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Claremont - June 2008

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Fletcher Saga 10 June 2008

First an apology for being so late in producing this edition of the Fletcher Saga. It should have been ready in May but we, like everyone else in Orkney, were too busy making the most of the good weather. We simply enjoyed the warm sunshine but the farmers have been very busy ploughing, harrowing, drilling and rolling their fields whilst one or two light showers have helped the seed to germinate. The lambing and calving are now over so the arable fields are filled with sheep and with cattle. And on the fifth of June I became eligible for my state pension.

A few weeks ago Stronsay's genial GP, Dr George McKay, held an open meeting to announce that he had proposed to NHS (National Health Service) Orkney that Stronsay and the nearby island of Eday be combined into a single practice when Eday's own GP retires this summer. This would mean Dr McKay travelling by a small charter boat to Eday on two afternoons each week and holding a surgery for an hour or two before returning on the scheduled ferry. I think the idea is to give the idea a trial run for a few months before assessing the results. Dr McKay is due to retire at the end of 2009 so he is keen to see the practice left in a condition that is viable and able to attract a new GP.

Do any of the readers of this Saga know of a qualified GP who would like to move to a small, single-handed practice of about 500 patients? I'm sure there must be at least one GP working in an inner city who would love to move to a more relaxed atmosphere, even if it was only for a few years.

One of Dr McKay's two nurses is Margareth; you may remember me mentioning her, her kittens and her goats in the Saga for 15 June 2006. Margareth has a Monstera Delicosa or Swiss Cheese Plant and, after extensive enquiries from Lands End to John O'Groats, she appears to have the only flowering and fruiting cheese plant in Britain. Apparently this is a very rare event because it needs special nutrients and growing conditions. Moreover, it takes a year to ripen! Margareth's daughter is a nurse at Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall and only comes home occasionally so the Swiss Cheese Plant is in her (unheated) bedroom. The plant seems to thrive on virtual neglect and gets an occasional splash of Stronsay tap water plus a few drops of "Baby Bio" once a year or when Margareth remembers to do it! The plant has been decapitated and the top along with its aerial roots repotted when it gets too straggley. Margareth is obviously a very green-fingered lady as she also has a Sanseviera Golden Hahnii or Mother-in-law's Tongue which is in bud. Margareth would love to hear from anyone who has any similar plant(s) in bud or in flower. There are photographs of the plants at the end of this Saga.

Last Sunday (8 June) was "Lifeboat Sunday", a day when the annual fund-raising event for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) is held on Stronsay. Kirkwall's lifeboat came over for the day and was open for anyone to look around and inspect the wide range of equipment that is carried on board. The RNLI's supporters (both on- and off-island) put on their usual magnificent buffet lunch at the Community Centre where the main room was ringed with tables bearing a myriad of dishes, both hot and cold, and a mouth-watering selection of desserts. Either before or after your meal you could you could also participate in raffles or several tombola-like games; you could even get your hair cut as a qualified hairdresser was providing haircuts for ladies & for gentleman at five pounds a time.

Good news on the archaeology front. An archaeology team of eight, led by Naomi Woodward, is coming to Stronsay in the Autumn to continue with their excavations for four weeks. The SDT (Stronsay Development Trust) are running a raffle called "Dig Deep for the Archaeology Team!" to help to raise funds for the archaeologists accommodation. If anyone wishes to make a donation they may do so through the SDT Secretary who is "Julia Crocker, Clifton, Stronsay, Orkney, KW17 2AR"; Julia will issue a GiftAid form if applicable.

Cheese plant flower
Cheese plant about to engulf Margareth?
Cheese plant flower and fruit
Mother-in-laws tongue
Posted on Claremont at 18:34

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