Hokey Pokie in Orkney - A Pokémon Catching Journey
Yesterday evening a Taillow arrived in the garden and perched on the washing line.
Outside two girls found Chikorita telling cow jokes to a gathered audience.
Along the path to Barswick the gentle Lapras surfaced.
In the distance Pidgey was telling bedtime stories to a cow.
Now things were hotting up as a Vulpix appeared and startled a cyclist.
As they journeyed to Saint Margaret’s Hope above they saw an Airbus A330 Dusseldorf to Los Angeles being overtaken by a Latias.
In ‘The Hope’ Lucario was helping out at Roberton’s Coffee Hoose and Bar
Down the road at The Murray Arms the regulars were joined by Sudowoodo who wanted directions to Olaf’s woods to hide in.
All part of the charm that is the Happy Island of South Ronaldsay.
Pokemon sprites are the copyright of their respective creators.
Washoku - World Heritage Cuisine - A Farmers Choice
Seven years ago we wrote that ‘Great Food, Good Fun and Genuine Friendship are equal partners at Eastward House’. Two days ago we met four cheerful friends from Orkney that exemplified the mantra and came for a foodie treat to celebrate a birthday.
From Canapés and nine servings of an exciting dining experience to a three course gourmet breakfast the morning after, we can’t print the laughter and happiness but here is the exquisite food.
Very Fresh sushi with genuine Japanese freshly rubbed wasabi. Featuring, hand dived scallops, organic salmon and Westray crab.
Sashimi salmon and mackerel with yuzu pepper.
Tataki seared Tuna
Hotaté local hand-dived Scallop
Tempura Monk fish tails, haddock
Plum wine sorbet
Teriyaki fillet beef
Double chocolate birthday cake.
Green Tea fondant au chocolat, Green Tea misu, Green tea syrup.
This was a dining experience where people talked about Japanese customs, culture, food and ate Washoku cuisine. All within a setting reflecting something of the characteristics of Japan.
Starting the day in the customary manner of a farmer, a quiet walk in the countryside before breakfast.
Three course Gourmet Breakfasts
Happy fruit first followed by addictive porridge.
Some chose salmon - Some chose Provencal beef.
From Oxford to Orkney for a Wild Night
A delightfully charming lady and a modest gentleman fellow from Henley in Oxonford, ventured forth to Orkney and settled down to the nutritious enrichment of ‘The Orcadian Feast’. A feast in only four courses sounds like a veritable contradiction in terms. But this feast has two sumptuous main courses.
Here is the actual Orcadian Feast as it happened:
Mussels with freshly baked bere bannock made with bere meal (an ancient strain of barley) milled at Barony Mill, Orkney.
We are hunter gatherers and as we trek through forest and fields in pursuit of our wild boar, we eat whatever fruit, berries and leaves we can find en-route.
'Wild Boar' 5 hour slow roasted, served with sauteed peaches, pickled walnuts and roasted peppered plums
Wild boar from Bonar Bridge, Sutherland.
Slow Cooked Venison
Slow cooked in bottles of Burgundy with roasted beetroot, roasted chestnuts, celeriac, parsnips, carrots, potatoes and spinach.
Highland venison from Sutherland.
Extremly light goosbery misu.
And Then . . . The Walk
After espresso coffees our intrepid guests embarked upon a late evening constitutional walk through the enchantment of pastureland and seascapes in the surrounding escarpment that is the happy island of South Ronaldsay.
They came upon the glass finished waters garnishing the Hoy filled horizon that was kissed with the feint blush of a vanishing sunset.
Within a few minutes more, the lonely island of Swona and misty Scotland in the background.
Then some farm equipment rusting into a photographic artwork.
And Then The Bull Run
With great wisdom and having consideration to the boar and venison that they had not long since devoured, our honourable friends chose not to accept the challenge of the Barswick Bull Run on this occasion. Perhaps next time!
Beyond the tourist façade . . .
Surrounded by pristine waters of the North Sea and the Atlantic ocean and in sight of Scotland, the peaceful, close-to-nature peoples of Orkney flourish.
From historic roots in farming and fishing these individual masters of agriculture and aquaculture have also fostered their own unique culture of hospitality. Together with fresh farm produce and freshly harvested seafood there is an unpretentious welcome of friendship, service and quality provisions. All set against a background of sharing a rich historic legacy of their Neolithic and Palaeolithic forefathers with curious visitors from across the globe.
Monumental constructions have prevailed, from historic feats of mankind’s endeavour to fulfilling roles of vitality in this 21st century community. Paramount in this scene is the 12th century architectural masterpiece of Kirkwall Cathedral. Its historic stature is a centrepiece for all Orcadian peoples, radiating vibrant cultural waves far beyond its religious heartbeat. From piano recitals, Elizabethan choristers, weddings and a glorious setting for an international music festival the iconic Cathedral touches the hearts of both Orcadian folk and admiring visitors alike.
For all of its vibrant culture, its world-class archaeology and its breath-taking topology there is a greater prize for those that pierce the tourist facade. It is peace. Peaceful lifestyles from living in harmony with nature: peace of mind from living in harmony with fellow humans in a low-crime environment: peace of mind to live in fresh air, unpolluted atmospheres, pristine waters and temperate weather patterns which rarely freeze and never blister.
Beyond the tourist sights lies a haven of natural hospitality, warmth and friendliness from a people proud of their culture, environment and close-to-nature lifestyles. From across the planet visitors reflecting upon their ancient roots by viewing Skara Brae, Maeshowe and the myriad of archaeological wonders, should also make time to experience nature. Clifftop walks, hillsides, coastal pathways, birding and the like create enduring memories of refreshing and rejuvenating holidays.
Meanwhile . . .
For those that seek out the true natural splendour and beauty of these islands there are many unspoiled places. On the happy island of South Ronaldsay, sheltered around a natural harbour lies the quaint village of St Margaret’s Hope, unspoiled by the march of time. Here is sheep that have taken their coats off to bask in the sun by the sea.
Alongside its blacksmith’s workshop, craft centre, church and community hall, there is a flourishing vibrancy of hospitality fostered by the new generation of Orcadian service providers. The Murray Arms combines the atmosphere of a traditional pub with local fare of fresh seafood, a welcoming insight into village life for causal visitors and bed and breakfast guests.
Moving with the times Robertson’s Coffee Hoose and Bar by day transforms into an eclectic cocktail bar and live music venue in the evenings.
it's a pleasant place to tarry while sipping Orkney gin or munching a scrummy home-baked coffee and walnut delight.
St Margaret’s Hope is the fast sea-going gateway to Orkney courtesy of Pentland Ferries.
Set in the idyllic rural pastureland of the happy Island of South Ronaldsay is the home of the Missing Bell at Eastward House.
Here is view from above the Missing Bell:-
In addition to traditional fare, high quality local and regional produce become the essence of exquisite international cuisine celebrating the best of other island nations such as Polynesian and Japanese cuisine from The Missing Bell at Eastward Guest House. Maintaining a traditional link with the past is ‘The Orcadian Feast’ with its Palaeolithic elements of seafood, wild boar and venison.
Be happy, Be healthy,
Puffin photo at Birsay courtesy of guest David Kroemer.
"This church had 134 years of weddings, blessings and Sunday school; it must be Inculcated with love, the walls must exude happiness and joy." Keiko Yamaga-White November 2007