So what is life like on a small Orkney island, about 3.4 sq miles and with a population of about 70?
Here in June we have noticed the exceedingly short night and the near-constant wind. In the winter we've been told this turns into near-constant gales with occasional days when it is unsafe to venture out lest you be blown away. We've had rain and grey days, but at the moment the sun is shining and the sea is blue. The air is clear and the lichens are glorious in their abundance.
These are the views from the house we are staying in.
Liz has a little dog, Scotty. He is quite a character and has quickly got us trained to attend to his every wish. So we took him down to the beach for a walk - well we walked and Scotty had an evening snack of crab.
The number of different species of birds is astounding and the flowers and plants are glorious – this is just one of the varieties of wild orchid.
There is a local who enjoys making artistic installations from the bits of junk lying around – some left over from World War II when thousands were stationed on the island and the west hill was covered with huts. This penguin family is one of his works. Liz took us to see the West Hill are and the views were fabulous - again!
Then we have the locals, and smiles and welcome from everyone. We enjoyed a lovely service at the Kirk when a male voice choir visited. The tea that followed was memorable. The next evening we joined Liz and some of the locals for an evening of making a very old Orkney child's toy – 2 limpet shells containing a little stone and the whole held together with felt. We also made little felt bowls by making felt around a stone. An evening of fun and laughter, outrageous jokes and another monumental tea. The ladies of Flotta are rightly famous for their cakes.