I am collecting stories in a variety of ways while I am here; some are written, some are recited, some are recorded and some are transitory. A lot of the stories I have been told and interesting morsels of information that I have picked up have occurred in the course of conversations that have happened naturally and have not been recorded until later. I feel a certain amount of the charm of these stories is in the voicing of them; in the accents and expressions which are lost when written down or retold. There are also some stories which have slipped through my memory much to my distress; however the important thing is that they were told. For the duration of the conversation a connection is made between the contributors, information is exchanged be it simple pleasantries or more personal accounts and a certain bond is created even if it is only a temporary one. Each conversation I have had has taught me something new. With each conversation a new connection has been made and each conversation has been thoroughly enjoyable.
As is often the case the weather has be a consistent topic in the sparking of conversation. One woman said there were no bad days in Orkney, just atmospheric ones and another lady described Orkney as having 9 months of winter and 3 months of bad weather. However despite the jokingly disparaging comments I have been struck by the number of times elements of weather have been mentioned in the stories and recollections. Often it is the air that has been described to me, either commenting on the comparative freshness of Orkneys air as opposed to other places or the feel of the air. Arthur, who described the difference between his experience of the Netherlands and Orkney in terms of the air, told me that he disliked the still, cold air of the Netherlands stating that it was “like being in a fridge” and that he much preferred the lively, damp air of Orkney. I wonder if this is because the weather is such an important part of life in the Orkney Islands with professions that involve being out in all conditions such as fishing and farming being so prominent.
Today I sat and watched a fishing boat leave the harbour, as the boat disappeared from view the rain began to fall, softly soaking Stromness.