Orcadian Column, 11 August 2022

The start of show week is a further, welcome sign of a return to normal. Twelve months ago, the Sanday Show was the only one to go ahead, albeit largely restricted to those already on the island. This time round, it was back to being the first of a full slate of shows culminating in the Bignold Park, complete with its newly minted path network, for the County Show on Saturday.

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Orcadian Column, 30 June 2022

Holyrood rises for the summer recess later this week and I’m looking forward to some time spent at home, including attending the shows, getting out to the isles and generally catching up on things that prove impossible while parliament is in session.

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Orcadian Column, 16 June 2022

The Men’s Shed movement has been an under-sung success story since its emergence as a concept during the 1980s in Australia. Based on the premise that “men don’t talk face to face but shoulder to shoulder”, the movement has provided an excuse, opportunity and space within communities for older men to come together; to make friends while learning and sharing skills.

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Orcadian Column, 19 May 2022

“Ferries, ferries, ferries, ferries…. and then some more ferries. And did I mention the ferries?”  So tweeted SNP MP, Pete Wishart last Thursday, peeved by the questioning from opposition MSPs at First Minister’s Questions ‘every week’.

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Orcadian Column, 5 May 2022

With the return of the Orkney Rugby 7s last Saturday, the Picky was a riot of noise, colour and excitement from the minis tournament in the morning to the men’s final late in the afternoon. At the culmination of a season that has seen all the Orkney teams enjoy some measure of success, it was always going to be a day of celebration. Even the cool breeze and persistent drizzle couldn’t dampen spirits.

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Orcadian Column, 21 April 2022

Parliamentary recess provides the ideal opportunity for a spot of ‘island hopping’. So it was that last week I headed first south to Flotta and then north to Westray for surgeries and meetings with local residents. Days spent in the isles are always good for the soul, although Westray was notably quieter than usual due to a spike in Covid cases that had folks understandably wary about venturing out and about.

 

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Orcadian Column, 24 March 2022

Just over 25 years ago, my younger brother, Dugald was injured playing rugby. A tackle that went badly wrong left him paralysed from the shoulders down, overturning his world in an instant. Since then, Dug has rebuilt his life, fiercely defending his independence, overcoming obstacles on a daily basis and retaining his often wicked sense of humour. An inspiration in so many ways.

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Orcadian Column, 10 March 2022

Representing the islands in which I was fortunate to grow up has always been a source of enormous pride for me. I have rarely felt more proud of my community, however, than over the last fortnight as it has sought to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine.

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Orcadian Column, 11 February 2022

Chopping the bottom off classroom doors would be a madcap idea at almost any time, but it seems all the crazier when energy prices are going through the roof.

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Orcadian Column, 27 January 2022

Another week and news of another Downing Street party. This time, it was a ‘surprise’ birthday party for the Prime Minister in June 2020, though in fairness most parties seem to come as a surprise to Boris Johnson. It is alleged that Mr Johnson’s interior designer, Lulu Lytle also attended this illicit gathering, providing a neat crossover between the ‘partygate’ and wallpapergate’ scandals.

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