Steve & Julie

Them four
The Italian Chapel

I can now reveal that the find made the other day was in fact a human arm bone from a young male. This was with a lot of animal bones and may be a foundation deposit, they are still excavating in this area so more may come to light.

Our next visitors were Steve and Julie who are good friends and were neighbours of ours. Julie is very interested in Archaeology and Steve is a keen photographer, although he doesn’t share his wife’s interest in the Neolithic ‘hard core’ as he calls the stone buildings.

The day they arrived, we picked them up from the airport at Kirkwall in the late afternoon. My contacts at the Ness of Brodgar dig had told me that there was going to be a little party held by the BBC for all the volunteers, so pushing the boundaries of the invite a little all four of us turned up at the dig for drinkies and nibbles. Neil Oliver was there, as they were spending several weeks filming a new series with him, Anna had a great chat to him.

They stayed with us for a week and had mainly good weather, Julie enjoyed her visit to the dig at the Ness of Brodgar on one of the days that I was volunteering. I particularly wanted Steve to see the Churchill barriers and the Italian chapel in good weather and so when the low cloud came down and obscured everything we decided to give up and postpone the visit for the next day.

The next morning we woke to more of the same fog and I could see Steve and Julie were disappointed as they were near the end of their time on Orkney. For those of you who don’t know, the weather on Orkney can be very changeable, ‘four seasons in one day’ is often quoted. If you are on holiday here, don’t waste a good day, nor give up if in the morning the weather does not look so good. In fact the weather can vary considerably over the island despite how small a land mass it is. I have been at the Ness and seen storms all around me but the Ness itself has been clear and sunny, so don’t give up! So following my own advice I Facebook messengered our friends who live on the Southern Isles of Burray, my first attempt was not successful as they were on holiday in Southampton and so did not know what the weather was like in Southern Orkney! Eventually Claire replied and told me that the weather was clear and sunny, a result! So I bundled everyone in the car as this weather could change and we had a three quarter of an hour’s drive. I don’t think that Steve was totally convinced that the conditions would be suitable for taking photos as we left in thick fog.

He needn’t have worried and we stopped several times at the various Churchill barriers (there are four of them) to take photos. We had a great time at the Italian chapel having got there before a coach turned up so it was peaceful for us. The Chapel now charges £3 admission whereas before it was free, but in the summer it got swamped with visitors and there was some thefts from it and so extra security had to be put in place and this has to be paid for, sometimes it seems a sad world.

Steve and Julie love walking so a couple of times we dropped them off and arranged to pick them up at a different location at a set time, Steve took some great photos whilst he was here and they thought that would like to return in the winter to experience the storms! 

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