Spring hasn’t exactly sprung but it’s definitely beginning to unfurl. This week I saw the first of the crocus appear adding welcome and cheery colour to a grim winter landscape. I love to see the first of the spring flowers appear. As Winter tails off it’s a timely reminder that once again warmth is coming if we can just.hold.on.
My friend went one better and saw the first daisy too! My goodness, it’s practically summer over here. Thank you Peedie Ruth for your photos.
With improved weather comes improved sunrises and sunsets. Over ten years of life in Orkney and I continue to find the scenery breathtaking and take non of it for granted. As I drive to work past the ancient Ring of Brodgar and see the skies ablaze with the sun, I wonder to myself what my ancestors would have made of such glorious sights with no understanding or knowledge. Would my 5000 year old grands have found such sights as breathtaking as I do?
What started as a series of personal challenges to mark my upcoming 50th birthday later this year, seems to have got stuck somewhere around the sea swimming stage. I have found such tremendous joy in this new activity that I have continued on and am swimming in the sea around 4 times a week now. ( It would be more if work didn’t get in the way of life. ) Whatever is on my mind is quickly forgotten as I enter the icy waters and focus on how exhilarating the cold water is. I used to think people who did this were completely mad. I still think that I’m just happy to be one of them. Here’s a wee film of me testing out a little underwater action camera that I picked up for under £25 the other day. Not bad!
Some spots are becoming familiar and I’m trying new places all the time. The beauty of Orkney is that there’s so many special places to swim. Yesterday we finally made it into Skipa Geo a bay that was once a safe haven for fishermen and it even has the indentations around the edge for the boats to be dragged up to, and an old stone fisherman’s hut for the hard-working men to seek shelter. As we swam, a friend was walking up the top of the windy bay and took some photos. Jacqui told me it was really windy up there but as you can see the bay is sheltered and the colours magnificent. Jaqui wants to join me in the water but she’s an exhibitionist and only wants to go in her bikini, so is biding her time. Roll on summer my dear and I will see you in there 😉
I’ve been swimming in a wetsuit since I started, and have been psyching myself up to swimming skins. Calm down everyone, it’s not skinny dipping, it’s wearing a swimming costume and not a wet suit. I’ve fully intended to do it, just starting in the summer. However, I forgot to rinse and dry my wetsuit stuff yesterday and decided that this morning, rather than faff about putting on a wet wetsuit, I might just as well take the plunge and go skins like many of the
insane and completely stupid hardy bunch that do so regularly. I was really nervous but nothing if not determined. I felt sick, but once I set my mind to something I HAVE to do it. So today I did my first skins dip in 6 degrees water and I absolutely loved it. I probably won’t go back to a wet suit now, it was so wonderful and a different sensation, liberating and less restrictive. So now I’m insane and completely stupid too. One thing I’ve found with joining this crew is what a wonderful group of non-judgemental and encouraging people Orkney Polar Bears are. Everyone goes at their own pace, wears what they want, swims how they want, and has a lot of fun. I have absolutely no regrets about doing this and the journal to book is coming along nicely. Thank you to everyone who has made me feel so welcome and showing me I can do hard things!
The long-suffering Orkney Beef has a new love. It’s called The Orkney Seafarer’s Centre and it’s a place for crew of the many liners that visit to come and relax, have a cup of tea, use wifi and contact their families back home, some of which they may not see for months. Set up by a group if Christians, in a temporary place a couple of summers ago it has finally moved to a more permanent and suitable place. Orkney Beef has thrown his heart and soul into painting, decorating and preparing the centre for opening and Josie and other volunteers have worked hard on setting up the charity shop in the same building. OB has devoted so much time to this in his time off, that I forgot what he looked like until I read an article about him in the local paper. I commented on how grey he was getting and his quick reply was that comes from 8 years with me. Either way, I still get butterflies when I see him and I’m so proud of his new endeavor. I’m heading over there now to take a look before opening day on Monday. I wish everyone involved every blessing on their new venture and a huge well done for an enormous amount of hard work that has gone in to setting this up.
Have a great week everyone. if you’re looking for me, I’m probably in the sea…..