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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Orkney Folk Festival



Still catching up with blog posts!  In Winter not a lot happens so not much to blog about and in summer, so much going on no time to blog! Arggh!  Anyway these photos are from the last weekend in May when it was the Orkney Folk Festival in Stromness and around.

This year I went to quite a few gigs.  A friend, L, had a camper van in Stromness so we used that as a base during the day for refreshments as the town was so busy it was hard to get even a cup of tea!

Above is Kris Drever from Orkney. He won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 and is a prolific composer of contemporary folk. He now lives in Shetland so it was good to see him performing back in Orkney.

Below is Norwegian Ragnhild Hemsing, a virtuoso in Norwegian folk music, and hales from Valdres. She plays the very distinctive tunes from that area.  She played on the Hardanger fiddle (you can hear her play here on Youtube. She also played some more classical pieces on a conventional violin. Both were great!  I'd never come across the Hardanger fiddle before and it is a beautiful looking instrument.  But she said if you play this kind of fiddle you spend half your time tuning it!  It has 9 strings and certainly seemed very sensitive.  The concert was in Skaill House in one of the lovely reception rooms upstairs.  It has a great atmosphere about it and I love going to concerts there.  The room is small so tickets scarce, but it feels like one is at a private "soiree" than a concert!



Back in Stromness Town Hall now (a former church) and Talisk. This group from Mainland Scotland were extraordinary. They were winners of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2015 and I could see why.  The young chap on the concertina (Mohsen Amini) was extraordinary and played with such energy it was mesmerising!


As well as existing professional artists and groups there is a chance for members of the community to get involved in workshops.  This was the Song Shop Choir performing on stage at the Town Hall. Great to see some youngsters on the stage too!


And in a quieter, more reflective event was the Per Mare "Haven inside the Bay" - it was a celebration of Stromness and some of the characters.  The performers were Stromness folk.  At the mic is Joanna Ramsey, poet and writer. Sitting behind are Morag McInnes, Fiona Matheson, Bryce Wilson, Graham Garson and the empty chair had held storyteller Tom Muir. Behind them all was Tom, a young musician from Stromness.  And on the right - lots of cakes to be bought!!  Though I was too busy rushing to the next gig to even peruse them closely!



Back to the folk music, and Saltfishforty made up of Douglas Montgomery and Brian Cromarty. I just loved the energy of their playing!!


And outside the weather was glorious!  I even had bare feet and sandals!  It was great around the town, lots of folk milling about.  There was music outside some of the pubs too.  And in the harbour the Swan from Shetland was giving sailing trips around the Orkney waters. Sadly I didn't have time to go.  Just in the distance between the rigging you can see Graemsay and the Hoy High lighthouse!


On the deck of the Swan



And in the street - singer Eddie Reader chatting to Frankie Sinclair about whelks!


Back home on Graemsay and all was calm....



Monday, 5 June 2017

Sunny day along the shore....


The "main road" that runs past the house and around the island.  The community hall "up the road", Hoy hills in the background.

The Swan sailing past....


And caught in the wind chimes!


At Sandside Bay looking towards the Hoy Hills


Looking across Sandside Bay


Madam Button taking a stroll! She looks like she's on a mission....


And down at the Graemsay pier, looking towards Hoy High lighthouse and Stromness....




Sunday, 4 June 2017

Troubled times....




Thankfully everyone I know in London is safe.  But we live in troubled times.  I sought refuge in my garden today, and took a wander up the road in the late afternoon sun.  Photo above - early evening sun on Hoy High lighthouse and Sandside.

*my other post today was uploaded a couple of days ago before news of the events in London...


Evening sun


Above from the "front door" on Friday night.

At the end of May a lovely sunset, looking West.....


And then the mist came in!



Looking towards Stromness



Hoy High disappearing into the mist.....


And another evening from the Graemsay Pier on another night....


And a gorgeous ephemeral sky.....


...and over Hoy....



Saturday, 3 June 2017

Sunshine, sunsets and rainbows....



Mist hanging over Stromness above.  The same scene at sunset....


And with thick cloud at sunset....


And a rainbow between Hoy High and the "Graemsay telephone exchange" at the end of my drive!



Friday, 2 June 2017

It's JUNE!



Goodness, the year is moving quickly!  I've been busy working, gardening, at the Orkney Folk Festival and various other things.  I'm enjoying the longer days, and sunshine and warmth (well now and again!).  Anyway here are few photos taken over the last month. (I'll try and answer comments on previous entries over the next few days!).

These are of Sandside Bay on cloudy and sunny days.  I've been feeding a neighbour's hens so I've been getting a different view of  "my house" and Hoy High Lighthouse.   Above a tractor ploughing up the field closely followed by gulls!

A rather cloudy version of the same view (minus tractor!)


A bit sunnier.......


And a panorama.....


And looking over to Stromness with the Hamnavoe ferry arriving from Scrabster on the Scottish Mainland....


And looking towards the croft of quoys....


The hens I've been feeding come to greet me each day!  Just the 3 ladies....


And on the way home from feeding the girls, lovely green landscapes....





Thursday, 11 May 2017

Garden..... early Spring



I'm always optimistic about gardening at this time of year. Everything is beginning to grow again, and it a beautiful vibrant green.  Well most of it....  I've been getting a neighbour, S. to help do the heavy work in the garden so I can focus my energy on planting and nurturing. I don't have energy for both! A couple of borders have been widened this Spring and I've added some new perennials.  It all looks quite bare at the moment.  We'll see how things go.  Anyway here are some photos....  Oh and washing on the line. I LOVE when I can put washing on the line again!  OK to be honest many folk put it on the washing line through the winter too, but I don't have the time or energy to keep rushing out to take it in if it rains etc so I just do this in the summer months.


In Orkney we are about 6 weeks behind the South of the UK.  Though once then we have a very rapid growing season.  I can almost HEAR the lovage, in the photo above, growing!  Lots more to plant in these borders....  The stone wall gives some protection but in these borders, as they get a lot of salt spray over them, as well as battered by Winter gales, I tend to grow perennials that die right back in Winter...



I love this delicate Spring bulb.


And these are so lovely (photo is NOT!) - they open when the sun shines...


This is another new border.  This used to be the "midden" where household rubbish was thrown.  It was full of broken china!!  Bucket loads of broken china.  I've kept most of it with some ideas of how to "reuse" the fragments.


And my new toy - a cordless grass strimmer.  It's very lightweight and I can just do bits at a time. I'm loving it so far!


So, as things progress I'll share more photos.  Oh I dream of an abundant garden!  Many folk are successful in Orkney producing just that.  But it probably takes more time and effort plus LOTS of more shelter and TLC than I can give.  Still considering all this was just field grass when I moved in, it's coming along slowly....