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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

Sunsets




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.







Monday, 26 June 2017

Anyone for tennis? Pool? Air Hockey?



Some months ago Voluntary Action Orkney (VAO) launched a scheme where island communities could apply for funding for projects called "Your Island Your Choice".  Irene Mathieson on Graemsay volunteered to go along to meetings and find out more.  Folk from VAO then visited Graemsay and handed out survey forms to gather ideas.  The outcome from the community was that we wanted various things for our Community Hall and after discussions on the island, and voting, we agreed to put forward some proposals. We all felt it was important to get things for the hall itself, and something for the children and young people to use, perhaps as a start up for a youth club.

So first, we settled on getting mains water to the hall. The funding pays for phase 1 - getting a standpipe outside the hall itself and we can then go for further funding to do some more work to the kitchen to get a sink in etc.  This will make a HUGE difference as currently we have to take water up in canisters to use in the kitchen to even make a cup of tea.  The work is ongoing getting that connected at the moment and we should have a working tap outside the hall in about a week or so.

The hall was also in need of a new cd player, and as technology has moved on it was agreed to also buy one with "bluetooth" so that we can connect up to phones, tablets etc to play music if we wish. The one we got also allows us to have karaoke sessions (eek!).

Here is Bobby Mathieson setting up the sound system.


And the kids having a go at the Karaoke.  It has to be said that the adults didn't need to read the words OR use a microphone as it was playing a classic ABBA song. Haha!



The Craft Ladies asked for some lights to help them with their craft sessions, particularly in the winter months - you can see the super bright light to the right of the picture above.  Two "daylight" lamps to help with "craft".

The children and young people (we have six on the island) specifically asked for a games table. So some research was undertaken and THIS is what we have - a table that morphs from a pool table, to air hockey, to table tennis.

Some lessons being given!


Serious match in progress


And with the flick of a switch and a bit of manoeuvring it turns over into the air hockey pitch.  A fan blows a layer of air and the discs are pushed around - ideally into the goal.  I think there are rules - but nobody was paying much attention to them!


Hmm probably a bit unfair when you have extra long legs and arms and can lean halfway across the "pitch" .....


And to round off the evening, a game of table tennis!


This was the first time everyone had seen all the new goodies so there was great excitement and as you can see from the photos, lots of fun too.  Hopefully we will have many years of fun out of all the new "toys" and many cups of tea from the new tap!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Around the Summer Solstice



These photos were taken around the Summer Solstice of 21st June when sunrise here was 3.58 am and sunset was 22.28, giving us 18.5 hours of daylight!

And at nearly midnight it still isn't dark, even on a cloudy night.


Some evenings had dramatic skies even before sunset....


Long shadows as the sun begins to set...


This early evening shot was taken from Orphir looking towards Hoy with Graemsay in the middle


Sandside Bay....


Late afternoon calm seas....


And of course, the glow of sunset at nearly 10.30 pm.


Saturday, 24 June 2017

A blustery day.....







It's been a bit of a blustery day today.  This is taken from a bedroom window at Sandside.  I love the long grass waving to the sea waving to the grass.......


Boats in the bay



I drew the blinds the other morning to see five wee boats in the bay. They had moored there overnight.  I saw some of the folk out walking, and they put a note in our island visitors book "The Ragamuffin Crew - lovely peaceful island".


A bit later the sun went in but they seemed quite happy on their boats, sailing off about lunch time.


They were spotted down at the barriers in South Ronaldsay later in the week. Hope they enjoyed their Orkney cruise!



Friday, 23 June 2017

The old quarry, Graemsay


A couple of weeks ago I headed up to the old quarry on Graemsay.  I was hunting for dragons...well ok dragon flies and damsel flies.  I didn't see any (some were recorded there last year), but I spent a pleasant hour just wandering about looking at wild flowers, the scenery and listening to the birdies.

The old croft of Dean, with the Hoy hills behind.


Ladies Smock


Looking towards Sandside, Hoy High Lighthouse and Orphir across Hoy Sound.


Same view - a bit distant....


Looking towards Stromness


Stromness across Hoy Sound.


Croft of Dean and Hoy Hills again.


Tormentil


Dwarf willow


Apparently these are female catkins and fluffy seed on the dwarf willow.  Only just discovered what these were. Aren't they delightful?


And this is, Common Lousewort! Sounds an unkind name for such a pretty plant! (Thanks to Imperfect & Tense for help with ID plus other flower folk!)


The quarry with Hoy High and Orphir in the distance.


The shallow end of the pool


A dragon's head maybe??


Heading home to Sandside.....