Sunday, 20 February 2011

A pair of stolen steal a bucket of shell sand.

A pair of stolen wellies, on a mission for a bucket of sand.
I'd wibble on about the weather again, but I fear you'd all fall asleep as soon as you open the page. Another weekend of dreadful weather and a week ahead forecast with gales and rain. Deep joy. Lets just leave it at, February is not a kind month in my garden. The only poor soul out there flowering in my garden is the beloved common daisy, Bellis perennis. What a very cheery sight of things to come. But, I'm afraid that is it. I know I've got moss there too, in this climate, moss gives the rain something to do. If I lost the moss in the lawn I fear it would just sink. Thank goodness for wellies, I say, what on earth would I do in this climate without mine. Which is why I was reminded of the stolen wellies......... which aren't infact actually mine.

Bellis perennis the beautiful common daisy and first to flower this year in my garden!
Ok, with the weather being bad, I've alot of time to reflect on life. Now, getting back to the stolen wellies I've not normally got too many criminal tendancies. I've one of those faces which is instantly noticed if I'm guilty of a crime. However, on occassion, I appear to find myself a victim of my own circumstances. Honest. The sand, I'm afraid we did indeed steal - the wellies are more of a doubtful shift of location from the North of England to the far Northern Isles. I happenned to borrow the wellies from my closest friend and almost sister in North Lincoln. I may have accidentally kidnapped those wellies to the far north when I left her home at Xmas. Whoops, I am, in real life, a wellie-napper.

Thus far the stolen wellingtons are not too put out, they are working well and no one at their original home had actually missed them. Wellies are odd creatures, often left alone when outgrown, never to see the light of day, it's probably a terrible crime. They live a long tedious, boring life, unless rescued by a wellington requiring relative, with exactly the right size feet. I was this relative. They fit like a glove and rather than stealing them, I'm happy I've set them free from a life of boredom, in the boot room in North Lincoln. They now happily gad about the Orkney Isles with chickens, children and today we took them to the beach, perhaps for the first time.

The whale bone, Birsay - this is where we were headed to.
Anyway I can't get on with anything 'out there' in the garden, so I thought why not a nice walk. Today proved to be just as windy as yesterday (upto 50 MPH) but not raining. Perfect walking weather in this house. Right clothes on we departed, for once, before lunch for a lovely blustery walk - along the cliffs at Birsay toward a bit of local art/history called 'The Whale Bone'. Good for a blustery walk to clear away the cobwebs and its also a good place with a very good shell-sand beach to gather/borrow/steal a bit of that for the chickens. It's a grand walk for a girl, a dearest beloved, a young daughter and a very hairy dog (who doesn't like the wind!). We set off togged up in our lovely winter clothes and braced ourselves for a very cold but invigorating adventure.

Benches sunk into the hill side as a windbreak, perfect. Local stone looks great.
Decorative and wind proof!
As you tumble out of your car, the first sight that greets you here are the benches set about for picnics made from local stone - there are three of these and they do give a good level of shelter from the wind. Great idea in this weather. The local stone is teeming with lichens and mosses - whom appear to grow quite happily oblivious of the weather. Our walk isn't a long one, takes about half an hour each way - but it's fun to walk along the coast and watch the weather. We saw seals, black gilliemots (not a penguin, like some of my family thought.....), gulls and large flocks of starlings, all defying the weather like us, out and about for a bit of fresh air.
Peedie up ahead, guarding the way incase of any danger......
I love walking here, it's a real treat to get out and look at the coast line. Whilst Peedie is not great in the wind, he appreciates the shelter the stone dyke gives him! Often he forgets we are with him, until he takes a look around to make sure we are still there..........

Looking back from Peedie's perspective.
The coast line around here is breathtaking, I love walking around it. Whilst I am not a fan of blustery weather when it continues to keep me out of the garden, I do like walking in it and watching the waves. I'm also on the look out for wild flowers as the ground here is very beautiful in the summer. For now the only thing that I can see getting ready to bloom is the Lesser Celandines, but even they aren't out yet. 

Trying to get going in Feburary................the celandine!
Further up around the coast we find more benches - but, um, as you can see they take them in during the winter and put them back in the summer. I guess it saves them being damaged in the storms and makes them last longer? All that you can sit on right now is the concrete pad they are bolted on to............
View back to the Brough of Birsay, cemented bench foundations - no bench!
And here we are - we've reached the whale bone! I love to have our picture taken here, we have pictures of the children from 2001 when we first moved up to Orkney. My daughter was 4 and my son was 6 when we arrived on the islands - always fun to have a look at the photos of us sitting here on various trips!
The Whale bone, Birsay, Orkney
Beautifully covered in lichens - plants do really get everywhere!
Once we'd had a sit and played with the dog - we decided it was time to walk back, head for the beach and get our conterfeit sand.
Peedie having a play in the wind battered grass.

The beach before the crossing to the small island infront - the Brough of Birsay

Beautiful, waves crashing but very cold!
I like this place in the summer too as there are alot of lovely bits of beach to play around on - the coast line is rugged and I enjoy the wild flowers too. Todays mission however, in the stolen wellies was to find a bucket of shell sand for the hens to have in their apartments to keep them a good supply of grit. Being surrounded by coastline and beaches it did feel a bit silly going into the local hardware store and buying 'imported' shell grit for them. They prefer to have local stuff, honest! The hens prefer to have a low-carbon claw print.

