Sunday, October 25, 2015

Seeking the Stroma Phone Box

A little over a year ago, I posted Musings on Small Scottish Islands, in which I discussed Stroma and Foula. The other day, I was reading the Wikipedia article about Stroma, and it settled - with reckless abandon - a question I had from last year with respect to where that photo of Stroma's telephone booth was. And I quote:

For many years, the islanders had no means of contacting the mainland in emergencies other than signalling with hand lamps and hoping that someone would see them. A radio telephone was installed in 1935, and in 1953 a telephone cable was laid. A red telephone box was installed in the centre of the island, symbolic of the 6 millionth phone box installation in the UK. It is still there today, though no longer in use.

I looked at that photo I posted and proposed that the phone box was probably located near here. Well, I was right, because if you look at this Wikipedia photo that shows both the phone box and the church, you can see from the shadow that this is the church's steeple, so based on the angle (which suggests that the satellite photo was probably taken in the middle of the afternoon), this little shadow is the phone box. Of course, the photo makes it brutally obvious, particularly when you check out that red shipping container to the north of the church.

It's yet another good lesson, though I'd have preferred a bit more of a challenge... But more on that in a future post.

ER II Surpasses VR

While I was in Scotland, I wrote a series of posts on the royal cyphers. This included features on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. The latter sovereign recently surpassed the former's record as the longest-reigning monarch in British history. My favorite feature on the event came from the BBC, which published a pictorial entitled Queen Elizabeth II, 63 years in 63 pictures - and the photo for 1979 features Queen Elizabeth's 1979 visit to Oman, and a young-ish Sultan Qaboos!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Island Paradise: Recent Bits and Bobs

About a month ago, I posted the definitions of all of the words from the 2014/'15 season of Whassigo on BBC Radio Orkney. Wednesday marked the 2015/'16 season premier of Whassigo, and I've already started keeping track of the words and their definitions. That potentially saves me the trouble of listening to each episode all over again like I did earlier this year, but I may end up doing that anyway.

As I was listening, I tried to look up one of the words. I didn't have access to my copy of The Orkney Dictionary, but a few months ago I discovered an old book online: An etymological glossary of the Shetland & Orkney dialect; with some derivations of names of places in Shetland. It didn't have the word I was looking for (and I just checked, neither does The Orkney Dictionary), but while I was looking for that book, I also found The Orkneys and Shetland; their past and present state. I'll probably peruse the latter on my Kindle to look for potential passages to use in my book.

So, what else has been going on in Orkney?

  • The Kirkwall constabulary worked with BBC Radio Orkney to try to reunite a stuffed lioness with its owner, though I'm not sure if the appeal was successful.
  • On a recent installment of the BBC Radio Orkney Postbag segment, a gentleman writer complained of sexual harassment by rowdy lasses at the pub when he'd elected to wear his kilt. (Skip to 24:24.)
  • The BBC mothership did a feature about the North Ronaldsay sheep. (I got a North Ronaldsay sheepskin for my parents before leaving Orkney in 2013.)

    Pretty soon, Orkney will be gearing up for the severe Winter gales. If you're Orcadian and you're reading this, good luck!