Listening to: Combat Rock (The Clash)
Weather: wind hammering the front of the house
My mum visited us in Westray for the first time last month. She travelled by train from Exeter to Aberdeen, took the ferry over to Kirkwall before moving on to see us - pretty fair going for an 80-year-old.
The force is certainly strong in the old girl and her mind is still sharp as a tack, even if she has fully embraced the 'mad old lady' thing. A lifelong academic - she was one of only a handful of female undergraduates at Trinity College, Dublin in the late 40s - she spent a good bit of time studying in in the family history section of Kirkwall Library.
Among the Irishmen of various shades of orange, a smattering of English Midlanders and the occasional 'continental' in my family background is my mother's grandfather James Bews, a farmer from Tankerness on Orkney Mainland.
I won't bore you with the mass of information unearthed, but Mum traced the family back to the mid-1700s, discovering in the process that James was running the family farm at the age of 15 before heading south in 1879. His silver medal for ploughing, won in 1874, is on display in Kirkwall's museum.
We did a little tour of East Mainland and found the old house and, after asking permission from the current tenant, took a few pictures which, obviously, won't be appearing on t'int.
What Mum didn't find was any living relative - possibly a good thing, although it would have made for a more interesting blog post than this is turning out to be. All our close family in Orkney are in Tankerness Hall cemetery. . .
That's my great, great, great grandparents. . .
. . . and that's my great grandfather's little brother. I was interested, although I can't imagine you would be.
I've no idea what this is all meant to mean, although I suppose it does give me some sort of blood tie to the place - if that's important.