Well as promised (threatened) here is our second blog. It is a little later than planned due to an interupted internet service, but we are back online and can contact the outside world again!
You can’t really talk about Orkney without talking about the weather. Folk here are obsessed with it and I guess I am too.
Before our move to Orkney we were “encouraged” in our adventure with helpful comments like “Oh lovey, midge hell in the summer” and another which convinced us we were moving into the arctic tundra like region of Europe. Even more disconcerting was the regulary floated mantra from the locals of “if you can survive the winter, you will probably stay for good.” “survive!” (We have to be honest and say that, as a result, that first winter we stocked up as though World War III was going to start. We are still wading through tinned stuff seven years later.)
None of these statements really acurately reflects the reality of Orkney weather. The most common greeting is: “Whit like? No bad day the day” which is a pretty non committal statement advertising that it could be better and it could be worse. That pretty much sums up Orkney’s weather.
As we begin October we have been blessed with bright sunny days, a few brisk winds and some bonus flat calm days (midge free). The first weekend in October saw us walking the Rackwick Glen followed by a picnic and games on the beach in tee-shirts and shorts. Some body boarders were also taking advantage of the beautiful day.
Some unidentified skilled artist had carved this into a large rock. It was a nice treat to find, so a thank you if the artist ever reads this.
So that we are not accused of pulling the wool over our prospective guests eyes, this was preceeded a few days earlier by a boat-stopping, school-closing, eye watering gale. I (Sandra) am perhaps a little unusual because I actually love the gales and the storms. The raw power of nature thrills me. I love that man is rendered a little less in charge. The roar of the sea is immense. The crashing waves on the shore and the spray are breathakingly beautiful. I love that our 200 plus year old stone built house stands solid in defiance, keeping us snug and warm. I also love the post storm smell and the crystal clear air as though the earth has been freshly laundered and the softness as the sea reverts back to it’s rhythmic lapping. The horizontal rain I maybe could pass on but you’ve gotta take the rough with the smooth I guess.
Autumn is special to me because of the incredible amount of vivid rainbows that occur at this time. As a longtime admirer of rainbows anyway, I find it just magical. I’m told that the frequency and vivacity is due to our 58.8 degrees north position and something to do with angles and refraction. I like to think that it’s because God decided to cram as much beauty as possible into a single part of the world. We are so very very blessed - even with the horizontal rain.
As I write this, my thoughts and prayers go out to those people whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Matthew. I am deeply humbled.