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Sunday 31 March 2019

Spring - ish...

Looking across Sandside Bay from Garson

Tonight the clocks go forward one hour and it has officially been Spring for a few days.  Though it has to be said the last week has been more like Winter, with blustery winds, heavy rain showers, hail etc.  I'm grumpy.  It feels a loong Winter this year.  Sigh.  But the days ARE lengthening and that brings me joy.  As do the daffodils!  Anyway, just a few pix from this last week as really it's not been much fun being outdoors....

Yay! The primroses are out!!  These cover the bank down by the pier.

They fair make my heart sing...

All is calm at Sandside.....

Saturday 30 March 2019

Tales of an Orkney Librarian

You might like this link too!

'I'm an Orkney librarian driving to a school when a wave engulfs my van'

This should be free access (it's the Guardian UK newspaper).

Film of Orkney

This film isn't available to view outside the EU (at least so I hear).  But hopefully some of you can view this film made about Orkney by a German production company.

As well as stunning scenery (you can see my house by the Hoy High lighthouse - hee hee) the film covers Orkney Buffalo on the island of Stronsay, the Ness of Brodgar archaeological dig, St Magnus Cathedral, the sea cliffs of Yesnaby, Stromness, as well as Loganair flight to Papay (shortest flight is from the island of Westray to Papa Westray, known locally as Papay).

It is only available till 27th April.  Film lasts 44 minutes and has subtitles.  The "Queen's Isles" referenced in the title refers to the islands of Queen Elizabeth, hence covering Bermuda etc!

So get a cup or glass of something and enjoy!

Sunday 17 March 2019

Never forgotten....

Photo by Magnus Mowat
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the loss of the Longhope Lifeboat and all her crew.  Everyone in that small community lost a loved one. Yet the next day there were men of the community that stood up to take their place.  Today the children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren, form part of the crew on the lifeboat.  Women take their place among the crew too.

The photo above is of the memorial to the men lost, forever looking out to sea.

In memory of:

Daniel Kirkpatrick
Robert R Johnston
James Johnston
Daniel Raymond Kirkpatrick
James Swanson
Robert Johnston
John Thomas Kirkpatrick
Eric McFadyn

Here are a couple of links in memory of the crew.

RNLI tribute to those lost.  Click here

This haunting song and melody was written and performed by Bob and Louise McCorkindale.  It is beautiful but not an easy one to listen to. Click here

From the RNLI Longhope lifeboat page today..... Crews from Kirkwall, Stromness, Wick and Thurso pay their respects.

Photo : Mary Harris

Saturday 16 March 2019

Around Stromness Harbour

These were taken at the beginning of March.  The weather has deteriorated since then with heavy showers of hail or rain, and very blustery winds, bordering on gale force (only we don't name them here, we just say it's windy!).

Anyway here is a potter around the Stromness harbour. Very much a working harbour with creel boats that go out for crab and lobster, work boats that service the renewable industry, dive boats and small "pleasure craft" and of course the all important lifeboat! Our Graemsay ferry departs from one pier, and from the larger linkspan pier the Hamnavoe ferry that sails to Scrabster in the North of Scotland arrives and departs during the day.

Here are a few of the smaller boats....

The old stone building on the pier is the Pier Arts Centre, and behind it is the "Nav School" where students young and old learn about navigation on the sea.

Houses stride out into the inner harbour on old stone piers, as well as another working pier further along where the Northern Lighthouse Board has workshops and space for the lighthouse board vessel "The Pole Star" to tie up.

And along the main street there are glimpses of the harbour.  This is the Pier Arts Centre mentioned above, with a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth

I always try and remember to look UP and not just at street level!

No longer a coffee saloon! Hasn't been for many years, but one of my favourite shops, the Quernstone, run by Elaine Bentley.  Gorgeous knitwear and lots of colourful goodies to be had a either of her shops (other one across the road).

Looking up Church Road - there's a church at the top (now a community centre), one on the left (called the Town Hall but is actually a venue for concerts and performances as well as being used by the Baptist Kirk) and one on the right (an Episcopalian church).  The Church of Scotland is further along the street.  Multi-denominational in a small town reflecting various splits over the centuries.

In a window along the street a "witches cat"!  Ha love it!

Some of the buildings in "Graham Place". I love the different level of the roof lines and chimneys.

This is a two-way street for traffic.  And no I don't often drive along it!!  The centre line of stones is where the town drains used to run...

More colourful buildings.  You can see where buildings have bits "shaved off" the walls - this is to allow space to get a hand-cart down the lanes at the time of building!

And another more obvious bit!  Love this one!

If you come out of this door in the new Library you can have one foot in John Street and one in Victoria Street! Just mind your toes as there is no pavement and you are standing on that two way narrow road again!

Ha! Someone has a sense of humour.  This is/was Bank Lane next door to the Royal Bank of Scotland building.  A bank that has stood there for many a year until being closed a couple of years ago as part of the "rationalisation" of rural branches.  You can now go to the bank in the Library on a Friday morning for simple transactions!!

Friday 15 March 2019

A different view...

At the beginning of March I took a trip out to the parish of Birsay on the Orkney Mainland. It was a bit blustery and the sky was grey but it was worth a visit.  Once Spring comes it becomes a hot spot for visitors, coaches and camper vans and is hard to get near to park.  So I was pleased to have made the visit when there was almost no one else around!  So here are a few pictures.....

Above is the Brough of Birsay (Brough is pronounced broch to confuse things).  It's a tidal island, with no inhabitants, but has a lighthouse at the top, it's a lovely walk with lots of wildlife, and near the causeway are a mixture of Norse, Pictish and Medieval building remains.  It's an interesting place - but do watch the tides!

The Atlantic ocean can race in faster than you can run!

Here you can see the gorgeous beach and the causeway just under water.

In the distance on the horizon you can see the island of Westray. One of my favourite islands and worth a visit if you are in Orkney!  The only place I've seen puffins!

Turquoise breakers over the flags by the shore, looking West (again to Westray!) .....

This time looking South to Marwick.  On the top of the headland is the Kitchener Memorial, an evocative memorial to the lost of  Lord Kitchener and 736 other men in 1916. On a lighter note, the high cliffs are home to thousands of seabirds in the Spring and summer and the views are gorgeous!

Meanwhile, back at home..... when I left the house Button was still in bed....

Though Charlie, the barn cat, was happily awaiting breakfast.

And the girls had been up for HOURS.....

And as the 1st March was St David's Day (Patron Saint of Wales - Land of my fathers and all that) there were daffs in the garden....

And in the kitchen, of course....