And the year moves on ...

My new shelves for cookbooks
My lovely utility room
Kevin and Badger
Vickie and Mark enjoying Orkney

Oh my it’s been a while since either of us wrote a blog –
shocking ! I think it must be something to do with the way the year is moving
on. Suddenly. January and February are very dreary months, with the occasional
interesting storm to liven things up, but the evenings are still long and dark
and although we had some lovely days, to be honest there weren’t that many of

 However, we had plenty to keep us occupied. We have, as most
of you will know, purchased a very splendid blue container, now named Kevin,
which serves a dual purpose – he provides shelter to Badger in the storms and has
stored our worldly goods for the past 18 months or so. Bear in mind we could
only live in half the house while the builders did their stuff getting the old
part of the house renovated and insulated and then we “moved” into that bit
while the relatively new part was also insulated and the extension built. So
the first two-three months of 2016 saw us starting to unbox all the exciting things we hadn’t
seen for so long.

 Except … you just can’t believe how much “stuff “ we brought
up that we find we neither want nor need ! Of course there were lots of things
we greeted with little cries of joy and tenderly moved to places within the
cottage. But OH BOY were there a lot of things that we looked at with amazement
and put hastily in the Charity Shop pile.

 We also hadn’t realised how many books and pictures we
possessed – the Old Railway Station was just SO much bigger than Mill Cottage.
So a lot of the books have gone to a new home in our award winning library
(they had a visit from JK Rowling a couple of weeks ago … she just dropped by
for tea and cake!), and at the moment the pictures still reside either in Kevin
or in the roof space that Mark had thoughtfully arranged to be created above the
new office.

 So with the unpacking and unboxing we have been kept busy –
and Mark has spent time doing the extra jobs like putting in some bookshelves
for my cookery books, putting up the pulley for the clothes airer, into the
extremely useful utility room, painting the wardrobe doors in the spare room
and a load of other bits and bobs.

 Watching the year gather momentum is an amazing experience –
the light changes constantly and the evenings are getting longer and longer –
seems faster since the Equinox somehow, and of course the clocks going forward
helps a lot. The cacophony of birds wakes us in the mornings – we have loads of
sparrows and starlings of course, fighting over the bird feeders and fat balls,
but overhead the curlew “wind themselves up”, the oyster catchers swoop across
shouting at each other, battalions of geese fly overheard and you can see
exactly where the farmers are busy either putting slurry on the fields or
ploughing by the following of gulls making the field look white as they search
for all the yummy bits being churned up. The Sea Eagles have returned to Hoy
and we are all hoping they manage to raise a chick this year. There are daily
postings on the Orkney Wildlife
page about incoming migrants and we have been blessed with many
nights of Aurora sightings, some just a green glow (but then you get the
amazing starscape to enjoy as well) and others with real dancers. We are so
fortunate that there is very little light pollution here. Well none really. So
a clear night is a real treat.

 Last week my daughter Vickie and her partner Mark came up
for a week, which was just wonderful ! We had been looking forward to it with
great excitement and weren’t disappointed. Vickie knows the Island but it was
Mark’s first visit – he ran the gamut of the weather from cold and very wet to
glorious sunshine, but as they both say they would love to come back I don’t
think we managed to put them off.

 And now we look forward to the visit of Mark’s son Oliver
and his wife Nicola who are flying up in early May.

 And now … having baked a loaf of linseed and sesame malt
bread, a dozen seeded rolls and 2 dozen Swedish cinnamon buns it’s time to cook
supper. More about our lives in due course !