I am not really sure where the time goes up here – obviously it isn’t helped by our lovely picture windows looking down to the loch, and, indeed the windows to the right of us and windows to the left of us. Flocks of starlings keep whizzing by and making fabulous patterns in the sky. The lapwings are gathering, great flocks of rooks (can they be a parliament when they are on the ground ?) and geese. And more geese. And still more geese. The numbers that go up if a helicopter goes over have to seen to be believed .. and they are NOISY ! Mark was chatting to a local farmer and his wife the other day and they don’t remember there being so many before. And come April the majority of them will head north to their nesting grounds in – I think – Iceland or Greenland. Then we won’t see them again until they start to come back in their squadrons in late August.
Mark has had a lot of work to do with the John Rae Society of which he is a Trustee. It’s all starting to come together and they are about to appoint a Project Manager to oversee the renovations of the Hall of Clestrain which is really rather exciting. As you can see from the photograph if him with my daughter Vickie, in front of the hall, renovations are urgently needed ! It has recently been made wind-and-watertight thank goodness, which is a great start.
Interspersed with that have been meetings of the Orkney Archaeology Society … I opened my big mouth on that one and am now their Membership Secretary for my sins but I am sure it will be interesting. But hopefully not TOO interesting.
Some of you may have heard that we work with a friend called Bob to sell stamps on eBay for RNLI. Bob used to sort and sell the stamps but he was finding it a bit too much. So he was going to give it all up which would have been very sad (he had raised over £4,000 doing it). We had been asking bridge clubs to send us stamps and taking them to him, so we said that if he could sort them out and make up the lots we would do the selling. What Bob doesn’t know about stamps just isn’t worth knowing. So he gets stamps from all over the place, including from us, sorts them all out and we put them on eBay and sell them with all the profit going to RNLI. It’s a win-win situation and I am even starting to learn a bit about stamps – in fact I am probably learning more than I ever wanted to know ! Scanning and listing them takes up an hour or two at weekends but I really enjoy doing it – and some of them are really beautiful as well. He also got a job lot of old cameras at one time and we sold those too !
Strange though – the rather boring penny reds fetch a better price than these pretty things !
A big excitement here was the visit of James Martin who was extolling the virtues of the wonderful meat and seafood we get, and has caused our local vinegar maker to sell out completely by recommending it. If you want to watch it on catchup I am told it is at : https://www.itv.com/hub/james-martins-great-british-adventure/2a5543a0001
It was great fun watching it – Zoe Davidson who makes the most lovely silver jewellery here – was working at Orkney Fish at the time and had a starring role ! and this is the necklace Mark asked her to make especially for ME …
So – Orkney Craft Vinegar (when they get some new stock) is just fabulous. And I showcased it last night with home made fish fingers (haddock from Orkney Fish) floured, egged and panko breadcrumbed and gently and lovingly fried in butter, with mushy peas. Make a dent in the mushy peas. Add Orkney Vinegar. Realise it is so good you need it on the fish fingers as well. Didn’t bother to eat the rather boring frozen chips, didn’t need them ! And because it was Saturday night we had an apple crumble for pud. Yum.
The bridge world is still there though – lots of bits and pieces to do for that, well more than bits and pieces in reality, and that keeps me decidedly busy during the week. The final total raised for Children in Need this year was £75.258.46 which means a total raised over the years of £1,031,381.30 which amazes me every time I think about it.
In conjunction with the WBF we ran a Charity event in January raising funds to help children in the Yemen through UNICEF and that raised over £7,000 as well. Bridge players really are very very generous!
There’s been quite a lot of work for the Anti-Doping sector as well – yes even in bridge that raises its head, but think about the medications for ADHD and things like that and you will see why!
But I would hate hate hate not having enough to do … I LOVE being busy
So – despite this I have found a few minutes to update you – mainly with what I do at weekends ! Onward and upward as they say !