Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Orkney Part 2 - (Peedie Bits)

Well almost autumn now, there is a definite nip in the air morning and evening and the nights are beginning to close in. I'm consoling myself with memories of my week in Orkney and thought I'd share a few of them with you.

In Kirkwall...

Britain’s most northerly Cathedral

St Magnus Cathedral known as the 'Light in the North' was founded in 1137 by the Viking, Earl Rognvald, in honour of his uncle St Magnus.

The Earl's Palace

Built by Patrick Stewart, 2nd Earl of Orkney, one of the most tyrannical noblemen in Scottish history using forced labour to quarry and ship in the stone. 

The earlier Bishop's Palace.

 Both a little less than palatial now!

In Stromness where we stayed... boats in the harbour.

 At the Brough of Birsay an uninhabited tidal island off the north west coast of The Mainland of Orkney...

Flic exploring the remains of a Norse settlement.

Flic and her granddad exploring scarily high clifftops.

I hate heights and wouldn't go within 100 yards of the edge of the cliffs, just watching from a distance gave me the jitters!

And elsewhere in Orkney ...

One of the houses at Skara Brae.

Skara Brae is the best preserved group of prehistoric houses in Western Europe.

Uncovered by a storm in 1850, it is older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids and provides a remarkable picture of life around 5,000 years ago. 

The Ring of Brodgar.

The stone ring was built in a true circle, almost 104 metres wide. Although it is thought to have originally contained 60 megaliths, today, only 27 stones remain.

In Orkney "peedie" means "small" or "little" and I've only shown you a fraction of the places we visited, to be honest we visited far to many places to mention, hence the "peedie bits" in the title of this post. My memories of our holiday though will stay with me for a long time and are sure to cheer me up as the days grow shorter.

Linda xxx

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Orkney Odyssey - The Journey

Here I am to bore enthrall you with tales of our recent Orkney Adventure.

Once again we were lucky enough to be accompanied by middle daughter and our lovely granddaughter Felicity (Flic).

Although we live in the North of England the drive to Gills Bay for the ferry to Orkney is just over 400 miles and especially with a little one in tow, it is just not possible to drive the whole distance in one day and meet the ferry deadline.

So we set off early Friday morning, driving up to Jedburgh for a stop at the Tollhouse Cafe for breakfast. Then it was onwards and upwards for a lunchtime comfort break at Pitlochry before the final push to our overnight B & B at Netherton Farm just north of Inverness.

I can't recommend this B & B highly enough. The lady who owns the farm, Romay was so kind and helpful. We were greeted with a tour of her lovely home, then tea outside overlooking beautiful countryside. There were free range hens running about and beautiful old breed pigs for Flic to greet. We had an evening meal in the Culbokie Inn, a short stroll from the B & B, then back for some relaxation and reading before bed time.

The view at sunset from our bedroom window.

Next morning after a hearty breakfast, we set off for the last leg of the journey to the Ferry. We stopped a couple of times along the way including a very interesting visit to the Laidhay Croft Museum and the lovely little cafe next door for fantastic home made cake.

Onwards and upwards we climbed, right up to John O'Groats. I would like to be kind to John O'Groats, really I would, but truth to be told, if you had traveled there specifically, you might be left wondering if it was worth the effort. Despite new building work, most of the places are empty and there is a rather sad, dejected feeling about the whole place. We however were only there to pass a little time until we were due at the ferry terminal a few miles along the road.

Our ferry journey was on the Pentalina a purpose built catamaran. 

The MV Pentalina moored at St Margaret's Hope.

Whilst waiting for the ferry we were enthralled by a group of seals basking on nearby rocks.

Seals at Gill's Bay.

Then just before the ferry appeared there was a bit of a commotion with people looking out to sea and pointing. We trained the binoculars towards a black spot in the water and there was what looked like a shark! Once we were on the ferry itself one of the seasoned ferry workers told us that indeed it was a basking shark - Flic was so excited, not only had she seen real seals but also a shark!

After what did indeed seem like an epic journey we finally arrived in Orkney a mere 34 hours after leaving home!

To be continued...

Linda xxx

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Back From my Holidays & The All Things British Swap

Yup folks - I'm back!

I've been away sunning enjoying myself in Orkney, where a great time was had by all but...

I'm going to save the details for a later post. 

This is because before I went I took part in LaaLaa's "All Things British Swap".

My swap partner was Lisa from Kandipandi's Pad.

What a fabulous swap partner she was too, sending me a fantastic and very generous parcel of Britishness.

Before I even opened the parcel I was delighted by the quirky packing tape that Lisa had used.

Isn't it wonderful?

Inside the box were oodles of parcels all beautifully wrapped in the most fabulous Union Jack wrapping paper.

Love the wrapping paper.

It just so happened that my dear granddaughter Felicity was with me at the time, and now being five  and going into Year 1 after the holidays (as we are constantly reminded), she has been learning all about the Union Jack at school. The opening of the box was greeted with excited squeals of  "Wow it's the Union Jack nana, can I open them?" So of course she had to help.

Such concentration.

Oh what fabulous goodies were in those parcels!!!

And that's not all of it!

So many beautiful things, and many of them lovingly handmade, including a gorgeous beaded bracelet and earring set, a beautifully crafted Union Jack brooch and the most utterly fabulous - words cannot describe how lovely this is - sewing pouch. Lisa has photographed this so much better than I did, do pop over to her post about the swap and see her photographs of the pouch to really appreciate how wonderful it is.

There was also this "Made in England" tea towel.

And last but certainly not least was a fabulous Past Times Celtic Nightdress - this brought an absolute gasp of delight as I opened it. Drooling through Past Times catalogues this is something I have long coveted, it is gorgeous.

Photograph from Kandipandi's Pad

Felicity summed it up "Wow what a lot of presents you have got nana, you are very lucky."

And so I am - well and truly spoiled by my swap partner. Thank you Lisa.

Now what did I send Lisa?


I made the tea cosy, tea cup pincushion and Alice in Wonderland charm bracelet.

Alice in Wonderland charm bracelet.

Tea cup pin cushion.
Back soon with tales of Orkney.

Linda xxx
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