This blog is being written as I lay in the recovery position in a darkened room following a successful orchestration of a tradition harvest home in my local Old School Hall. I’m so tired I can barely string a sentence together and that’s blinkin’ saying something. It was a brilliant night but in order for it to be a success, it has to be run like a military operation. Harvest homes take place all over Orkney and are a huge celebration of the harvest that’s in for the year. It involves preparing vast amounts of food which is where I came in. I’d gone to a committee meeting where the menu and ‘who does what’ seemed to run on for six days. I was in awe of the organization and execution of such an event and was happy to be told what to do by the men and women who had been doing it for years. Tanker loads of clapshot (neep and tattie) mince and haggis was prepared and served followed by enough trifle to feed Napoleon’s Grande Armée. Shortbread, tablet, tea and coffee was all served then everything packed away ready for the dancing. Once all the plates had been washed and the kitchen tidied it was about time to start preparing the second supper. I’d never heard of a second supper until I came to Orkney but it’s exactly as I describe. Basically more food of gigantic proportions served at a time when quite frankly we should all be at home in bed!
Of course no event happens in Orkney without a raffle. It felt like we sold about 4000 when it came to ripping them up. Such a British tradition and not without some laughs along the way.
And of course the party goers reached the stage where they all prop each other up, sing with arms swaying and love every body.
An exhausting but brilliant night had by all. Thank you for coming and thanks for the good fun in the kitchen committee team. 🙂
The temperature in Orkney has significantly dropped this week. So much so I treated my car to four new winter tyres. It’s worth it for peace of mind for me as I do a lot of driving for work and am out early for swimming. An added bonus is that I’m around to see the sun rise and Orkney never disappoints with those as I’ve often said.
If you’re in Orkney then I would urge you to go to The Old Library and see the Eileen Sclater exhibition ‘FULL CIRCLE’ I went along in my lunch break one day and was blown away by her enormous talent. Some of my favourites below. I would embarrass myself trying to critique work as I have no knowledge or understand of art work in any clever sense other than to say I loved it, and I liked how it made me feel. I hope that’s ok Eileen?
I happen to know the artist and can therefore confirm she’s been extremely modest in the time I’ve known her. Fabulous stuff Eileen and big congratualtions on your exhibition.
I’ve been complaining lately that I’m so incredibly busy I might totally lose it. I’ve been juggling so many balls I just didn’t know which ones to throw, which ones to catch and which ones to drop on the ground. Then I realise most of it’s my own doing because here are so many good things I want to go to. Orkney is hosting a book festival this weekend and there were two writing classes I just couldn’t resist in spite of being close to snapping point with busyness. Anyway I’m glad I squeezed them in as they were both brilliant. One was called ‘Aspects of Fiction’ by Robert Alan Jamieson which was a really interesting talk and discussion looking at how some of the literary greats plan their work. A really pleasurable and helpful 2 hours. The other was a ‘Life Writing’ workshop with Amy Liptrot author of the international best seller The Outrun. This was one I really didn’t want to miss and Amy and I took a boat ride to Shapinsay for the morning on Saturday. It was really good for me to take time out and have a chance to write in different styles and with different approaches. Thanks to Amy for coming out to do this and thank you to the GMB Fellowship for enabling me to go. It really was very worthwhile.
So at the end of an exceptionally busy week I have booked a week off coming soon when the answer is a polite no to every invitation, and this week is looking a little less manic mercifully.
And finally. The St. Magnus Cathedral was lit up red last night for Remembrance Day. Thanks to Craig Taylor for the use of his photo.
We Will Remember Them.