Thursday was our one complete day on the island. The forecast was bad, but we had plenty to do inside. In the event, although windy, the rain didn’t come to much and didn’t trouble us.
Our first stop in the morning was the heritage exhibition. The photographs are always being updated and every time I go I find something of interest. This time there were more photos of knitwear, like this one showing clearly the ‘berret’ that was worn here for so long. This is practical way of wearing a beret in winds!!
The one below is part of a photo of a group at an event. If you look closely you can see that the old man is wearing a two-coloured sweater under his jacket. The pattern is one used in many ways all over Orkney, and it is a slip stitch pattern, so that you only ever knit one colour on a row.
After an hour or so looking round, we went on up to the mill to visit Jane. Deb had much to ask Jane, and there was quite a bit of discussion about the nature of the grease in fleece etc.
Deb was keen to see how the machines worked.
Then it was into the cafe for soup, and a look round the shop.
In the afternoon we went over to June Morris’s place. June was worried about a kitten she had had to leave at the vets. The plane it was due to be coming home on was cancelled, then there was the thought it may come in later etc etc, so in the end I showed Deb around first, then Deb and June were able to talk when June came back from the airfield.
I had asked June to keep me the fleece of a certain alpaca, and I now have that, but I also have some of each of three of the boys. I’m not sure what the right term for a first fleece from an alpaca – is it a ‘shearling’ as for sheep? – but these were first shear fleeces, and the light brown one was particularly long and fine.
Here is the boy it came off, on the left.
Once the alpaca had been fed and bedded down, Deb’s eye were front….
… because the ewes had decided it must be their feeding time and were coming in to the yard.
There were Soays, both light and dark…
… and Icelandics and Herdwicks (the white and two big greys at the back)
There is also a little Ouseant in the background
This morning was a trip to the Post Office to see Sandra, and a return to the mill for Deb to ask more questions. The wind was right down, and the rain off, so before lunch we went down to the rocks near the Bird Observatory to see whether we might see more sheep and seals. The sheep were there in large numbers…
… but the tide was too high for there to be seals on the rocks. There were a few seals in the water, waiting for their favourite rocks to emerge, so we did see some!
Then it was a case of trying to pack our fleeces, felt and roving so it would be happier on the plane. Deb has bought three fleeces from Alison at the Bird Obs…
Weight wasn’t an issue, but the bags needed to be closed – an operation which required brute force!!
The plane got in under the cloud, and we were able to leave the island for Kirkwall. It was a good flight back, and Deb had the best seat on the plane, with views over several of the Orkney islands.
Deb and I parted at the door of my B&B. Tomorrow she heads off to Shetland and I go back home to Flotta. It has been a great few days, with lots of sheep, lots of photos, lots of wind and lots of laughs! We are already talking about the next time!