Posted by Mark on Monday, 25 January 2016
Christmas day morning and we both went to the men’s Ba in Kirkwall we met up with some friends as you do. The day was fine but several hours of standing around does mean that you get very cold and we did ‘wimp out’ and left before the end as our Christmas turkey was calling us!
The Christmas holiday period we had set aside for starting to get the new house straight and to start unpacking our things for the third time! Even as I write this, at the end of January, we still have a long way to go but we have decided to take things easy and to think carefully about what goes where. The new house with its blank white walls and ceilings does look very modern if a little stark, but we are having fun slowly deciding where things should go. The new office is coming along and it is a real treat working from it, having a proper office after over a year, although we keep getting distracted by the bird life that is visible from the large window behind our screens. No only are there huge flocks of birds of varying sorts that settle on the loch along with the swans and the seals, we also have a pair of Hen Harriers who visit us every day as well as a heron and a pheasant and some other raptors of an indeterminate nature ( we are not true birdies just love watching the wildlife )
Throughout the main area of the house we have a lovely heated tiled floor but I have discovered that it is not very mobile phone friendly. Now although throughout my mobile phone owing life which started with one of the original ‘brick phones’ I admit that I have on occasions dropped the handset although I have never broken one, until now that is! The phone landed face down on the solid floor and the ‘unbreakable’ gorilla glass forgot for a moment who it was and cracked. Now in theory the crack was not too bad but on closer examination the cracks were right across the now non-working ‘home’ and back buttons. This meant that although the phone still worked, every time that I wanted to go from one app to another I had to reboot the phone! After a lot of soul searching I decided to upgrade to a new Windows 10 phone, which means according to a friend who sells phones in Orkney that Anna and I are still the only Windows Phone owners on the Island! It’s nice to be unique!
After Christmas our good friend Steve came to visit to see the New Year Ba which turned out to be an excellent day as there was lots of action and it finished at about 3:30 before the light went. We had a great day following the pack and at times dodging out of the way! Steve and Anna took some great photos and Steve did a rather clever video of the day. Later during Steve’s stay we heard that some whales had been see down in Burray, so Steve and I went to see if we could see them. When we got there it was obvious something was going on as there were loads of gannets all diving a little of the shore, this happens when there is a large shoal of fish. It was this shoal that was attracting the whales, we first saw a couple of Minke whales and then a little later a couple of humpback whales put on a display for us. Steve got a couple of pictures but it was quite tricky to get a decent photo so we decided to just watch the display instead. A couple of evenings before Steve had seen the Northern lights dancing out the back of our garden, so he had an eventful and successful stay. Although the house is now ready for visitors and you are all ( well almost all : ) ) most welcome we cannot promise Northern Lights and Whales every time, after all you have to leave time for the Puffins!