Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | December 23, 2013

The Flotta Christmas Tree

Most communities in Orkney have a Christmas tree.  The Flotta one is right outside my door!

 01. tree going up

Every year the tree is put up by Kenny and Peter.  First it is wedged into the concrete hole in the grass.  Then comes the important bit – the guy ropes.  There are two sets of four, with pegs going a couple of feet into the grass.  The upper set, which takes most of the stress, is double pegged – ie each peg has a peg holding it in place.  As a result of this work, the Flotta tree stays upright when many others end up at a frightening angle.

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Once the tree is secured, the lights go on.  Talisman, the owners of the oil terminal, lend men and a cherry picker to help with this job which this year was done in rather nasty weather!

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Fortunately the rain held off for the tree lighting ceremony.  The youngest islander is only 3 months old, so his older brother did the job, helped by their elder sister!

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Then, as the rain started again, we sang a carol…..

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 05.  singing

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… before adjourning to the Community Hall, which was decorated for the season.

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We had the best mulled wine I have ever tasted (thanks Dave!) plus home made chicken noodle soup, mince pies, cakes etc as we sang more carols and Christmas songs.  The children (both islanders and visitors) were very good…

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Part way through the evening we had a photo for the paper.

 09. all in hall

The tree has so far stood up to all sorts of weather….

 10. Christmas tree

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This is a 3 second exposure during the gales a few days ago.  It gives some idea of the movement of the tree:

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In case the power leaves us again, may I take the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Christmas.  But also, please do take a moment to remember all those for whom these days will be a strain….

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Responses

  1. It’s always nice to see a community come together to celebrate, thanks for sharing.

  2. Happy Christmas Liz from the other Liz at Calibre and all the team

    • Thanks, Liz! And Calibre have come up trumps with a Dorothy L Sayers book delivered yesterday – perfect Christmas reading!!

  3. Lovely to see that you still have a tree, here in Ipswich, this year and last year they have put up a silver bauble monstrosity, the sort I saw in Singapore and Thailand 2 Christmases ago. What happened to the lovely real fir tree sent annually to us from Norway?(Ever since the war I think!)
    Thanks for help with the ‘flag pattern scarf, I have just wrapped it up
    Have a wonderful Orkney Christmas

    • Just noticed your comment, the little islander and his sisters were born in Ipswich. The youngest islander was two months old on Christmas day, having been born in Orkney in October 2014. We also definitely prefered the old tree to the silver bauble effort We never attended a lighting ceremony in Ipswich, despite my living there most of my life, as I hate crowds. No problem with such things on Flotta I’m happy to say :)

      • It was a good occasion, wasn’t it? And I was most impressed with the way the children all behaved. It is good to have more children on the island!

  4. Beautiful, Liz. And thanks for all the thoughts, including the final one.

  5. I do love to see what you’re doing on the other side of the Pond. Look forward to the shopping trip through the local store every year too – so much nicer than a Mall. Another green Christmas here on the Wet Coast of British Columbia where we’re well above freezing so even the Bums will be having a good Christmas this year. I hope you & Scotty have a great Christmas.

  6. Merry Christmas from Downunder – and thanks for sharing the wonderful community spirit!

  7. I love your posts. I love seeing your island and your Christmas. Sometimes I am afraid that many of us in the US forget what it is all about – certainly not I-pads. Thanks for reminding us to remember those who are struggling with many problems this time of year. A Merry Christmas to you from the US.


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