Highs and Lows on Hoy and Shows

It’s become a habit of mine to start my blog posts with an apology so I’ll begin by saying that it is an artistic decision to keep my updates irregular so that you, my marvellous reader(s), will only cherish these rare pearls all the more.

I’ve joined the Stromness Drama Club’s Fiddler on the Roof chorus, singing the tenor line. It is a musical I have always been fond of, not least because it was probably the first one I ever saw when my dad was in the KAOS (Kirkwall Amateur Operatic Society) production. I remember being enthralled by the songs, which I can recall vividly, but not quite understanding the plot. Since then I have been a fan of musicals (don’t judge.) Though I don’t actively seek them out, when I do get the chance to see one the songs reverberate inside my head for weeks. Of course, musicals can be a force for evil as well and just as any medium does, it has its highs and lows (if you’ll pardon the pun.)

A particularly cringe-worthy example is the horrific Little Shop of Horrors which I had the misfortune to witness on holiday in Perthshire. A talented cast, grant them that, but god-awful in almost every other aspect.

Last week I was out on the breath-taking and untamed landmass of Hoy undertaking my Silver Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition. Five of us set out to conquer the “high” island, equipped with three tents, two trangia camping stoves and a seemingly endless supply of snacks. On the boat out from Houton Homes under the Hammer would be our last window into the outside world before we returned to the sanctuary of our own.

Day one, spirits were high as we came into the tranquil haven of Little Rackwick. The Gold group, who had already set up camp, were there to greet us in their iridescent fluorescence of high-vis gear. As we were the first to arrive out of the two Silver groups, we bagged the ideal camping spots and then proceeded to cook our rather ill-conceived stir-fry hastily prepared in a flurry of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar the previous night. Regardless results were relatively fruitful despite the tepid spaghetti accompaniment. A night of wild and enthused ukulele jams ensued. Several trangia dents later it was time for bed.

Next morning with a belly full of porridge the viscosity of tar we were ready to hug the coast and head for the real deal: the tropical paradise of Rackwick Bay. Throughout the day our navigational confidence grew and it was just as well because as the luxurious complex of the bothy came into view, so too the fog descended. Generous helpings of pasta mince were devoured and snap peas were distributed lavishly before as the night drew in; we absconded to the beach where the blue-haired maiden and her entourage had set a blaze which alighted the smoothness of the rounded beach stones.

The consistency of our sustenance improved on the morn of our third day but otherwise things seemed bleak. We woke to an inescapable dampness which diminished our horizons. Still, hope was not lost and the Gold group were to lead us confidently to the hospitality of Beneth’ Hill. The wind buffeted us mercilessly on the summit of the Cuillags but as we scrambled perilously down we were rewarded with a vision of the road to freedom! We got to the café and triumphantly flung our bags down outside. The fire-setter took my order and a coffee was dutifully delivered. After fondling my colleague’s salad, I rewarded the service with a 33.333…% tip and left the establishment content but sore and tired.   

About alasdairflett

German & English Literature graduate. From Orkney. Interested in alternative and indie music, language, writing and politics.
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