A good day for chickens

Friday 9th November 2013
Today was the Orkney Cage Bird show in Kirkwall.
 Now I know that the pedantic ones among you will consider that chickens are not what we would normally consider to be cage birds.
 They are however, I am sure you will agree, birds. They are also, as you can see from the photos, in cages.

 I rest my case.

 The cage bird show in fact has cage birds, pigeons, poultry , rabbits and cavies. 
 Andalusian Hen 1st Light Hen
                                         Andalusian Cock 1st Light Cock
The poultry section is in fact very good and well supported as it is the only show that we have outside show week in August.

We took eight chickens in and seven of them got tickets. As usual we did not necessarily agree with the judge, especially about the one that did not get a ticket but generally it was not bad and I was very pleased with my Andalusian hen.

The Orpington cock and hen both got second places in the heavy cock and heavy hen classes. The hen that was first in the heavy hen class was a very good White Wyandotte and there was no disgrace being second to it.

 My opinion of the bird that won the heavy cock class is probably best left unsaid in case it sound like sour grapes.

            Black Orpington Hen

Light Sussex Cock
 I was hoping that both the Sussex cock and hen may have done better but "Hey-Ho" you can't win them all.

Light Sussex Hen

They had both picked up a bit of staining from the sawdust on the cage floor since they were put in last night and maybe this didn't help them much. (Note to self, "Use my own softwood shavings next time".)    
                 Blue Cochin Cock

The Cochin cock was third in the Heavy Cock class but I still think that he is a really good bird and the Cochins are Pam's favourites so we will persist with him.
 The Cochin hen was the only bird that we took that did not get a ticket, so maybe it was just that the judge did not like Cochins.

All in all, not a bad day.
The show is on until tomorrow evening so I will have to go back and pick them all up then and get them put away before it goes dark.

Noisy and not so noisy invasions of Burray.

Once a year the population of Burray doubles. There must be more people riding in the annual beach race the other week than are normally here the rest of the year.

Good and exciting though. Loads of spills but very rarely anybody hurt so all good fun. I think that the kids races are perhaps more exciting. Even the very tiny ones just go hell for leather and don't seem to mind coming off all over the place but they do not look as dramatic on a video.

 We have also had an invasion of waxwings, a beautiful little bird from scandinavia. I saw a flock of about 30 yesterday but was driving so no photos yet. I shall go out today armed with the camera and see if I can get some photos of them to delight you with so keep checking.

I thought that some may like this. It's a pity that it is not the full "Gathering" as there are many more of them.

Orkney Folk: The Gathering from Mark Jenkins on Vimeo.

The last few photos in this lot are the full "Gathering" And the music is from the gathering.
Friday 19th October 2012 LET'S HAVE ANOTHER GO AT KEEPING THE BLOG UP TO DATE AS SUMMER IS OVER. We just returned from going down south for Millie's christening and while we were down, I was chastised by several people for not putting anything on the blog recently, so I thought that I had better make some time. This morning we were greeted by a beautiful little goldcrest coming to see us. Well actually it flew into the french windows and knocked itself out.
This morning as usual in Orkney, is a lovely, sunny, flat calm day so I will have to take Molly out for a walk in a few minutes. I will perhaps try to do a quick "catch-up" tonight about all the summer things that I never put on the blog because there was too much to do. Loads of chicken prizes, including one for Maddy. Barbara, Harry and Maddy up here for a holiday, Minke whales in Echna Bay, my superb fishing skills, not to mention my outstanding art works. We are having the play room/sun lounge built at long last so maybe it will be finished for Christmas. Loads of fascinating stuff and photos if I can find them, so watch this space.
3rd July 2012 WELL, ANOTHER MONTH HAS SHOT PAST Just for a change I have managed to get a long way behind with the blog. There is no way that I am going to catch up now. During summer up here there is to much to do and so the blog gets ignored. Briefly, the folk festival finished after a load of great concerts. The farewell concert in Stromness town hall being the highlight and really brilliant. We had a remarkable Cape Barren Goose passed to us when a friend found it and could not find who owned it. A beautiful thing and apparently extremely rare and worth £1000. I really fell for it but in the end we found out who owned it and it returned home. Probably a good job as it kept trying to get into the house and Molly was not happy about that.
Now that the folk festival has finished, we have started to go to The Reel on Saturday nights with a bunch of friends so we are not getting back home until gone one in the morning. Not a good thing at my age. Sunday morning is definitely "lie in" day.
Friday 1st June 2012

