy the blue sky! Above, the old ruined cottages at Sandside, and looking over Hoy Sound to West Mainland (and Stromness).

Looking over the buttercups and Hoy Sound to Stromness

And on the left we have the tip of Graemsay and on the right Warbeth beach, Outertown Stromness.

Looking across over Buttercups and the croft of Clett to Hoy.

Looking over Crookshouse and Windbreck to the Hoy Hills

Looking over the ruined house of Moan, across the water to Orphir on the Orkney Mainland.

That's enough "looking over" for one day!

Monday 3 July 2017


A selection from the last couple of weeks!

This one from the garden....

And from the "back" door....

And on another night......

I never tire of watching the sunset (still about 10.25pm this week). It's different every time depending on the clouds, the sea etc.

Button, however, tends to snooze through the sunset, only showing interest when the light has faded and she can go out a-hunting...!

Sunday 2 July 2017

The Old Post Office

The small building attached to the side of the house used to be the island Post Office.  It moved down to the Clett once we moved in - it wasn't ours to run, so the Post Mistress at the time (Avril) moved it down to a caravan which had more "mod-cons" and electricity for computers as well as being drier (for the computers!). The post office had been in this building since the house was built I think.  Jane Anne Sutherland used to be the post mistress till the Sutherland family left Graemsay in the mid 1950s.  Then Gertie & Jock Seatter took over the business. Since they left the island in the 1980s it's changed hands a few times.  Now the post office is run out of a building near the lighthouse. Opening hours of 7.30 to 8am (I think - too early for me anyway ha!) Mon, Weds & Fri.

At one time the building was going to be incorporated into the house and there is a door knocked through from the kitchen.  But in the end it is more use to me as a shed so no further development took place.  It's needing some tlc but it's challenging enough to get workmen to come out and do essential work, and so far I've not been able to get someone to come and do some of the repairs. Maybe I'll be lucky this year!

But today it was a grand clearing out and tidying up.  Sue came along to help. To be honest she did all the work, I spent most of my time leaning on a broom!  Some rubbish needed removing but actually it was mostly about rearranging things better and getting stuff up on the shelves.

The interior of the old post office is wood lined.  The remains of the counter is still propped up against the wall.  The post box is still in the corner (boarded up on the outside as visitors to the island tended to still think it was a public post box!)  You can see the red post box in the corner.....

There's a fire place at one end (well a grate anyway).  I cleared out a lot of ash - must have been Avril's last fire about 15 years ago!

It's just visible between the "stuff" - but has been hidden for years. No plans to light a fire in it again, but nice to see it.   Just to the left is the back of one of the old fireplaces that came out of Sandside. There are two, both badly rusted and corroded so not really sure what to do with them.  But don't like to part with them.

There are still some notices on the wall.  This one was telling people about special air fares for people visiting relatives on the Scottish Mainland.  Our nearest major hospital is Aberdeen! Hence the need for subsidised air fares....

And this one from the Library service in Kirkwall. This still goes on today.  You can apply to the book service, giving them an idea of the genre of books you like reading and a "box" will be sent out every couple of weeks.  Though we do have a fine new Library in Stromness near the pier so most folk just visit that now.  And the local charity shop (Cat Protection) have a grand second hand bookshop in the end room, so you are never far from a book in Stromness!

Plenty more floor space now things are on shelves and stacked better.  The Post Office also used to be a shop, selling dried and tinned goods. No refrigeration for anything fresh!  The shelves come in handy now!

And of course Button had to come in and inspect.....  She doesn't approve it has to be said.  Fewer places for her to rootle around in.  You can see the flagstone floor - it's lovely and original of course. Though unfortunately it's just laid on top of an earth floor so tends to get quite damp.