Tankerness House – now the Orkney Museum in Kirkwall


Tankerness House is an extensive, mostly two storey, house which sprawls around a rectangular courtyard. Behind it is a large and beautifully kept walled garden.

Marie and I visited the gardens in 2012 but ran out of time to go into the Museum.  This time I was determined to go in. I  wandered around the garden first and on arriving at the front door, discovered it was closed for lunch.  Okay, so lunch for me was next on the agenda – it is easy to amuse one self for an hour in the main street of Kirkwall enabling me to find very yummy Orkney cheddar and broccoli soup (some may have seen that on my fb page)


Back I went  at 1.30, finally, for a tour around the museum.   A donation was a good way to get rid of small change which accumulates amazingly here with small coins.

Below is a bit of History on the House so why invent the wheel.  I obtained this info from the website for Tankerness House/Orkney Museum.


The house evolved over a three hundred year period. The first part to be completed was the north range, on the right of the header image, and the gateway from the street. These were built in 1574 for Gilbert Fulzie, Minister ofKirkwall and Archdeacon of St Magnus Cathedral.

In 1641 the house was acquired by James Baikie as the town house of the Baikies of Tankerness and renamed Tankerness House. James Baikie was a successful Kirkwall merchant descended directly from Paul Baikie, navigator to King Håkon IV in 1264. James was succeeded by his son, Arthur Baikie, who became Provost of Kirkwall.

James Baikie built the west range of the house in the 1640s: and further renovation and redevelopment occurred in 1722 and 1820. The family continued to own the house until 1951 when it passed to Kirkwall Burgh Council (and more recently to Orkney Islands Council). In 1968 the council oversaw Tankerness House’s extensive restoration and its conversion to the Orkney Museum.

Below is the spiral staircase, built in 1824 and Orkney Chairs on display.


My very favourite item in the Museum is this painting below.  I found it to be mesmerising and of course the pack of cards drew me into the gorgeous drawing room right away. As kids we always played solitaire – taught by Mum and still play on occasions all these years later (no one as fast as sister Jenny though).


Anyway, ……………. House of Cards was painted in 1924. oil, 14 X 63 inches

Stanley Cursiter lived predominantly in Stromness. He achieved many things in his lifetime, one of them, a position as His Majesty’s Painter and Limmer in 1948.  As part of his role, he also painted the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, which hangs in Holyrood House, Edinburgh.




A quick Hello from Kirkwall whilst my technology is behaving



It is hard to believe that I have been in Kirkwall for a week.  We have had some terrific weather but no snow as yet.  Lots of frost and icy tracks and fields but alas no snow. This was taken at Hobbister Hill Nature Reserve.


I was on the 8.35am bus to Stromness on Friday morning (30 minute bus trip) and I have to admit to liking the fact that the bus had seatbelts.  There had been a traffic warning about the icy roads out towards Stromness and I thought the bus driver was about 15 so I belted up and hoped for the best.

I was met by Cousin Ronald and we strolled through Stromness –  Marie we passed the seat where you applied cream on your leg after the pharmacist extricated a tic out of your leg in 2012.

I was privy to a lovely tour of the town and pier before heading back to catch up with Ingrid over a beautiful lunch with the most glorious sun shining through the window.

This is a quick one whilst tablet not too wonky.



A walk around Kirkwall 11 January 2016

Kirkwall comes from the Norse name “Kirkjuvagr”, or Church Bay. By 1046 Kirkwall was a farming and market centre. (from Scotland Undiscovered)

My walk this morning commenced down at Kirkwall Harbour at around 9am.


A few boats coming and going, including the ferry to Shapinsay, mmmm, might have to jump on that, lorries loading containers and the local birdlife hovering not too far away in the hope of pickings from the boats.

In the summertime the harbour is very busy with cruiseliners docking and boosting the economy with tourist dollars.



I walked further along the coast, to Ramberry, looking out to Quanterness Skerry, a group of rocks in the Wide Firth. It was maybe 3 km and then back again.


Walking back towards Kirkwall, I had spied a café at the Auction Mart which came in handy…..

