Every midsummer Orkney hosts the St Magnus Festival, a celebration of the arts. The idea came together around the kitchen table of Archie Bevan, along with author George Mackay Brown and composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davis. The idea was to make music, literature, dance, drama and other arts available to the people of Orkney. Since its small beginnings in 1977 it now see musicians from around the world as well as hosting events and workshops in various venues around Orkney.
This week I was lucky enough to hear the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The sound was incredible and so enjoy able to watch live too, I loved it. Once that was finished we had to hot foot it to another venue, The St Magnus Cathedral to hear Voces8, a vocal ensemble. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I can honestly say it was one of the best things I have heard in a long time. The Cathedral was the perfect setting, with wonderful acoustics. From the first note sung I had goosebumps and at times was moved to tears by their performance. It really was exquisite and I’m so glad I went along to something really different; they did not disappoint.
As far as phones in performances go I think I would have been mortified unto death if my phone went off during a performance, so like all responsible audience members I only switched it on to take a photo as they took a bow at the end.
This quirky street performance, I presume was also part of the St Magnus Festival. As I walked down the street in my lunch break on Saturday I thought I could hear a pigeon. It turned out the sound was coming from the man’s bag and the act remained in character the whole time. I wasn’t able to stop and see what it was all about but it’s not something you see every day so worth a pic.
Orkney Beef and his friend cycled 108 miles on Saturday. I didn’t wave him off at 5.30am but was there to meet them on their return. They were raising money for The Fishermen’s Mission and had a brilliant day with ideal weather, good conversation, loads of pictures and a free meals thanks to people who wanted to help. I wondered if Orkney Beef would be able to walk at all today but apart from a little sunburn on his arms he is fine. Considering he was in multiple organ failure and not expected to survive in March last year it was moving to see his recovery and efforts in such a way. Congratulations to them both. (full story on Orkney Beef’s amazing recovery can be found here)
As we were leaving the pier at 10.15pm I noticed the great colours of the sky and took a photo. 5 minutes later the whole place was shrouded in mist, which you can see at the top of the picture.
We spent the afternoon at the home of an elderly former farmer. He showed us round the garden first and I came away with plenty of plants to relocate to my garden. He has lived in this home for 70 years and has slept in the same bed his entire life. This is not uncommon with this generation in Orkney but I found it unusual when I first moved here. However I love to hear the stories of the older generation and see the older furniture that carry with them such history. He’s a lovely kind man and we really enjoyed his company. I snapped this tattie picker while he was showing us round. He thought I was photographing a piece of scrap but I love to think of the years work it’s seen and done.
‘I own all these buttercups’ he told me as we surveyed the beautiful countryside in the sunshine. The weather has changed to mist and rain again tonight but here’s hoping the sun will shine again this coming week.
One final picture. I own these buttercups. Not quite as many but bonnie never the less.
Further pictures of midsummer skies can be found here