The islands I really came to see

I write from Kirkwall in Orkney now …. a place that captured my imagination when I read a semi-regular column by George Mackay Brown in The Tablet many years ago. I must buy one of his books while I’m here …. easyJet has a more generous baggage policy than RyanAir – and are also efficient at getting people on board planes – RyanAir was positively shambolic.

Today, Sunday 25 May 2008, is also the day I wish I was at home. I’m there in spirit as my dearest friend Jenny is ordained a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church. I wish for her all the grace and blessings she already brings to so many people and also best wishes for even more blessings on her as she begins to serve in a new way.

Yesterday I was reminded of some of what Jenny does in her parish when I attended a Tea and Pancakes afternoon, including plant sale, at St Magnus Centre in Kirkwall. It was a gathering of (obviously) so many of the local church-goers in the friendly spirit that I’ve encountered when at similar gatherings at Heidelberg-East Ivanhoe Uniting Church. And fortunately they served coffee as well as tea!!

I’ve hired a car here too and will pick it up tomorrow. Yesterday I was pretty tired after arriving. I did get up early and was waiting for the airport bus at 5.45am … pity the girl in the tourist office had told me the Mon-Fri time …. Saturday’s bus was 7.30am!!! Eventually I got that short flight, 30 minutes on a little Saab to give an indication of the distance …. the only flight of my trip that earns me Frequent Flyer points :-/

Apart from the Tea and Pancakes, I had a quick look at the main drag of Kirkwall then back to the B&B for a rest before heading out to dinner again. Dinner was a beef & ale pie. The Brits do seriously good pies – it was on a par with the chicken & leek one I had at Luton with Fred.

I had a good sleep last night – thankfully the party of French people who arrived so noisily quietened down heaps. My room in the B&B here, equal to Venice as the most expensive accommodation of the whole journey!, is fairly similar to a reasonable motel room in Oz. In addition it has the guest lounge, with computer (paid but relatively cheap), that I have to myself right now. It’s a good 10 minute walk to the town centre – longer dragging luggage 😦 …. the one drawback of the place. Also, the footpaths are not wonderful.

This is another rest day – I’ll head back to the town centre and have a proper look in a while. I did have today marked down for an island sail but with sailing to Lerwick and, in a few days time, sailing from Stromness back to mainland Scotland, I decided it was better to be a rest day …. relatively speaking!! It’s more or less the halfway mark of the trip and I haven’t done a lot of resting – so time to catch up!

This entry was posted in Accommodation, Food, Orkney, Travelling. Bookmark the permalink.

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