It's only a peedie bucket, honest. The hens will appreciate how local it was.

Here is the scene of the crime, I fear I've not ruined a beautiful landscape too much with my meagre hen fuelled extraction?
All wellies are addicted to sea water, fact! I had to do it, its only fair to them.

Peedie deciding that despite the lovely view, the wind was too much and it was time to go home!
Happy that we'd got out and had some air, did a bit of a mission for the hens and got the stolen, unloved, forgotten, poor wellies out for a walk (and a dip in the sea!) - it was time for home. Now, don't despair, having found out I'd kidnapped/stolen/set free these wellingtons from a life of boredom elsewhere, I did confess. My lovely 'sister' admitted that the young child they previously belonged to had outgrown them. They were indeed unloved, neglected and unwanted size 4 wellies, which I was very welcome to rehome. There you go, not really stolen, merely unwittingly recycled!

In the car on the way home, we continued our - can we really eat local stuff debate. On happenning upon the local shop we popped in and found local bread, biscuits, flour, oatmeal, butter, cheese, fish, meat, haggis (!), wine, beer, a few veggies. We left the shop talking about what we'd miss/need to get from elsewhere if we do indeed try to eat local/seaonal like they did in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  Whilst there is alot of talking, no ones saying 'No you insane woman, no!' - which I'm taking as the green light to find out more about what we might be able to do.

A walk in a force 6-8 gales does do you good clearly, it empties the mind and lets you all blether. Perfect, especially in recycled/borrowed/stolen wellies!


  1. Lovely place to go for a walk in your liberated wellies :)

  2. Fay you and your wellies gave me a good laugh! You live in such a beautiful place. Will even rosemary not grow for you in winter?

  3. Dreamer it is indeed a lovely walk :) liberated indeed!

    Mrs bok - in some gardens here it does survive (Rosemary) but not a hope here too wet and too exposed - a combo that herb does not like!! When i get shelter i may try it in a pot which i can wrap up. Thank you for looking - we do live in a gorgeous place so I shouldn't moan about the weather......!!

  4. Fay - I really enjoyed the walk with you today! Like a breath of fresh air on a really hot (35 deg.C) humid day here. Learning a little about the islands interesting too. cheers Wendy

  5. Wow - gorgeous lighting and pics. Really enjoyed the tour. The whale bone is amazing all gnarled and lichened.

  6. Just discovered your blog - what a fun post! You clearly owed it to the wellies to liberate them. Well done. I'm actually reading a book on wind called, erm, "Wind," by Jan DeBlieu - she sounds like a kindred spirit of yours, at least where walking in gales is concerned!

  7. Stunning walk, I feel wind-blown. Love those stone benches. I'm sure the wellies are having a much more active and adventurous time with you that they ever had in Lincoln, but I think you need to watch your criminal tendencies ;-) Good luck with project "eat local and seasonal". I need to find a way to grow coriander successfully in large quantities year round to be able to get close.

  8. lovely day, i too love those benches .......better not tell mr squirrel!

  9. Hi Fay,
    You've done a great job of promoting Orkney.It looks fabulous.I've not been anywhere today but at the same time,I've just been on a windy wild walk on Orkney and I loved it.

  10. Duchess - how hot??????????? It gets to a balmy scorching almost 20 degrees here in summer - glad you cooled down on my walk!

    Julie - glad you've enjoyed it - coastline quite like yours I would think!

    Hey there squirrel - they are fine benches indeed and so pretty!

    Janet - thanks - coriander freezes well - can you compromise by growing a lot and freezing alot - makes a great paste too if you want it minced and stored. I prefer it frozen whole in bunches then squished as needed! Glad you enjoyed the walk.

  11. nice to see you stacy! The kids are well versed in walking in winds the worst/best we've walked in is about 70 mph - glad you popped over - looked up that book today - looks like a good read!

    Jane the whalebone made me wonder how on earth it got there and exactly HOW many little planty thing grew on it - wonderfully old and great to peer at for a while!

    Thank you for the nice chat on here!!

  12. Oh, I did a bit more looking into local eating again today - the main thing we 'cant' get will be fruit

    Not many of them their fruit trees here I'm afraid. I'm wondering about having an orchard (fruit and nut) in a polytunnel..............!??

  13. Loved your tour of the coastline. I must must must get to Orkney. Daughter was due to visit last Easter with the school, but the weather was so atrocious that the trip was cancelled.
    There's nothing better than a perfect fitting pair of wellies. Tho I see your feet are much more delicate than mine - half the size to be exact!

  14. Funny isn't it? You miss snowdrops and crocuses but what I wouldn't give for a walk along a Scottish shore being battered by wind and spray. Going up to Cleveland in a few weeks to do some walking and consider that pretty far north. Doesn't really register on the northometer though compared to where you are!

  15. Linda - its worth the trek - honestly - and I do have very small feet! Thank you for popping past.

    David, it is funny isn't it - I miss trees and things like snowdrops and crocuses - the beach and the coast I have to say I appreciate but probably take for granted, well reminded! Love the phrase north-o-meter - perfect words!

    Thanks for the lovely comments!

  16. Dear Fay, I enjoyed walking along with you in your amazing landscape! I can imagine it may sometimes be a harsh environment but it is a stunning one! Very dramatic and nothing like the shore of any land cleanses the mind and soul. Lovely! How fun you can recycle your sisters families wellies! I do not think you hurt the beach at all by sharing that bit with your hens.