Only in Orkney

The weather up here has been pretty good this week. On Monday we took Nell to the vet in Kirkwall to organise her passport. We made the long day of it and treated ourselves to an outing. Nell was very well-behaved, though a little stressed by her trip, so we took her straight from the vet to Binscarth for a run in the wood. Nell will need to return to the vet in three or four weeks’ time so we want her to mentally associate the trip to a vet with a treat. It turned out to be a really good treat this time as she managed to find an abandoned ball outside the vet’s and another stray ball in Binscarth woods.

It was reminiscent of our first trip to Binscarth, though perhaps not quite so hot as that day was. The sun was shining brilliantly and the dappled damp shade of the wood was most welcome; the insects less so. We walked out the other side of the wood but Nell recollected that she does not like the last stretch before the loch, where cattle are only separated from her by a wire fence. She did not wish to continue to the cooling water. We turned around and came back through the wood.

Nell found a ball
Nell found a ball
Things were starting to look a touch Autumnal
Things were starting to look a touch Autumnal
Very much Autumnal in places, though Summer's roses are still in evidence
Very much Autumnal in places, though Summer’s roses are still in evidence

It had been an early start, too early for a proper breakfast and tummies were by now rumbling. We took a run down to Happy Valley, with the idea of eating an early lunch there as I was sure I had seen mention of picnic tables. Happy Valley was pleasant but very busy. We found no picnic tables but we did find proper children engaged in having a proper childhood – there’s nothing quite like plodging aboot in wellies, building a dam.

I took photographs, of course.

The house at Happy Valley
The house at Happy Valley

Having failed to find picnic tables and the ground in the plantation being too wet to sit upon, we popped up the road to the lochside viewpoint on Harray Loch. It was busy there too – a bit startling as we have never before seen other people there. There were cars, people, dogs, a motorbike and a motorhome. Anglers were out on the loch, among the swans.

A morning visit to Tesco  furnished an adequate picnic
A morning visit to Tesco furnished an adequate picnic

It’s a great spot for a picnic, the views were terrific and the heather in bloom.

HArray Picnic (3 of 3) HArray Picnic (2 of 3)

All that was left after lunch was a little time-killing before hitting the supermarkets for provisions to bring home. We decided to go over to Dounby and up the hill road for the amazing view at the top. Unfortunately some haar had built up by the time that we arrived and was floating around as low cloud. It marred the view a little but Nell did not mind as she had a game of ball in the large lay-by that we stopped in.

Rousay under a cloud
Rousay under a cloud

Nell needs to go back to the vet for another jab before she can have her passport. We are unlikely to have such a good time on the next trip as the car’s MOT will have lapsed and we do not plan to renew it because we shall be going away soon. Nell shall have to handle the town from close quarters. That will be interesting.

Today Mr L is grouting floor tiles in the front porch, whereas  I am doing as little as possible after a very busy day yesterday: washing, pegging out, cleaning (!), baking, hosting spinning and preparing a barbecue supper and lugging it all the way to the top of the garden. I am tired!

Spinning was hosted in the RV and there were five of us. I spent my time counting yardage and turning handspun skeins into yarn cakes in readiness for knitting over the coming winter. Ther are still a few skeins to do but once I have added up the total yardage I shall be ready to select a pattern.

Last night’s barbecue was quite good. We had some lamb kebab-type things  from Tesco with some soft Panini rolls. I supplemented this with a tasty mixed salad; a yogurt dressing with mint, flat leaf parsley and coriander; and a warm dressed salad of griddled aubergine slices. All washed down with a bottle of Leffe Brun.

As I said, we had to cart everything to the top of the garden. This was in order to escape the worst of the wind, which can make it difficult to get the fire going.  We may be acclimatised to believing that 14 degrees Celsius is warm t-shirt weather and that a wind gusting to 30 mph is but a slight breeze on a calm day…. however, only in Orkney would anybody consider this to be barbecue weather and the point was brought home as we munched on the quickly-cooling lamb.

In yesterday’s mail: yarn!

Sock yarn with silk. An eBay "win"
Sock yarn with silk. An eBay “win”

Mr L is having the brown and grey for his socks. I fancy the green and the orange in the same stack, though the only one I am really not keen on is the centre right one that mixes blue with red. Ugh.

I really need to pick up my needles again.

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