Posted by Mark on Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Our good friend Steve arrived to stay for a few days. He came across on the Gills Bay ferry at about 18:30 as the timing worked for him,this meant that he had to navigate and drive almost the full length of the islands to reach us ( about an hour ) , passing many of the iconic views in Orkney. However because it was very dark he saw nothing and must have thought we were living in the back of beyond!
Over a lovely meal of hot smoked Salmon Kedgeree and a bottle of wine we all chatted and caught up on some of the news.
The next day I had an early start as Ross from RJS Joinery was turning up to rebuild our porch, we let Steve have a bit of a lie in but this was broken by the sounds of the porch being demolished! Still it was going to be a clear day ( hence the builder ) and we wanted to start to show Steve around. So after breakfast Steve helped us hang out the washing in a pretty stiff wind and then we gave him a tour of the estate. He certainly seemed impressed with the place, either that or he was being very kind!
We then headed off to Skara Brae ( see photo ) and then a quick bite to eat at the Standing Stones Hotel where Steve was introduced to ‘Scapa Special’ beer which he approved of. We were then booked into Maes Howe for a tour, plus a possibility of seeing the mid-winter effect ( web cam ), where the suns rays come through the entrance and up the wall to light up the end chamber. The clouds prevented the full effect to be seen but the beginning of the display did happen.
That evening we were booked in for ‘Bingo with the Brownies’ in Burray with our good friends there, so to kill a bit of time we took Steve into Kirkwall to show him some of the sights and to get a cup of coffee and a home bake before we headed off to Burray ( about a half hour drive over the barriers ). Again it was dark by this time so Steve didn’t see much of the journey and we have promised to show him tomorrow in daylight.
The Bingo went well and we had a lot of fun. Only Anna out of us, won some chocolates and then it came time for the ‘raffle of many prizes’, there seemed to be hundreds of prizes and we didn’t win a single one! That is until the very end when the final raffle was for the nine foot fully decorated Scots Pine Christmas tree in the village hall. Guess who won? Steve had the winning ticket! Obviously getting this home to Suffolk would pose a bit of a problem! So Steve decided to donate the tree and all it’s decorations to the local children’s home.
Some of the kids were there in the hall and the look on their faces that now they would have a Christmas tree was a delight and there was a real feeling of the festive spirit. We all had a lump in our throats when the kids came up to thank Steve. We got an email the next day and the kids apparently are still smiling and talking about their Christmas tree.
Merry Christmas everyone!