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Saturday, 26 May 2018

A trip to Birsay



The tourist season is in full swing now, which means lots of places get quite busy.  This is great for local accommodation providers and shops, restaurants etc.  But sometimes places become a little too crowded for me and I avoid them in Summer.  One such place is Birsay.  It's a favourite haunt of camper vans as "wild camping" (camping outside of a camp site) is allowed in Scotland. 

Anyway the other week I took a quick visit up to Birsay for a gentle walk along the lovely soft flat footpath by the shore.

Over on the tidal island, Brough of Birsay, are some really interesting archaeological remains, and you can walk up to the lighthouse and get wonderful views.  Around the island are lots of seabirds including puffins.  I didn't go there this time but I love looking at it.

Along the shore people have been having a go at stone structures, maybe echoing those found at Skara Brae


Further along the shore....




A waymarker for the newly completed St Magnus Way.  If you are visiting Orkney do take a look at the website and consider doing part of the walk!




Another look back at the tidal Brough.....


And then of course it was necessary to have lunch at the wonderful Birsay Bay Tea Room  Um no photos of cake, it disappeared too quickly. Hahah!  But lovely views across to the Brough.


And the tea room has some quirky features, like these lights!


And then, sailing home .....



Friday, 25 May 2018

End of May



The weather has been lovely the last few days.  Warm, no wind, the odd shower of rain but nothing too bad.  Everything is greening up and growing with the longer days and the sun warming the earth.

Photo above looking across Sandside back back at my home and Hoy High light.

One of my old Light Sussex hens was enjoying the sun by the bluebells today.


So much so that she settled down to sunbathe by them!


Scarratain with a traditional grass roof


Looking over the Graemsay fields to Hoy.


And lots of primroses in every crevice and verge


The alliums are in flower in the garden now too.


I had some visitors this week and they brought me some lovely flowers.  These are nursery grown tulips but they are so gorgeous.


The walled garden is springing to life too.


And at the end of a lovely day, the sunset.  Sunset at the moment is after 10pm and it barely gets dark at night - it's called "simmer dim" here and in Shetland.



And a gratuitous photo of Button, having one of those days by her pose. Haha!




Monday, 14 May 2018

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Still here!



Due to life, too much work, low energy levels and a sneaky trip "south" I've been absent from blogging for a while.  Thanks to those who got in touch to ask if I was fine.  I am!  And I hope to get back to regular blogging too.  For now just a few pictures from the last couple of days where we have had some lovely warm Spring weather.  We are also getting our fair share of breezes and rain!  But I treasure the lovely warm days, like today.

Above, the Hamnavoe sailing into Stromness.  Below, the hens enjoying the sunshine.  The daffodils are still in bloom. Really late this year!


The daffs are just going over and the tulips are out!




I love the brightness of the sea, it is so vivid!


And the grass is such a fresh green after the first cut.  Lots coming up in the garden and lots to do! Over the wall, the Hamnavoe sailing OUT of Stromness this afternoon!


Meanwhile Madam Buttion is the only one with time to snooze on a garden bench! A little dusty as she has been rolling in the earth - the hens are not the only ones liking a dust bath!


And the sunsets have been glorious too.  The sun has well and truly moved round the horizon.



And after the sun has set..... this was 10.30 on Weds!


Hope you enjoy the photos and hope to be blogging more regularly soon!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Spring.... please?



The temperature is rising v.e.r.y. slowly but it is rising - almost to double figures (in Celsius that is).  And it's not been quite as windy this last week.  And the sun has shone *sometimes* so we can't complain!  Anyway here are a few photos from the weekend.

My poor dear Hellebores have struggled this Spring. No leaves left after constant East winds, but valiantly blooming nonetheless!  Well one of them.  The other one has given up completely I think!


Finally the daffs are flowering!  These have been protected by the trees and the garden dyke so have had a good start.


And the willow trees are in full bud, all fluffy and gorgeous, starting to burst with pollen and fresh green leaves.


These ewes are waiting to lamb.  Very curious of those venturing onto the beach!


Here's looking at ewe!


The tide is a looong way out on this walk....


Earlier Button was snoozing in the sun.  I love how she has her paw wrapped round the window catch!


And more blue sky from the day before, plus fluffy clouds!


Monday, 9 April 2018

Oooops.......



I seem to have let my 10th anniversary as a blogger slip by this year!!  Here was my very first post in 2008 

I've always enjoyed my blog posts.  Some months, indeed years, are more prolific than others but I still love sharing my pictures and some of the stories with you all.  Thanks for "following" me (metaphorically speaking - not physically, that would just be weird!).

Merry Dancers.....



Towards the end of March there were some stunning displays of the Merry Dancers (Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis).  I never get good pictures so ask permission to use others!  Mr T from Imperfect & Tense kindly let me use a couple of his stills.

This is a picture of "Steve" an atmospheric phenomenon seen during an aurora.



And there is this beautiful timelapse taken by David Wishart and shared with permission.  Sit back and watch, it's slow at first but wow when it really gets going!!  I should say that camera lenses show much brighter colours than seen by the naked eye.  But I did see pale dancing green on this particular occassion.  And even if I don't see much colour I can see the dancing!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Last weekend......




....was Easter weekend.  I don't celebrate the religious significance but always think of it as a Spring festival.  So there were chocolate Easter eggs, and of course flowers.  I always try to have some daffodils in the house at Easter as that was Mum & Dad's wedding anniversary.  Neither could ever remember the date but as they got married on Easter Saturday that was always they day they celebrated their anniversary!  So in their memory I have daffs in a vase.


Spring is late throughout the UK and we are all longing for warm sunny days.  But the sun did shine last week and it was nice to be out and about.

There are lambs appearing in the fields too now.


The ewes and lambs are numbered so if they get separated the farmer knows who belongs to which!


This ewe had escaped and was wandering round.  She was trying to look fierce and prevent me getting in my car - she failed. Haha!  How can a sheep with a white top knot be taken seriously?



And.... we had SNOW at Easter!!!  Mostly just settling on the Hoy Hills.



Not that that stopped Madam Button from basking in the sunshine!


Fulmar pairs are back on the cliffs at the pier.  They are fantastic in the air, really acrobatic!



No Easter chicks, but Gimpy (Limpy) hen has been separated from the flock and put in a pen on hard ground.  She had an infected foot and it wasn't healing up in all the mud.  I put her sister, Wheezy Hen, with her for company.  They are both at least 6 years old and generally doing well.  Neither are thrilled at being confined but they are getting lots of extra treats like fruit and veg.  Hopefully when (if?) the land dries up they can both be released again.


Neighbour Sue helped construct the pen.  It is in the old Stable at Sandside where the working horse would have been kept.  So the sides are high, as is the manger.  A former owner of Sue's house used to keep pigeons and she had some frames from the coop in a shed which came in VERY handy as the doors!  Lots of hay, two nesting boxes and two reasonably comfy hens!

And then there was a beautiful sunset that evening.....