Friday, 15 January 2021

A Fonds Farewell

The archives gang are breaking up! (sob)

The Fonds is leaving! Having selfishly allowed himself to age into retirement, he shall exit the building at 5pm today, an archivist no longer. No more cataloguing photos of women spinning and making cheese, no more family history research, no more chasing rowdy teens from the building and no more getting called in the middle of the night when the fire alarm goes off.

The old library building.

the old archives

This is a big loss to the Orkney Library and Archive. The Fonds first came to work at the Laing Street building as the photo archivist in 1986 and was promoted to head archivist in 2010. He takes with him a wealth of knowledge, information and unflappable calmness which are irreplaceable. More importantly, he was the only one of us who could work out the duty rota without being reduced to tears and, not having much of a sweet tooth, he left the buns alone.

The Fonds has contributed posts for this blog over the years and many of them can be seen here. The brighter ones among you will notice that keen music fan Fonds has included many songs titles in the blog headings, a fact which escaped the notice of Dusty and myself for some years.

Covid restrictions mean that there will be no boozy send off and we won't be able to cling to his ankles as he leaves the building for the last time begging him to check the fuse box one last time or at the very least to show us how to scan negatives as we were too busy thinking about Strictly the last time he showed us.

Our plan is to form a (socially distant) choir and warble this out the library and archive windows at him at 5pm GMT. Do join in if you feel like it:

Farewell Fonds! (Although we reserve the right to pester you by phone with all the stuff we can't find/remember/know over the next decade.)

Monday, 11 January 2021

Archive in a Pandemic A-Z: N is for...


Happy New Year lovely readers! Some of you will be going through your third lockdown and are probably sick of the sight of your own home/spouse/fridge. We do hope that you are all managing and send you our good wishes and virtual embraces. (For those of you who are not huggers, we send you a firm and hearty handshake through the ether. No virtual air kisses though... we don't like those... )

Orkney is currently on level 3 restrictions which means that we cannot enter private homes to socialise but non-essential shops and the library and archive are permitted to remain open. We are very thankful to be able to continue working but, as the schools are currently closed, this makes life tricky for those of us with tiny little archivers. Some of us may be attempting to work from home again but, fear not, no precious documents shall be taken back to our pits of jam covered mayhem. 

We are also losing a member of staff to retirement so the archives will be a rather depleted place for the next few weeks. Sob! 

Still, the days are slowly getting longer and the sun now sets at a thrilling 3.43pm. Soon the wonderful day when we leave work at a bright and perhaps sunny 5pm will arrive. Always a day of great jubilation.

We leave you with some delightful images of lupins and puffins in anticipation of Spring. It's fun to say isn't it? Lupins and puffins, lupins and puffins, lupins and puffins... this may well be my mantra from now when things seem grim... lupins and puffins , lupins and puffins, can't wait to see some lupins and puffins...

Taken by Tom Kent. Negative no. TK 1067

Also by Tom Kent. Negative no. TK 1079

'the path through the wild lupins' - negative no. L150/2

Puffins (Tammie Nories) on the rocks at the back of Rousay. Negative L2367/1

..and why not look at this photo of a Dunlin taken at Scapa on the 2nd of September 1930 while you're at it??

Negative no. L10,293/3

All images are part of the Orkney Photographic Archive.