Saturday 10 May 2014

'Take your Rowan to work on a boat ' Friday.

Rowan 'Pink Pagoda' enjoying the fine views of Graemsay and Hoy
So Friday's can often be dress down or casual can't they, in some jobs, so this Friday, in the spirit of joining in on that 'Friday feeling' I took a lovely wee pink Rowan (Sorbus hupenhensis 'Pink Pagoda' to give it is posh Sunday name) on a ferry ride. We went away to visit Sian of Life on a Small Island and help her in her rather lovely walled garden plant some trees. This particular rowan was very excited to be going on its first ferry trip. OK so when it first came to Orkney it came on a ferry, but it was in its winter slumber. So this time it was all the more excited for being awake during this short 45 minute trip to one of the smaller Orkney islands, Graemsay. The actual ferry time to the island is alot smaller but this ferry goes via Moness on Hoy - so its a lovely scenic trip where you can enjoy the views. So once aboard the Peedie (small) Rowan and I relaxed and enjoyed the sail. For once, it wasn't bumpy. This wee lassie is NOT a good sailor. I'm not so sure Rowans are keen either. And, that's a bit rich calling the Rowan peedie, its well taller than me.
Ferry to a new home.
Its customary to take your 'freight' be that tree or bag or messages (shopping) on the boat by hand, so a bag or two is handy. My wee Rowan didn't mind at all being man (girl) handled on to the boat. Its a hardy mountain sort after all use to growing in quite exposed places so I'm hoping he likes his new home. But, back to the adventure of the day  -  it started with a boat ride (after wrestling said Rowan into a very, very small car). If you ever find the need, trees happily travel by car, fellow passengers, not so much.
Ferry to Graemsay
I'm often asked what its like being on a ferry. Well truth be told, we hop on and off them a bit like trains or buses. And, to be fair that's what they are I guess, public transport of the water rather than the rails. This boat is quite wee and has 'inside' and outside spaces to sit and enjoy the trip. But like any commuting, I guess after a while you just get use to it. Leaving Orkney soon, my ferry rides will be few and far between although they've been a huge factor of life both here and when we lived on our farm in the west on Colonsay. I like boats but I'm a rubbish sailor. There's something ironic there isn't there? Anyway back to this particular trip. The Rowan and I were very excited to be on the boat and to be going to see Sian and her chooks and her garden. I'd told the Rowan it was very nice over there, he was very excited. Oddly he was a HE, don't ask me why, pink berries and all, he was just male.
Rowan waiting to leave dock to Graemsay
Rowans are generally friendly sorts of trees, they are often planted in Scots gardens as they have a history of warding off evil spirits and keeping their 'kin' in their homes safe and sound, or so they say. Berries make a fine jelly too, so its a hardy productive wee beastie. We, the Rowan and I, sat by the window inside (no nasty salt air for us) and near the coffee machine, just incase we needed one. And, we enjoyed the view. Ferries in the summer daytime are often frequented by locals and tourists on trips and adventures. Locals you can spot a mile off (generally not travelling with trees but with 'the messages' (shopping) or children. Visitors and adventurers you can also often spot, sometimes their socks give it away. 
Visitors socks
I've never really got the 'tuck the socks into the trousers' bit of adventuring but I admire those who do.  It also gives the world a chance to check out your socks *always important.
More visitors socks
Mostly you can tell the adventurers quite quickly, they, like me are excited to be on a boat, but they don't carry rowans with them on their adventures which gives them away too. I'm thinking the 'messages' the Rowan and the bag of tools gave my game away. That and the fact I read to the Rowan all the way over, peeking out at the view from time to time. As bonnie as this ferry ride is I rather like the 45 minutes of complete quiet and unplugged life that is a ferry ride, so I often take the time to indulge in some reading, just for me (and the Rowan this time of course).
The WEDDING and everyday wear wellies.
I also wasn't exposing my rather fine, if very odd, socks. Although the posh 'wedding' wellies did get an airing. After all wellies are for everyday life,  not just for weddings you know. And, having rehomed dear Rowan and helped to plant a puckle of other trees too, they were a LOT muddier on the way home. I was reminded the last time Sian saw said boots I wore a frock. I thought better of it for planting trees today. I left a very happy Rowan tucked in the ley of the high walls of its new home, in a lovely sheltered spot, where it could spy the ferry (if it should so wish) dashing back and forth from the mainland to its new home.

I should note there were a serious lack of chickens helping in the garden during my visit. Most unusual for Sian's garden, but thankfully 'Button' the cat supervised the planting for most of the day.

Epilogue - Some recent feedback (from a rather fun and quite enlightening interview) suggested, currently, I was less than 'horticulturally focussed' than some of the other candidates. I was a bit shocked to be honest, if they'd opened my head up they'd have seen it awash with plants, mud and compost and my blood (if asked for) as green as a decent chloroplasted beast. I mean, really, how much more horticulturally focussed do you need to be aside taking trees on ferries in yer wedding wellies. 

*walks off shaking composty, tree twig ridden, lichen infested, head*


  1. It must be a Scottish thing, this 'moving trees' malarkey. I think Shakespeare mentioned it.

    Complete shock re supposed lack of horticultural focus. I can only rationalise this by guessing there were no Rhubarb questions?

    1. I think it must although the Bard was from the middle bit of England wasn't he - or did we invade England as far down as the Avon?

      Unfortunately the 'rhubarb' incident of which you refer is sadly NOT an isolated incident. As displayed today when in Happy Valley avec mutts, someone asked me the name of a plant and sadly they glazed over after about 20 minutes of a major Rubus spectabilis soliloquy.

      Hence the shock.

    2. I do remember Mr. Will mentioning Birnam Wood moving about in that Scottish play of his.

    3. Indeed! A shame they didn't walk over the A9 to our wedding. A few extra trees would have been nice.