March Remembered

March seems to be a season of its own up here.  Some days hark back to winter, others forward to spring.  And all the while, the days lengthen perceptibly.

At the start of the month the sun was still low enough for some interesting sky shots.  I love the juxtaposition of the 900 year old Cathedral spire with the two industrial chimneys of the power station.

March was also the month of the shed!  We have no flat space to put it, so it is going in the car port.  Nick and The Butler have done all the work.

It is not finished yet – ‘flu has got in the way – but it is going to be great when it is! (The same ‘flu that meant I didn’t write a post last week.)

The dogs have continued doing what they do best – sleeping and getting in to mischief.  Magnus was not pleased to be woken for some snaps, so he proceeded to yawn hugely until I have finished!

Outside the bushes were changing.  The Alder has these cone-like fruiting bodies which stay on the branches all winter.

Silver Birch has a host of catkins which look dull and brown in some lights, and a brilliant rust red in others.

The mosses and lichens are starting to grow…

… and by the end of the month some bushes like this Blackthorn, have come into bud.

We have had some lovely days, where I was able to open some windows for the first time.  They have a setting where they will open a couple of inches, but no more.  Eilidh spent hours trying her hardest to get out…!

The end of the month also saw the first cruise liner of the year, the Astoria.  My usual afternoon dog walk has good views of ships coming and going, and also at anchor.  I am no sure yet whether we will be able to see those at the Hatston pier.  Time will tell!


February Remembered

It was a funny month, weather-wise.  It started with snow, and became spring-like.

At the beginning of the month, the days were getting longer, and my dog walking was happening after sunrise.

Mists and cloud still made for great lighting.

By the end of the month it was the sunsets which gave the wonderful colours.

The grass was growing, and the sheep were out.

There were days where the stormy blue-grey skies, and the low sun, made my stained glass angel glow.

The dogs continued to make me laugh!  This is Eilidh reacting to a video of Scottie puppies playing.

Towards the end of the month we had a mild spell, with plenty of sun.  The the mixed woodland of the Muddisdale walk was especially colourful – here the silver birch (with Magnus)…

…. ash….

and alder. The verges are beginning to show signs of spring.  Snowdrops and crocuses came out very early this year.  We are just hoping we will not pay too dearly in April….!

January Remembered

The main thing I remember about this January is the skies. I never tire of skyscapes, and Orkney never tires of providing stunning ones.

Morning walks started in the dark, and as the month progressed the sun rose earlier and earlier. The saturated neons of the first half of the month gave way to pastels just as the cold spell hit us.

I love snow – even little bits! The past couple of weeks have been below zero with ice making the roads and pavements like a skating rink. Fortunately my granny wagon is excellent in the ice, so it was walks as usual.

At the very end of the month, we had a slight thaw, and I saw these snowdrops. Spring will come!

Christmas shopping in Shearer’s

There is a traditional grocers in Kirkwall called William Shearer. They have been going quite a while, and in recent years have changed with the times to sell a lot of speciality foods as well as Orkney produce. They have been in the same building for a long time, and at present, for most of the year, only the ground floor is used.

However, over part of the building there is an upper floor, left much as it would have been a hundred years ago, and before Christmas that area is opened up and filled with Christmas goodies.

note pram in the foreground and REAL fire

all the shelves etc are originals

note hand cart front right

As well as lots of lovely things to buy, if you look, there are all sorts of bits about from long ago.

girdle (top right) goes on the fire to cook pancakes (drop scones)

this is one of the high desks where the clerks would sit and hand write the ledgers

I couldn’t JUST take photos of course. So I HAD to do my Christmas food shopping while I was there. Various things – from special sardines and savoury biscuits to jars of fruit in various alcoholic liquids; the odd packet of chocolate enrobed fruit, and chocolate enrobed ginger biscuits (Duchy Originals for those to whom that means something – didn’t see any of the lemon ones this year, but I will be going back to check it out again!!).
This is my first time off Flotta for 4 weeks, and I am now staying on South Ronaldsay to look after Nigel while Steve has his holiday. I have been shopping twice in two days, and tomorrow we are all going out to lunch in Lucano’s, the wonderful Italian restaurant in Kirkwall. All this excitement….!! And what is more, my car has been mended and when I go home, it will be able to take it back over with me. Bliss…!