I had thought maybe antiques were for sale, but as I got closer I could hear varying degrees of Mooing going on.  Uummed and Aarred as to whether I would go in and as it is a farming community, in I went to witness cows for sale.


I am going to skip to the end of the walk for now.  I was sort of on my way home but wandering temporarily in the wrong direction along the pier when luckily for Beth the pier ended. She had been into town for a couple of things and on her way back happened to look across to the pier and noticed a lone walker taking up the photographer stance and thought, ‘That has to be Linda in the distance’.  Sure enough as I turned to head back down the pier I was greeted with a wave and we headed on back to the house together, but not before being amused by this fellow.IMG_6825


Down on the beach….. Taracliff Bay

Dingieshowe, a Norse name meaning parliament mound. (from Undiscovered Scotland)

Taracliff Bay – Faro was on a voyage in ballast from Sarpsborg, Norway to Methil when she was torpedoed and sunk on 27 January 1940 by U-20 (Klot-Heydenfeldt, 15 miles southeast of Copinsay, Orkneys. She drifted ashore at Taracliff Bay the following day. 8 out of 15 aboard died. (www.warsailors.com)

It was a very pleasant first day in Orkney, with much of the day drinking coffee and sitting by the window watching the rain, listening to the wind and editing photo’s.  Lovely.

We had a visit from Laurence, another cousin this afternoon prior to us heading out to Dingieshowe to walk the beach looking out to Taracliff Bay.  It wasn’t too cold at all and the wind had dropped significantly. And where there is beach, there is sand and where there is sand there has to be sandcastles.  Kids will play on the beach no matter the weather.




Once upon a time in Orkney….. 1850’s


Long ago, across the seas and far away from the new settlements in Australia there was a wee family in Orkney.

We can only surmise as to the specific reasons but in 1851 one of the brothers arrived in Australia leaving behind his family and siblings. Another brother followed in due course.

Generations down the track the families were reconnected again which is how I come to be here now, with my ‘3rd cousin twice removed’, Beth.

 The population covering all the Islands of Orkney total between 21and 22,000.

From the book, ‘A Year in an Orkney Kitchen’, Alan Buchan, the author, who is a food columnist for the Orcadian, passionately supports the Slow Food Movement.

One of Orkney’s traditional winter dishes is Tatties and neeps (turnips) which are mashed together to form clapshot and accompany haggis.

I did try a tiny tiny piece of Haggis in Grantown-on-Spey and it was okay.

Anyway, more on Orkney later……..

Down on the farm in Coylton, also with cousins, I had the best 6 days – so many laughs, lots of board games, IMG_6014

a little bit of alcohol…. only one glass at a time and got to do a bit of touring around as well. I am a little behind in my photo editing so will post a couple I prepared earlier…., when the tablet was behaving.


Meet Robbie and Harry….. where did he go?


A walk in the rain – still good fun with Ingrid, Zander, Beth, Freya and Jenna. John also but  he was hiding from the paparazzi.

Below is the ferry at Scrabster which transported us across the Pentland Firth last night (9 January 2016) – a trip of about an hour and a half.


Scotland and a little catch up from England

Well, it has been awhile since I have written.

For those in the know, I hope for my fans, the anticipation of my next chapter is as eagerly awaited as a Diana Gabaldon novel. Nice try Linda.

I have had some technological issues with my tablet, which are still haunting me, but intermittently it comes good like now, so I am up early taking advantage of a non black lined screen, except the keyboard has gone flat and I am on the tablet keyboard which is not my favourite option but it is a step up from the phone.


This is the first photo taken on chrissy day. It happened to be the coldest day thus far but no snow. We headed off on a 3 hour walk which was brilliant, albeit a tad wet, foggy and windy.


As we passed through a village we happened upon a cottage along the roadside and couldn’t help but notice the scene inside. A family sitting down to their Christmas lunch, Dad was opening a bottle of wine as we passed by, the table laden with Christmas fare and colour. We should have peeled our noses to the window and we may have scored a glass.  We certainly enjoyed a lovely drink when we got home and the aroma of our dinner in the slow cooker was certainly most welcome as we headed in.



