Most communities in Orkney have a Christmas tree. The Flotta one is right outside my door!
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.
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!
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!
Then, as the rain started again, we sang a carol…..
… before adjourning to the Community Hall, which was decorated for the season.
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…
Part way through the evening we had a photo for the paper.
The tree has so far stood up to all sorts of weather….
This is a 3 second exposure during the gales a few days ago. It gives some idea of the movement of the tree:
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….