Thursday 24 November 2016

Hi, Hoy High!

I've always loved this image of Hoy High lighthouse. So crisp and wintry...

Hoy High  and it's counterpart, Hoy Low, were designed by Alan Stevenson (uncle of Robert Louis) and established in 1851.

The Fonds likes this image of Hoy High.

Monday 14 November 2016

Saturday 12 November 2016

Murray's Mint!

Faithful readers may have been wondering why we have not mentioned the recent ascension of Andy Murray to the position of No.1 tennis player in the ENTIRE WORLD last week.( Seeing as we love him and everything.)

Well, first we were weeping too much about it to type properly, and then we were weeping too much about the US election results; but we have calmed down a little and would now like to celebrate. Oh Andy! How do we love thee? Let us count the ways..

We love how you get so, so, cross about stuff:

We love your excellent teenage eye rolls:

We love how you said you would fly home from the Australian Open if your baby was born early even if it meant missing the final.

We love how very good at playing tennis you are.

We love how when you lose you cry...

...and we love how when you win you cry even more...

...but perhaps we love you most of all because, for several years in in the late 1800s, you ran the John Street Grocers for us in Stromness. Truly above and beyond Andy.

 Murray, you're mint!

Saturday 5 November 2016

Bonfire Night

We've written before about how Bonfire night is a relatively new addition to the Orcadian calendar and also how disappointed new teacher Mary Bailey was by this when she arrived in late 1924:

Extract taken from the Diary of Mary Bailey: Orkney Archive Reference D1/1198

Modern day versions of Mary's 'wretched turnip heads'can be seen in Keith Allardyce's lovely book on the town Sea Haven:

Copyright Keith Allardyce

See here for more information.

Thursday 3 November 2016

Sieve and Let Sieve

Our old Hallowe'en post gained a couple of new comments when we re-tweeted it at the start of the week. One comment asked about the significance of the sieve and knife used by brave lasses trying to divine the identity of their future husband.

I had a look back at the Ernest Walker Marwick notes we had looked at before and the full extract reads:

"How would you like to sit in a dark barn, with all the doors open, when all the bogles are around, winnowing with an empty sieve on which you placed a knife, and knowing that an apparition having the appearance of your future partner would pass the door?"

'Winnowing' means to sift or sort the wheat from the chaff and I wonder if shaking the sieve around with a reflective blade on the top was meant to bounce any moonlight that made its way through the open bar door, thus producing a fleeting 'apparition'?

I found another reference to a sieve in the same record in an extract discussing old fashioned medical treatments:

Orkney Archive Reference D31/72/1/22

I seem to recall a few witchy stories involving sieves too which I shall try and unearth in the next week or so. To be continued...

See also these weird sieve-related punishments as unearthed by dusty. Here and here.

Does anyone have any more sieve stories to share?