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Sanday in Bloom –

 

the Soulka weekend

 

Thanks to colossal support from residents

 

(and especially to the hosts of Open

 

gardens, studios, model railway) and from

 

the many visitors attracted by the lure of a

 

Sanday Soulka, the island was really

 

buzzing with action at the weekend.

 

Visiting artistes drew packed houses – No

 

Soond,

 

 

 

Nunatak,

 

 

 

Dennis Alexander’s

 

Scotch Broth (for youngsters)

 

 

 

and Songs, Stories and Downright Lies,

 

 

 

and Dickie Hall’s fascinating illustrated talk about

 

day-to-day life on an Antarctic base –

 

Dingle Days.

 

 

Saturday afternoon began with junior

 

games, then senior netball and inter-parish

 

football – Lady victorious, happy and

 

glorious. The Queen met the Mad Hatter

 

at a stunning Fancy Dress parade;

 

 

the Soulka-man was there,

 

 

and so were the glamour-boys and girls of

 

Grease

 

 

- even the Grim Reaper on horseback

 

 

leading a colourful array of

 

Saddle Club members.

 

 

Rangers – Still

 

Game – were one of three superb floats.

 

 

 

Oz Renewables....

 

 

... and Rod the Ranger distracted by Birds/Burds

 

The Antarctic theme continued at Heilsa

 

Fjold, where an expedition tent set up on

 

the grass,

 

 

 

and supervised by Dickie Hall

 

and Ian Potton (ex-Loganair, now

 

Antarctic, pilot) and Dr. Petra Potton had a

 

continual stream of visitors, while an

 

exhibition inside contrasted modern life

 

with the conditions endured by Captain

 

Scott a century ago.

 

Stromness Pipe Band gave a superb

 

performance as the crowd gathered for the

 

 

start of the Fun Run/Walk/Cycle/Cavalry in

 

aid of the RNLI – and our own William

 

Sichel – resplendent in Olympic Torch-

 

bearer’s tracksuit, was able to manipulate

 

both Torch and foghorn to set off participants.

 

 

 

 

After that, there was a brisk

 

trade at all of the many stalls as Rock the

 

Bikeshed opened up. At last the Soulka,

 

like the St. Magnus Festival, has become

 

international; we had an Italian stall selling

 

wooden flowers,

 

 

and the queues were

 

almost as long as those heading for the

 

Lifeboat Guild’s hot dogs and hamburgers.

 

We were delighted to welcome the Young

 

Westray Band,

 

 

first live act on the

 

Bikeshed stage; then later Sanday’s Fancy

 

Brothers  with Ali Make-Em

 

 

 

urging us to

 

remember the Pantomime chorus. Graham

 

(Skid) Clarke had the most hectic weekend

 

of anyone – he was one of the Sanday

 

Ranger float – not Still Game, but the Burd

 

Watchers (and how the Ranger must envy

 

them their close-ups of that pair of

 

Red-rumped Swallows), then he

 

masterminded Sanday’s victory at the Eday

 

Fives, and returned for the Bikeshed gig!

 

The Soulka Grand Raffle Prize Draw was

 

followed by the auction of a Bill McArthur

 

seascape – and together these two events

 

helped to keep the Soulka balance-sheet

 

positive. Special congratulations to the

 

lucky winner of the very rare Soulka-mug,

 

and to the young lady whose daughter felt

 

a cookery-book would be a good birthday

 

present, but whose man thought she’d

 

prefer the beautiful painting of Lopness

 

Bay. The Lifeboat Guild haven’t yet done

 

the final reckoning, but are confident that

 

they raised over £600 during the weekend!

 

 

Sunday night at Kettletoft was scheduled

 

for ‘relaxing and unwinding’ – but the

 

throng was still in party-mood to enjoy

 

further appearances from Nunatak

 

and Dennis Alexander.

 

 

Don’t forget, there’s one more Soulka.

 

Following Show Day on Friday 3rd August,

 

there’s the big Saturday Sea-Angling

 

competition – and the open-air barbecues

 

and Strip-the-Willow; then the fantastic

 

Feast of Orkney fare on Sunday. If you

 

didn’t see all of the island’s 40 verge-side

 

planters this time, they will be even more

 

colourful next time.

 

 

Keep checking

 

www.sandaysoulka.org.

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