Monday, 25 February 2013

An unwanted inheritance...

And, dare I say, another two days of summer weather!

We had inherited a bit of a problem with a drainage pipe at the hotel, this had had a repair done to it by the Lone Ranger who had clearly had it away on his toes when the Indians turned up. 

Talking about this in the bar - as you do - an islander had picked up on this and turned up the next morning saying he woud fix that for us.

Now, this was not a five minute job, it was Sunday, cement and sand were required and also an ten inch grinder with concrete cutting blade fitted, he supplied the cutter and set about removing large chunks of concrete.

I phoned the shop (Don't forget it's Sunday and they are closed)
Can I have a bag of cement please?  No problem! take it from the front of the shop.

The sand was even more surreal to obtain, the Monks are restoring a house here and have a few bags of sand outside.
Ding Dong! ......... could I buy one of your bags of sand?
No........Just take it.
But, seriously, how much do you want for it?
He fixes me with a weary eye and softly says "there is no charge"

The man worked like a trojan and all is now well.

Guess what he said when I asked how much?

Crocus, Croci?...... Who cares when it's sunny!

Island life in a nutshell today.

Until next time.............


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Unbelievable weather.......still

And a few Snowdrops to boot.

This little bunch are well sheltered alongside a stone wall and are loving every minute of it. We even have a few Daffs popping their heads up in the garden.

White sand, blue skys and even bluer (is that a word?) seas,..... it sounds like I'm writing a holiday brochure for somewhere far far away.
Oh, wait a minute I am!

No trains, no ships, no motorways and only one tiny little plane, you can actually hear yourself breath........Bliss.

Until next time..................


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Another cracking day

And a dive boat returns to Stronsay.

Hooray.........the internet is back on, three days this has been off, mind you it is like wading through mud at the moment......... it is that slow.

The week started off with one of the best days (weatherwise) so far. Not a breath of wind was to be had and there was sunshine aplenty.

The phone rang behind the bar the other day and it was the skipper of this live aboard dive boat, the MV Karin. Can I bring my charter party in for some drinks?  he asks a slightly bemused me.
Apparently it would be around this point when the previous owners would have said.......No!
This is why this boat, and many others haven't been here for years

Having a boatload of hungry and thirsty people delivered to your pub door is a bit of a "no brainer" to me. Anyway, they will now be coming back again!

Right, I've had enough of this, I'm off.

Those worm casts and weed are a good ten to twelve feet down, clear water or what?

Sometimes you just know you have done the right thing don't you.

That little yacht sailed completely around the island during the week arriving back at dusk, they must have lapped it up as they were straight out again the next day.

Yacht skippers are another set of people we have got to try to attract back to the island.
There are tales of an article in one of their magazines about not going to the Stronsay Hotel as the reception is luke warm at best. We like a challenge. 

Another visitor, one of the twenty thousand or so that are said to be here. This is our sixth sighting so far, aren't we doing well!

Moody picture......................The Sky's the Limit

D doesn't like this........but I do.

Until next time.......................


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Stronsay Bathed in Sunshine.

What a place to be!

I think I will just let the pictures do the talking today.


Until next time.......................




Thursday, 14 February 2013

Yesterday the Navy came,

One quick bang and they were gone.

Something strange had been washed up or uncovered on one of the islands beaches so the Navy Bomb Disposal team were called in.

They came off the ferry in their 4 wheel drive all singing all dancing all terrain christmas tree and shot off to the field next to the relevant beach.

As the farmer slowly pulled them back out of the field with his tractor, he mentioned that he was quite surprised they had managed to get as far as they had done in that thing.

Anyway........whatever it was that had been reported seemed to have been washed away in the recent winds, so they blew something else up and went to the pub.

All joking aside though, these were a great bunch of lads who risk life and limb on a daily basis.

Until next time.......................


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The wind became "chilly"

And we took the roller coaster to Tesco's

Another good "Drying day", but although there was still no ice, snow or frost to be seen the wind chill factor cut straight through our wussy old southerner clothes and disappeared with our flesh. 

The abundant bird population on the island didn't seem to mind things though........ as I snapped them from the comfort of our nice warm car.

Every second Tuesday seems to have become our top up shopping day where we catch the ferry into Kirkwall for the little... "essentials", these normally take the form of numerous two litre plastic bottles full of the amber nectar and a few scraps of food stuffs, which, apparently, are quite important. 

These little ships are so sturdy, I don't think I would be wrong if I said they sail in weather that would halt the cross channel ferries from Dover to Calais back down in Kent.

They certainly conjour up the feeling of Scottish grit and determination in me. What do you mean a force nine?  bring it on, let me at it!

