Posted by Anna on Thursday, 19 May 2016
Reading Mark’s latest blogs makes me realise just how behind we are with what we are doing here ! There has been no mention of the visit of my elder daughter Vickie and “her” Mark who came up just after Easter. This was, I fear, a case of Falling Between Two Stools, as I thought Mark was going to write about it and he thought I was !!
Mark (that’s Vickie’s one) is particularly interested in the World War stuff that you get up here, so soon after they arrived, having braved the long drive, we had arranged for a guided tour for them with a John Rae Society colleague, Norman Shearer, who is also a tour guide. He showed them a lot of the sites – mostly from the car as it turned out to be a cold, wet and windy day. However they did go to HMS Tern, which was actually a naval airfield, and went round the control tower (and got very very wet and cold). They thoroughly enjoyed themselves with Norman, despite the weather’s best efforts, and whenever we drove out thereafter were able to educate us, as this is part of the Island’s history that we know little about. You will be glad to know that a nice hot bath sorted a very chilled Vickie out when they got back !
As Mark hadn’t been here before – Vickie has been up several times – we wanted to be sure he got a good flavour of what was on offer and luckily the weather cleared the next day and we had some love sunshine. We took them around the major sites, trying to pick the best things for them to see and enjoy because they were only here for a week – so it was Skara Brae, Brodgar, Stenness, Barnhouse for the true essence of the Neolithic in the heart of Orkney, then the Barriers and the Italian Chapel for some more World War experiences. Mark and Mark enjoyed a visit to the Museum in Kirkwall while Vickie and I thoroughly enjoyed the local shops – how lovely it is to have really truly local shops and not the big multi-nationals!
Vickie had asked me to see if I could get a book on Shetland Families 1800 – 1900 … quite an obscure little gem … and I wandered into the Kirkwall Library to see if perchance the had a copy. Yes indeed, no problem was the answer and the manager just went straight to it and handed it to me. Just goes to show how good real librarians are. And here we have the best as our library is award winning !!
Why should she want such a thing ? well she is doing some family research and a prominent family member was a Shetlander. The book led to the discovery that he had a sister which was new information and enabled another bit to be added to the family tree.
We were really pleased that they enjoyed their trip – Vickie had been dreading the drive but in the end hadn’t found it onerous at all, and had enjoyed the different areas of the country they passed through, and they hope to come back again, maybe even this summer. They would, of course, be very welcome! We certainly won’t be seeing my other daughter as she and “her” Mark (why couldn’t she have found herself a husband with a different name ?) have bought a motor home, taken a 3 month sabbatical and are wandering around Europe with their son, Sam, before he starts school in September. Judging by the pictures they are sending back they are having a grand time !