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
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 –
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
- even the Grim Reaper on horseback
leading a colourful array of
Saddle Club members.
Rangers – Still
Game – were one of three superb floats.
... and Rod the Ranger distracted by Birds/Burds
The Antarctic theme continued at Heilsa
Fjold, where an expedition tent set up on
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
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
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.