Postcards from the edge

We have seen much weather this last 48 hours.  The cold Arctic front has duly arrived, bringing snow to Netherbutton, Orkney.  We are marooned, at least for the next few hours – there is much to be said for the Internet under such conditions.  It makes you wonder how the Scandinavians manage to put up with it but, perhaps they don’t.  The Finns have a word for it – Kaamos – drifting around with the browser, as you do on such days, I found this:

Thousands and thousands of Finns suffer from kaamos depression, or depressio hiemalis as the fancy Latin of doctors terms it. Depression, anxiety, exhaustion, restlessness — it’s all mostly because of the lack of light. How are you supposed to wake up and keep moving when it’s dark outside when you go to work, and dark again when you get out? It’s as if the cold colorless world outside settled into your bones — unfeeling, unmotivated, a dull ache, a hunger that can’t be satisfied, a sleepiness that can’t be shaken — all in all, not a nice thing at all.

This is just a small extract from an entertaining post at Masks of Eris.

… snow at Netherbutton, Orkney

… blockship at Churchill Barrier No. 3 – between Burray and Glimps Holm

… Netherbutton at the top of the hill – from the track down to the shore

… South Ronaldsay

… Longhouse at Dam of Hoxa, South Ronaldsay

… St Margaret’s Hope, South Ronaldsay, Orkney

… Roeberry, South Ronaldsay, Orkney

The cottages at Netherbutton overlook Scapa Flow, a body of water with a remarkable history. It might be expected that in peaceful times there would be little activity in this remote place but, far from it – there are currently two oil rigs in for maintenance, a supply ship and three tankers.  At night they light up like Christmas trees on dark waters.

Despite the harsh winters and the classic ingredients for kaamos, we have found everyone delightfully friendly and approachable – Orcadians are in the top ten of happiest people in the UK and enjoy the best quality of life of any rural area.  It was not always so, at least if you believe the serviceman who penned this while stationed here in the war:

Bloody Orkney
This bloody town’s a bloody cuss
No bloody trains, no bloody bus,
And no one cares for bloody us
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody roads are bloody bad,
The bloody folks are bloody mad,
They’d make the brightest bloody sad,
In bloody Orkney.

All bloody clouds, and bloody rains,
No bloody kerbs, no bloody drains,
The Council’s got no bloody brains,
In bloody Orkney.

Everything’s so bloody dear,
A bloody bob, for bloody beer,
And is it good? – no bloody fear,
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody ‘flicks’ are bloody old,
The bloody seats are bloody cold,
You can’t get in for bloody gold
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody dances make you smile,
The bloody band is bloody vile,
It only cramps your bloody style,
In bloody Orkney.

No bloody sport, no bloody games,
No bloody fun, the bloody dames
Won’t even give their bloody names
In bloody Orkney.

Best bloody place is bloody bed,
With bloody ice on bloody head,
You might as well be bloody dead,
In bloody Orkney.

Don’t believe a word of it, it’s a great place which can only get better once it stops snowing 🙂

And as fer me,’ Sam said, ‘don’t fret.
The sky’s took a turn since this morning;
I think it’ll brighten up yet.

Three Ha’pence a Foot – Marriott Edgar

You don’t need a weatherman …

climate (n.)
late 14c., “horizontal zone of the earth,” Scottish, from Old French climat “region, part of the earth,” from Latin clima (genitive climatis) “region; slope of the Earth,” from Greek klima “region, zone,” literally “an inclination, slope,” thus “slope of the Earth from equator to pole,” from root of klinein “to slope, to lean,” from PIE root *klei- “to lean” (see lean (v.)).

Whatever the climate might or might not be doing, in these parts, it has certainly been changeable.  From bright, cold March sun through heavy snow, to biblical rain and out the other side to hints of summer, we have had it all these last seven days:

… bitter March landscape

… high water

… lonesome highway

… winter returns

… beneath Hexham Bridge

… bring me sunshine

Captains’ Drive In – Allendale Golf Club

Saturday 6th April 2013 dawned a glorious sunny day giving rise to the first hint of Spring across the Northumbrian landscape.  This sudden and welcome change in the weather was perfectly timed for the Captains’ Drive In at Allendale Golf Club; under bright blue skies each new appointee took their turn at the first tee.  The new Gents Captain, Andy Gray, was first to launch a magnificent drive down the furthest reaches of Allendale’s first fairway, the aptly named 417 yard par 4, Long Reach.  As the applause from the gathered members subsided, this was followed by an equally imposing drive from the new Ladies Captain, Shirley Brown.

Traditionally this kick-off to the new season is followed by a friendly team match between Captain and Chairman but unfortunately the Drive In marked the end of the outdoor proceedings for the day.  Despite the presence of a warming sun and steadily rising temperatures, this was not sufficient to melt the deep snow which still covered much of the course.  As the two Captains walked down the first to retrieve their respective golf balls from the centre of the fairway, the galleries dispersed to the clubhouse with some disappointment.  A couple of members walked the far reaches of the course to inspect the depth of the problem – in the shaded hollows it was probably near twelve inches; there may have been no golf but they were rewarded with some spectacular views of the Allen Valley brush stroked with snow – there is no finer setting for the game of golf, conditions permitting.

The first monthly medal of the year, due to be played the following day, was also postponed awaiting the disappearance of the last of the melting snow.

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in The Life

A day in the life – I guess it should be “my life” but I enjoy the oblique reference to Lennon & McCartney:

Woke up, fell out of bed 
Dragged a comb across my head 
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup 
And looking up, I noticed I was late 

Saturday 30th March 2013, the clocks change tonight in the UK and the light begins its return to the evening skies.  I hasten to add this is not a typical day, indeed these last few weeks it has been very untypical, there being more chance of snowboarding than playing golf. First thing this morning it looked like more of the same as our new neighbours looked distinctly uncomfortable in a north easterly blizzard. Nevertheless, as the morning progressed the weather eased and by 11:30 conditions were relatively benign.  The day starts from warming up the car, heading along the Military Road to Matfen Golf Club, completing a very enjoyable round, mostly in the sun, and then heading home to once again sit in front of a PC screen – I omitted a photo of the latter, it being sort of self-evident from this post.

All the photos were taken on a Samsung SII smartphone and then given the Instagram treatment:

Travel theme: Mountains

I have written elsewhere on the photographic limitations of travelling by train.  On a recent journey along the West Highland Line we passed mountain after mountain lit up by a bright low winter sun – all of them inaccessible to my Nikkor lens through a dirty railway carriage window.  The only solution was to hop off the train when it stopped – I did this but once at Crianlarich as it nearly gave me heart failure :-).  I was still on the platform when the doors closed and the carriages started moving, fortunately only a few feet – they were decoupling two carriages – the front half of the train heading for Oban and the rear half for Fort William.  These are the results of my brief foray; fortunately they have snowy mountains as their backdrop thereby almost making the heartache worthwhile (click on the images to enlarge).

Crianlarich StationCrianlarich Station

The snow is back

Every time I think the snow is gone, this week I might get out on the golf course, this week I might get back on my motorcycle, this week I might take the Elise off its tyre trainers, back it comes.  The wind is whipping up from the south so the swirls of snow just evident in the first picture are blowing away from the house and our drive – this is good news.  Also, look closely enough and there are even the odd green shoots of Spring.  Before long it will be time for The Masters, the days will be longer and I might just get the toys out of the garage.

Snow fieldSnow treesGreen shoots(click on the images to enlarge)