This old beauty was found behind a barn on our Boxing Day walk – from a distance I thought it may have been an old gypsy caravan but soon discovered it was an old British railway carriage.


Quick photo of Tracey and I sitting on rocks at Ebor Gorge, still part of our Boxing Day walk.

I am in Coylton at the minute but leave here in a few hours. I have just had to turn tablet off and on – those black lines were creeping in and the movement of them kept turning my letters into CAPS LOCK. Aaah the joys.

Anyway, time is ticking along but I am continuing to have a brilliant time.

It was sad leaving Tracey and Ollie and the gang in England – we certainly had some great times and the generosity and hospitality I was extended was beyond all expectations.


with Wendy’s gloves, it was almost like royalty


Sunday 3 January saw me on a plane to Glasgow and into my 2nd chapter of my holiday. It was lovely to see the smiling faces of Beth and John, although they may have been grimaces due to my plane being 50minutes delayed. Unbeknown to me I was off to the theatre at 5.30 and it was 3.30 when we left the airport. Off to see Jack and the Beanstalk, with Jenna as a dancer in the pantomime but not before flying in the door at Coylton, being fed a roast lamb dinner, cup of tea and out again. We made it with 5 minutes to spare. Seated just prior to the show starting, we had cause to stand up many times to let children in and out of our row. Beth said to one of the children, ‘watch out for the bag…’ – my camera bag of course, which then sent us both into fits of laughter………. You see, for those that don’t know, on my last visit here I came to a horizontal end after tripping over my sisters handbag handle in a café in Aberdeen and it still does not fail to send Marie, Beth and not so much myself (!!) into fits of laughter at the mere thought of it let alone mentioning it.  I will tell you I had a magnificently bruised hand, knee and ego, but all was well…. as long as I amused them all.

I must dash away to pack up in readiness for our road trip North – staying tonight in Granton-on-Spey before heading up to the tippy top to catch the ferry on Saturday evening across to Orkney,….. and chapter 3 begins…

More on Coylton next time

Happy Birthday to Jan for the 9th.

This blog seems to be all over the place – sorry about that.


Nettles for Christmas

I am going to be quite radical and jump out of sequence in my story – just to give you all a Christmas laugh. Does go against the grain as I could Never Ever read a book out of sequence.

In 2012 I managed to pick up some grit from Bristol and carried it around in my eye for several days.  A doctor’s trip followed, ending in me wearing a patch over my eye for a few days.

In Aberdeen 2012 I managed to trip over my sisters Handbag handle in a café, falling kersplat on my face. That Shut everybody up and I know, if two people are reading this right now,, they will simultaneously erupt into hysterical laughter, just like back at the scene……..

In Ayr in 2012 I managed to pick up some other sort of rash down my shins and on my feet.  A HEAT rash I think it was!

Goodness, I am pleased I took out travel insurance.

In 2015 I have a different story to tell.

We walked a circular route – 8 miles – 4 hours around North Wootten on the edge of the Somerset Levels and 45 minutes in to the walk, not due to mud


nor crossing creeks


nor due to trying to get THAT shot,


nor horsing around


But always trying to catch up with Tracey


I got my foot caught in some thick blackberries and over I went.  In to grass mostly but hidden in the grass were some nettles – very English! well, Scottish as well, but as I was in Somerset, we will go with the ‘Very English’.



I had some Sudafed with me so I took a couple for the antihistamine value, brushed myself off and carried on.

Three hours later the wrist was starting to burn and lifting the camera to take a photo became quite painful but all was apples and I carried on.


By the time I got home the burning pain in my hand and wrist was making me jig up and down on the spot.  Says Ollie, ‘I didn’t think a symptom of nettle sting was needing to go to the toilet’. Ha Ha

20151223_135846_resized_2 1

2 antihistamines and 2 Panadol later, I took myself to bed and slept for 3 hours.

Today the pain has subsided, the swelling remains but the itchiness and pins and needles is very distracting.  At least I can use my thumb on the spacebar now – couldn’t earlier today.

So , now that I have given you all a Christmas laugh, go forth and Be Merry……