Another musical day. So far, so good

 An afternoon concert in The Reel in Kirkwall today. A bit more relaxing than last night but good nevertheless. Two acts, both orcadian. A young 14 year old girl, Emily Bourn who shot to prominance last year when she was asupporting act in a Matt Cardle concert in Kirkwall. She got rave reviews and was much more talked about than was the supposed star of the show. She writes all her own songs and has areally sweet and accurate voice. I would not be surprised if we hear a lot more of her in future years. At 14 years old, she has plenty of time to develop yet.

Having praised her so highly, I must say that though she was good, her music is not my favourite. I think that she will do well with good quality pop music.

The othere group, "Redd", are three Orcadians who now live in Scotland. As seems almost inevitable, when they were at Kirkwall Grammar School, they were all members of "Hadhirgaan". Hadhirgaan and their teacher Douglas Montgomery, must be responsible for a huge proportion of the musicians in Orkney. Douglas narrowly failed to win the award for the best music teacher in Scotland at last years celtic connection festival in Glasgow. He of course lives on Burray where all the best people live.

I couldn't find any videos of Redd so the above is a link to some of their music including one track with Kris Drever.

In the evening it was the Finstown Ceilidh and again a much different but very good "line up".

For a change, the highlight was a Yorkshire lass called Edwina Hayes. She has a beautiful voice when she can stop talking, although having said that, her patter was all part of her act. She now spends half of her time living in Nashville which must be a bit of a change from Yorkshire.

The clip is of her singing part of the soundtrack to a film called "My Sister's Keeper" which Pam tells me we have on DVD but it is on loan to Helen at the moment.
 Although it is, I think, a bit of a weepy, from the clip with the song, it looks well made so I will have to watch it when it comes back.
Among other good bands at the ceilidh were Hullion who are loosely based on several of the musicians who play regularly at "The Reel" and "The foundry bar band" who apparently have a combined age of over 500 years. One member of the band gave everyone a bit of a turn when he stumbled while coming on stage. We all thought that they may be playing with one less member. They play traditional scottish dance music very reminiscent of "the White Heather Club" that I can vaguely remember my aunty Bet watching on an old 12 inch black and white telly when I was a kid. Not really my sort of musis but they were good fun.
Thursday 31st May 2012

Folk Festival. Cromarty Hall

Thursday night was the first night of the folk festival. Most of the concerts, events, sessions and gigs are based in Stromness which is normally a very quiet town but comes to life and really buzzes for the four days of the festival. There was a concert in The Hope that we wanted to go to and so we did not go to Stromness for the opening. The Hope concert was brilliant though. there were four groups on and all were good, including "Shoramere" a group of youngsters from Stromness Academy, who like "Hadhirgaan", their equivalent from Kirkwall Grammar School, really can not fail to impress anybody with the amount of musical talent up here and the quality of the music tuition that all the kids recieve.

 The highlight of the night though was a danish fiddler and his band, "The Harald Haugaard quartet". They were extremely good and very active, diving around the stage energetically as they were playin. Very infectious stuff.  

Being a true music fan, Pam's first comment was "phew, he's fit." , a feeling that was apparently shared by quite a few if the female members of the audience.                                                                                                                                        

I couldn't find a video of the quartet at the Orkney festival but this is one of the group at Edinburgh. His wife was not in Orkney as she is pregnant but her replacement was also very good.

Not to late of a night either. We were back home for just gone midnight so at least we will not be totally knackered before we start tomorrow.