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Claremont - April 2008

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Fletcher Saga 16 April 2008

Stronsay's evening class in singing (aka the Stronsay Singers) started its Spring session on Monday. Although Stronsay only has 400 inhabitants there are enough enrolled students to give our tutor, Michael Lee, a four-part (SATB) choir to conduct & to teach.We are very fortunate in having the tuition of Michael because the extra grant money from the local education authority ran out last year thus Michael is only paid for the tuition on Monday evening whilst his ferry journey from Kirkwall to Stronsay on Monday and his return to Kirkwall on Tuesday morning are in his own time. Thanks to the efforts of Brian Crowe (one of our two tenors) Michael's fare on the ferry is paid jointly by Stronsay Community Council and by Orkney Islands Council whilst we (Maureen & me) provide his meal & accommodation on Monday night. I think I am correct in saying that our evening class on Stronsay is now the only evening class in the Northern Isles that receives tuition from a mainland tutor.

In last month's Saga I mentioned that we had been looking after Timber, a rather elderly but quite active cat, whilst Jack & Simone fetched Simone's elderly mother from the North of England. Sadly Simone's mother died a few weeks after arriving in Stronsay so once again we have Timber as a guest whilst Jack & Simone travel down to Yorkshire for the funeral. Timber is no trouble but we are keeping Surrey and Timber well apart just in case there is any animosity.

The cattle will soon be out in the fields again after their winter stay indoors and the calving. The lambing on Stronsay is almost complete and the field at the back of our house now contains quite a few sheep with their lambs. The view from our kitchen window has been enhanced because Bob Tateson has borrowed a couple of ponies to keep the grass in his "garden" under control; the antics of the ponies as they amble around chomping the grass whilst the birds (mostly starlings) follow the ponies around, sometimes getting what seems to be perilously close to the ponies hooves and teeth. Our own garden has been rather neglected for the last year or so but we have plenty of daffodils and primulas which are just about at their peak right now.

The carpet for Maureen's "medieval hall" was ordered from Wolstenholmes in Kirkwall on Thu 03 April. On Sat 12 April Wolstenholmes phoned to say that the carpet had arrived and would be delivered to the Kirkwall depot of Jim Holland, the Stronsay haulier, on Mon 14 April. Sure enough, Jim Holland delivered the carpet to our house on Monday evening; no mean feat as the carpet is 5 metres wide and 5.5 metres long and is very heavy. However, by Friday Malcolm & Paul had the carpet laid and firmly fixed down. I've put one or two artifacts onto the walls, put up curtain rails and hung the curtains over the windows and the door but Maureen was rather taken aback when she discovered just how much "stuff" she had stored away ready to display; I suggested that she should adopt the system used by museums and display just a small selection of the total stock and rotate the selection every few months.

We went to the Stronsay Hotel on Sunday evening, our first visit for quite some time. We went partly because Maureen wanted to celebrate the completion of another phase in her "medieval hall" project and partly because Maureen had almost run out of cigarettes and the shop was shut. Allan & Carol (landlord & landlady) were on their own so we had a good chat about a variety of topics and ended up going home with one of Allan's books that Allan was sure would be of interest to Maureen.

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Posted on Claremont at 21:20

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