Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Mark: Autumn Events and migrant Balloons
After a long and bird-filled autumn it’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for-an ‘Obslife’ update! It’s been a whole three months since our last and there’s been a lot happening. Staff members, volunteers and guests have come and gone and the daylight hours are rapidly dwindling away as winter begins to arrive. I’ll concentrate on the last couple of weeks though, beginning with the Harvest home festival at the end of October. A typical North Ronaldsay ‘knees-up’ at the community centre to celebrate the end of the farmers harvest saw 80 odd folk gather for a sit-down meal of roasted mutton, ham, pork, clapshot, (neaps and tatties) with wine of course. This was followed by after-dinner speeches from Islander Ian Scott and Neil Leask-custodian of the Corrigal Farm Museum and Kirbister Farm Museum on Orkney Mainland, and later the traditional dances. About £600 was raised for future Island events from the raffle and an auction was held of an Ian Scott original painting featuring the lighthouse-which Mark (from the Lighthouse) won for a mere £350-a bargain! Highlight for me though was winning an equally fine Ian Scott original of West Beach in the raffle for just a £1 ticket!
A concerning sight a week or so later was that of a Mad Doctor, Giant Spider, Killer Shark, Evil Witch, Grim Reaper, and a Black Cat clambering into a Red Fiesta outside the post-office. I’ve come up with three possible explanations for this 1. I was still drunk from the Harvest Home festival. 2. The post-office was being held up by a well disguised crew of robbers. 3. It was the school kids out trick or treating on Halloween. I guess option 3 is the most likely and so none of the above critters were entered into the bird log.
An extremely frightening pumpkin
A less frightening pumpkin-although that bone could be human?!
Remember, remember the 5th of November! It was fireworks night up at the lighthouse and something Fleur and I didn’t expect to see up here on North Ronaldsay. A great community night with roaring bonfire, sparklers, burgers, hot-dogs and a beer or two (well earned after our trek from one end of the Island to the other), were followed by the main event-the fireworks. There were plenty of Oooh’s and Aaaah’s as the clear and calm skies were lit up in a multiple colours.
Despite several members of the Island fire-brigade being present-nobody told me my bum was on fire!
As winter is upon us we hope to provide further updates, with the emphasis moving from ornithological related work to maintenance tasks around the Observatory and Indoor work.
Two cruel finds for Ric and I in recent days are pictured below, and a reminder we live on a 'Desert' Island away from civilisation, the luxury's and some of the things we love (or love to hate) from our past lives. Or perhaps we’ve stumbled on a gap in the market on North Ron and will shortly be opening our own Fast Food establishment
These two are likely to have travelled just as far as some of our migrant birds-other fast food venues are available-but not on North Ron!