This might be boring for some, but bear with me.
Leaving our first port of call today this little ship had to traverse an area with a vicious tide rip and a large sea swell was making things worse.
The skipper kept the port quarter taking the brunt of the waves (although she was dipping in every now and then) to stop the ship taking it all broadside, he held his course until he was no more than a few hundred yards from the shore of one of the islands and then he turned into it all and away we went to Kirkwall.

That man has a drink on the bar if he ever comes into the pub! 

Until next time............................


Monday, 11 February 2013

Way off topic I know,

but this thing below has been sold recently!


37 Million dollars....!!!

I'm just going to stick my head down the toilet.

Until next time................


Sunday, 10 February 2013

Life is good here.......

and punk rock is alive and well.

Today I had a "moment"

Walking from the hotel to one of the Aladdins caves a few doors down the road I realised that the only sound I could hear was my own footsteps.
Coming to a complete stop there was nothing more to hear other than the quietly lapping waters against the stones on the beach and the sound of a distant cockerel crowing.

Ooooo yess.....this is what it's all about!!!

There is no "background noise" here at all, no roads thundering away in the distance or a one hundred mile an hour train screaming past every ten minutes or so, this is back to how it should be. 

Well....fancy finding Billy Idol alive and well in a Stronsay field. Go on, tell me it doesn't look like him.


Until next time.................


Saturday, 9 February 2013

It's been a day of sweeping vistas,

and someone seems to have pulled the plug out

The light was good enough today to take a few snaps of the island with the old Box Brownie.

The wind has gone, there is a funny orange ball shaped thing in the sky (The locals seem to call this the "Sun") and all is well.

The sun is out, the sky is blue, there's not a cloud to spoil the view,........would you look at that, I'm breaking into song, I feel a smack around the head coming on in the near future. 

The tide did an absolute runner today..........

There was more exposed seaweed than there was island in some places.

Now, seriously, what can you say here?
Most tourists when they go abroad are treated just like sheep, hearded through the airport, penned up in a tube with wings and finally escaping onto the beaches.
This lot have got it made.

Ow...ear clip again. My singing is still totally unappreciated.

Until next time...................


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Ooooo.. We are being battered!!

And I don't mean in the fish and chip sense either.

Another ferry sailing was cancelled today...... but the next one battled it's way through this lot and our delivery of beer made it's way through and arrived shaken.... but not stirred. 

There are a few Fulmars along this stretch of beach, watching their skill and antics in the air as they skim the wave tops within inches and never ever touching them is something to behold.
Beholding them though is another matter with my little ole Kodak, they are just to the left of your screen right now.

Moody picture, moody picture..............The End Of The Line!

If I was Tracy whatsherface some gullable would probably pay a fortune for that.

Until next time............................


Saturday, 2 February 2013

What a difference a heater can make!

Especially when you turn it on.

Our main lifeline retuned to the island again today, this is the good old "Varagon" she is the largest of the three ferries that visit us, the other two being the "Earl Sigurd" and the "Earl Thorfin"
There is a service here on the island that is quite unbelievable and is still very difficult to come to terms with at the moment.
Coming from down south where everything is just too much trouble to do, or there is always a reason why something can't be done, to be able to ring your suppliers before 10:30 in the morning and have it delivered to your door that same day by ferry and a haulier is just a little bit mind blowing.

This road speaks for itself don't you think.......

Do you love this or what?

Across the way is "Papa Stronsay" an island that has a thriving colony of monks living there, they have this little boat that they pop across on and they do so in the most horrendous of weather............ Faith has no bounds.

The hotel we have taken over has been run into the ground (And that is putting it mildly) by the previous owners and it is going to take a lot of TLC to get it up and running properly again.
One of the main things in our favour at the moment is the fact that we actually turn the heaters on in the bar to make it a little bit cosy, this is something the locals haven't had for a few years now and it is now a major talking point.

I think we are going to be ok!

Until next time.......................


Friday, 1 February 2013

Another day ....

But not the same.

Here it comes, not the best photo but I'm sure you get the gist. ARGHHHHHHHH

This holds eight people...ummm.

I do have a few questions to answer so here we go,

As far as I know there are no other Bloggers here.

Us interlopers match the locals (Orcadians) at about 50/50 now and the heating is mostly electic storage with convectors.
Yes it is mainly farming with a few fishing boats in the mix. We have just hosted the NFU general meeting in the hotel tonight........... hence the late Blog!!
There are two shops on the island and both are like little Alladins caves but when you have to top up, Tesco is a two hour ferry ride away in Kirkwall (or eight minutes in that thing above)

One thing that is a bit odd is that there are four other people who used to live on narrowboats here on the island, how strange is that?

Until next time.......................