Friday, 26 December 2008

Orkney at Christmas

I've been enjoying listening to Radio Orkney again since I've been home. I've missed it, I have to admit. There can't be many radio stations which have a regular spot for lost and "fund" (found) cats!!

Radio Orkney also has a regular spot in the run up to Christmas where they try to reunite Christmas cards with their owners. I don't suppose there are that many Royal Mail sorting offices which have dedicated and caring enough staff to bother with that! What hapens is someone from the sorting office will be interviewed by a Radio Orkney reporter and they describe all the cards they have not been able to deliver - and usually tell all the places they've tried without success too. It can be something like "This one is addressed to 'Auntie Jean, the House above the Bay, Orkney' and we've not found an owner for it yet". Or "This one is addressed to the Mansons at Hoymansquoy in Stromness but they've moved from there and we haven't been able to find out their new address". People then phone in if they think they know who it is - and amazingly almost every card finds its righful owner this way.

Christmas Day was a lovely day - the best weather we've had since I got back - by quite a long way! We spent a lot of the morning down on the beach (photos of the seals will follow, as will many other photos taken over the past 2 days, be prepared ...) then didn't have time for a proper lunch as we'd lost track of the time and had to dash off to catch the start of the Ba. The Uppies won both Boys' and Mens' Bas - for once the Boys' ba was longer than the Mens' - it took about an hour longer and we had the strange experience of the men's ba stuck on Victoria Street when the boys' ba went past at some speed - confusing several of the men who raced off after it as the crowd yelled at them to tell them it was the boys ba which had gone past. We also had the strange experience of seeing the sunset after the Ba had finished - that must surely be one of the quickest Ba games I've seen.

Today we went in to Scapa beach to watch the "Dip wi' a Nip" in aid of CLIC Sargent. 180 people (ranging in age from 3 to 68) took to the water. I don't know yet how much was raised - but it'll be several thousands I would think. It was a colder day than yesterday - with a definite edge to the breeze - but still dry and the sun was out a bit. I didn't envy the dippers though - some of them looked very cold even before they had got into the water. The water temperature in Orkney is fairly constant all year round - but the wind chill was definitely a factor today. There was a huge crowd of spectators there too, all wondering whether the 180 participants were brave or mad.

Photos of the seals, both Bas and the Dip with a Nip will follow soon. The nip was, of course, Highland Park, who sponsored the event, along with the Scottish Co-op who provided food for the dippers.

No comments: