Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Well that was 2015 then

It's been a while. One heck of a while. Any drafts that I had in the pipeline have been lost when the old Dell packed up, along with seven months of photographs. I'd like to be able to tell you that it began smoking out of every port and the drives wailed like banshees but instead it just woke up one day and said “You know that stuff that I used to do for you, well I'm not going to be doing that any more.” It's your loss, you selfish sack of rusty circuit boards. You're the one going in the skip! So despite the vacuum of testament, I'll try my very best to pick up the narrative.
As manager I'm responsible for publicity shots too

You find me still in Sanday, still being a lazy good-fer-nuffin'. I am, however, being less good at that particular gig as, in addition to the stuff I was doing at the end 2014, I also assumed the management role within the bus company in 2015. Now, after almost a year in post I can reveal that the company is still in operation so I can't be quite the 'kiss of death' that I suspected that I might be.

OMG! They're both out. How did that happen?
Lilli and Salvo are growing up fast, making them more likely to knock things over than they were when they were only half the size. They have the run of more of the shed and have been stretching their legs outside but only under supervision while I get the 'evil eye' from the Missus. Mind you, those times when they wander farther afield and she choses to not speak to me at all are moments of halcyon bliss.

So what's new?

You know that I don't like change, so the answer is: very little.

For some bizarre reason, I keep ramping up the stress. It's been over two years since I qualified as a pool lifeguard which meant that I needed to be reassessed. At least it means that I get a free dip in the pool to do some fun stuff, but being able to tie slings, recite rules and regulations and recognise and assess health issues scares the hell out of me. I like knowing what I know, which I admit isn't much, as it comforts me. I concur with the wisdom of the genius Homer Simpson who observed that when he learnt anything new that it invariably pushed something else out. What happens if the thing I forget is how to breath? I think that I'd regret not remembering that. Probably not for long.

Not even MORE kittens!
I've also been helping out a bit with our local Cat Protection rep. It's only fair given that I've lumbered her with the latest feral batch of barn kittens and their mum. She's a bad influence on them (their dam that is, not Janet!) so whereas they used so hiss, they now lash out and spit as well. The full natural born killer repertoire. She was spayed a while ago so her wounds are healed enough for her to be released. We thought that we were doing the right thing in keeping the family together however I'm beginning to feel that that was a mistake. Even she's getting short with her own kindle, so I think it's time to get her out. For everybody's sanity. The call came to assist with getting them into baskets for their trip to the toon. We had to have two goes at it. First as 'good cop' which took an age and resulted with three captures but one escapee. It was just as well that the cage door was shut. One of the ones that we'd managed to retain control of was mum, so we adjourned while I took her home to be released into the familiar surroundings of the stable. When I returned it was time for 'bad cop' and it was all over in about ten minutes. Four little baskets each with a tiny black shadow in the corner.

There has been excitement on the island concerning the long anticipated opening of the new Sinclair's store, a brand new, purpose-built unit in a prime location at the end of the pier road. With aisles wide enough for trolleys, it is something hitherto quite unheard of in these parts. However, as somebody who does practically all of his shopping on the island, a somebody with big eyes and voracious apetites, I don't doubt that I would have significantly more cash in my wallet if there was still a counter-service store on Sanday. I am guilty of being far too zealous at self-service, especially when one store insists on keeping cakes by the till and the other the pic 'n' mix. It's a wonder that neither has had to resort to double doors for customers to squeeze in and out of. Well, for this particular patron at least.

Having a beach on our doorstep has yet to get boring. Opportunities to hit the water in the kayak remain a rare joy, but Bay of Lopness is, nevertheless, the gift that keeps on giving. Mostly, it gives up bruck. Although this makes me dispair of my species, it does offer an insight to their disgusting behaviour and offers all the exercise one could ever need when picking it all up. And every now and again, the tides bring in a treat. Often it'll be footwear that I can share on the lost shoe society facebook page. Other times it'll be wooden pallets or even something more substantial like the day that saw four pieces of constructional timber lattice wash in. Sometimes it'll be wildlife. In wild weather, coastal seabirds can find themselves stranded on land, an environment to which they are entirely unsuited. It's at times like these that the poor things need a homo-sapien who's not afraid to make a tit of himself in order to scare them back into their aquatic home.
A silly Guillimot
My proudest moment has to have been when I actually had to handle a guillemot that had found it's way up over the dunes and onto the B6069. Fortunately, this is the kinda place where you can just whack the hazzard lights on and leave your car (with the engine running and the keys in it) blocking the thoroughfare while you get out to scoop the miscreant up with your bare hands and disappear from the scene to return it to the sea where it belongs. Not all such encounters have a happy ending as the remains on the sand often testifies. At least the carrion animals are kept fed by such misfortune.

After four years I have at last flown on the 'peedie' plane. Not once, but twice. Gail and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary in a style that our financial situation could hardly permit but given that we have a long time to be poor, it is essential to our sanity that we occasionally cast our poverty into stark relief. We enjoyed a splendid four-poster bedroom at the Orkney Hotel in Kirkwall and a fantastic repaste at the same venue. It was Hallowe'en but having the restuarant all to oursleves was a surprise. It is everybody else's loss that they weren't sharing such excellent food and hospitality. The return flight to Sanday also took us the farthest North we have ever been (on any continent) as it flew via North Ronaldsay. It also allowed us an aerial view of our 'estate' from the window on the way back to the Lady aerodrome.  
There's a little, pale blob the other side of the loch. That's us

With Gail's 'half ton' landmark birthday Early in the new year, it looked like the 'never never' would be financing another indulgence. As a result, with the lady in question tirelessly reinforcing the 'lazy student' cliche, I was just going to have to put a few more shifts in!