I have a recurring (awake) nightmare. It’s the kind of nightmare that Orkney Beef secretly wishes will come true – that I’ll run out of things to say. It could well be on everyone’s wish list to be honest but this documenting of my life seems to show me that it’s never going to happen. As Sunday evening rolls around I end up discovering the problem is not running out of things to say but knowing when to stop. Between work and leaving the house at stupid o clock for gym and swim, I seem to have managed an enormous amount of socializing this week. Looking back on my week’s photos I’m a little heavy on the group photos. But as this week marks the ten year anniversary of my move to Orkney it’s also a healthy sign that I liked it enough to stay and build a life here and make fabulous friends. Here’s just a tiny cross-section of some of them I’ve been with this week.. Awww guys!
I’m a big fan of old, empty church buildings and seeing the beautiful architecture, windows and work and dedication that goes on inside. I especially love to think about the days gone by when they would have been full of people lined up on the narrow pews. Disused churches are full of stories where people came to worship, marry, celebrate the life of a newborn and mourn their dead in the never-ending circle of life. From my sitting room window, I can see one such church no longer in use but for the very occasional wedding or funeral.
It has no electricity, running water or even a toilet. There is no space for such things it is so full of memories. The church is faithfully cleaned and opened daily by a local lady so that others can visit and appreciate it or visit the graves of ancestors. It still needs maintaining and with no congregation and collection, revenue has to come from other sources. Champing is ‘the simple concept of camping in ancient churches’
Before I go on I want to address something. A few months ago I saw an argument blow up on social media about champing. Someone had posted an image and spoken about champing and there were those who agreed and those who vehemently disagreed. The disagreement was mainly on the bounds of it being disrespectful and people ‘traipsing all over graves’ etc etc. I like to think that in the main we are civilised society and those who have gone to the effort of researching places to ‘champ’ and paid the (not cheap in my opinion) price to do so are going to be nothing but respectful of the place they have chosen to spend the night. Such was the case when my friends told me they were coming to champ at my local unused church for a night. I had been really interested in this since I heard about it and went to visit them in the evening they were there. It was all beautifully done and there were cosy camp beds set up and (battery) candles and lanterns. It was all very atmospheric and there were lots of laughs in the conversation, catching up on each others news and trying to organise a ‘from the pulpit’ selfie. Admittedly it’s a little grainy as we had to use a flash and a selfie stick. As my friend said ‘you may need some divine intervention to make this one look ok’ Judge for yourselves.
Champing has been bringing in some much-needed revenue for maintaining these beautiful ancient buildings and we have further bookings this week. To those who may have concerns, I can assure you that every champer we’ve had in our local building has been extremely respectful of their environment. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. It’s as far removed from music festivals as is possible to be, I promise.
The church we attend regularly saw a very happy wedding yesterday. Two of our congregation married and we were all super excited to see the event. Orkney Beef and I were married at the same place almost seven years ago and as we saw this lovely couple exchange vows it brought back special memories of the day we locked the ball and chain on to Orkney Beef’s ankle.
It was smiles all day and a really lovely ceremony. Another beautiful bride and groom and I send them every congratulations.
As is fairly traditional in Orkney the first half of the evening is ceilidh dancing followed by a ‘second supper’ and ‘pop’ dancing as MyFriendFiona called it. Here she is pop dancing to the fantastic Stereo Lobsters. It’s the most heartwarming photo as she has been very unwell since Christmas and on chemo. She is an absolute inspiration and I really don’t say this lightly. She had more energy and vigor than the rest of us and looked absolutely amazing as always. We love you Fiona.
A shout out to Rachel who I met last night. ‘You write a blog don’t you?’ She said. I’m always slightly humbled when complete strangers stop me and say they read and enjoy the blog, especially when they don’t even live in Orkney. Such was the case last night. It was great to meet you and thank you for reading.
Have a great week everyone. I hope it’s filled with friendship and laughter.