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Monday 20 November 2017

Graemsay Harvest Home

It's that time of year again when the parishes and islands in Orkney hold their "Harvest Homes" and Graemsay was no exception.  So this weekend there was the making of clapshot (neeps (swede) and tatties (potatoes) along with lots of butter are mashed together). There were cold meats, salads, soup and trifle too.  Of course there were also homebakes and tea while the evening's speaker, Magnus Thomson from Hoy, gave a speech about the harvest.

Our hall is small so just takes about 40 folk seated together.  It's a real community affair with each household doing something towards the event.  Some musicains very kindly came over, despite the appalling weather, so there were accordions and banjo, and mandolin for those that could to dance too!  Here are just a few photos of the evening.....  Well done to all those who helped to make it another great night on the island.

All seated for the supper..... just waiting for a few more folk to arrive.

After the meal Magnus said a few words...

The tables were cleared and the musicians started playing.  Here is John Budge from Walls on Hoy with his accordion.

Now joined by James Groat on the mandolin (with banjo for later).....

And then by Jack Yorston from Stromness - his band, Aff the Cuff have played for us for several years now.  Just he and James could come over this year, for which we were very grateful, and John stepped in to play along too.

Then there was time for dancing.....

Think they are trying to work out exactly *what* this dance might be!

And then had a go....

There were lots more dances too, including our speciality, the Graemsay Strip the Willow! But I was helping out selling the raffle tickets so didn't get so many photos.  The Graemsay Harvest Home Raffles are the stuff of legend...they go on for about an hour with lots of prizes!

And this wee flower child needs a bit of a nap!

So another good night on the island with money raised for hall funds too from the raffle. 

There's still a lot of weather about....

Last week was a fairly quiet one for me as I had sinusitis and really did not want to play at all!  The weather was also still very rough with high winds, rain etc.  But in Winter with rain we get beautiful rainbows.

Above a rainbow from the "back door" of Sandside.  Looking towards Stromness, with Hoy High lighthouse to the right.

Meanwhile the ferry that sails between Scrabster on the North of Scotland and Stromness came "up the Flow" - which is a more sheltered sail for it.  So the MV Graemsay and the ship had a bit of a race into harbour. Haha!  Actually the laws of the sea mean that the Hamnavoe had precedence so won that particular race.

And a sail home from town last week, among choppy seas and darkened skies.

There are still some wildflowers in the wildflower patch in the garden. This is a particularly sheltered spot.  The rest of the garden has been blackened or blasted to smithereens with the wind.

On really bad weather days the hens stay in the henny house. They have plenty of food and water in there and rootle around amongst the hay that I use for bedding, or just sit on the perches.  If the weather calms down a bit then they will go into the byres of find shelter in the shrubbery. Now the days have shortened only a couple of young hens are laying eggs. The rest have stopped for winter.  But I don't begrudge them a rest!

Meanwhile Madam Button spends more time snoozing!! With the odd foray out if I go to feed the wild birds or down to the shore.  But only if it is NOT too windy! Neither of us are keen on getting up in the morning these darker days...

And now Winter is here I am back into baking mode.  These are flapjacks, but made with locally milled Orkney bere meal, oats, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.  A very healthy snack.  Well apart from the sugar and butter!

I'm hoping for a calmer week weather wise so I can get out and about a bit more - and have something to blog about!!

Sunday 12 November 2017

More "weather"....

Graemsay by Viv Rorie
There has been a lot of weather about this last week or so.  Today was cold (3 degrees C), with a chill breeze and heavy hail showers.  Dramatic to watch but not so good for those that have to work out in it, or the beasties in the fields. 

Photo above and the next two below are by Viv Rorie from Stromness who was out on a walk today and caught these dramatic photos of Graemsay! She kindly said I could share them here.  Above - the sun shining down on Graemsay! Specifically Hoy High lighthouse and Sandside.

If you click to enlarge the image you can just see Sandside next to the lightouse.

Lovely ethereal images!

Then today I was alerted by fellow blogger, Imperfect & Tense over on the East Mainland, that the Hamnavoe ferry was sailing "up the Flow".  So I took the opportunity for a few photos.

This is a bit like the "Jaws" movie - we need some of the theme music! Haha!  The Hamnavoe hiding behind Hoy High lighthouse garden wall.

Ah there she blows! 

But the weather changed before it even got to the harbour!

Hoy High looking magnificent as ever..

And Stromness with the Pole Star ship in I think

And then the hail came and the lighthouse and everything disappeared!

And here's another short time-lapse.  This one was from an upstairs window.  I'm still experimenting with views.  Ahem... I know the windows are a tad grubby, but it's salt -honest!

Friday 10 November 2017

Sun, Hail, Wind....

Yup it's November.... changeable and chilly weather is the order of the day. Changeable as in every few minutes! It is always said of Orkney, if you don't like the weather wait a few minutes and it will change.  That's true even in Summer!  You can imagine what it's like in Autumn/Winter!

Anyway - the photo above wasn't taken today but it could have been with the cloudscapes we've had.

Today I had a play with some time-lapse.  It won't win any prizes but thought I'd share the short (12 second) films anyway.  It shows the changeable weather. Though to be fair it IS speeded up considerably - it doesn't often change THAT quickly....

And on this one you will see the MV Graemsay sailing to the right of the picture as it comes out at 4.15, and as it gets dark you'll see the lights of the larger Hamnavoe ferry sailing out to the left on the way to Scrabster on the Scottish Mainland.

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Autumnal sunset and a seal....

Photo by David Sinclair from the MV Graemsay

Yesterday it rained for nearly 24 hours and the wind blew.  Today the rain stopped, the sun came out, and the wind dropped.  This afternoon I decided to head out for some welcome fresh air!

Button seemed quite happy snoozing indoors

As I was on my own I took a slightly longer route this time, along the road to the sandy beach. It looks like my house has a lighthouse on top. Haha!

You can see the "main" road of Graemsay here - single track with no passing places!

Big skies! Big clouds!

Heading back now towards the coral beach. This is looking towards Stromness....

As I walked down the old pier onto the shore I almost stumbled over a seal pup!  The Atlantic Grey Seals are breeding at the moment (you wouldn't think it was the best time of year!).  The pup I saw wasn't a newborn and had lost the white fluffy coat.  But it was still very small.  We startled each other.  It bolted for the sea at remarkable speed.  I headed back up towards the outbuildings as I didn't want to disturb it any more than I already had.  I then got this quick video taken round the corner of one of the buildings.  I'm glad I didn't take Button with me!!

As I headed home the sun was setting behind the Hoy hills.

Heading home...

And then the sky turned orange...

And to round off a lovely day, this evening there was an amazing display of the "Merrie Dancers" (Aurora).  I have yet to capture that on camera so you will have to use your imagination! And in between all this excitement I managed to do some work too!

Sunday 5 November 2017

"Listening to the piers...."

Stromness Museum have completed a wonderful project about the piers around Stromness.  The website is well worth exploring.  Here's the link to photos and audio "Listening to the piers".  Make a "cuppa", sit down and enjoy!