Sunday, 30 August 2009

Drinks for the chicks

Well the sign says it all. It is not at first clear why there are so many dodgy drinks shops. On our first visit to the supermarket we bought some Tonic then went looking for the gin. We had to ask as we couldn't find any..a look of disbelief on the assistants face should have been a warning. The two guys helping her unload the crates of NZ wine came over and asked "What do they want??" We tried the gin word again "You can't buy that stuff here, mate." Well Janet survived here 6 moths so it must be possible we thought. When we stood our ground and said "OK, so where can you buy gin?" She said "Try Liquor Land" making it sound like an imaginary country beyond the state border. Thankfully we found a Liquor Store serving missionaries in plane black carrier bags, and then we noticed a lemon tree just outside our bedroom window. Ahhhhh it's got to be Gordontons!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Yes it is true they have a special road for people to go to when they feel sick. I took a drive down it yesterday and sure enough it had a deep ditch either side of the road. Some of the road signs really catch your attention however the speed limit signs are tiny and insignificant by comparison which was why I was surprised to be stopped for speeding this week. The Policeman was well worth stopping to see (I do admit) and as he let me off being an innocent newcomer I was quite happy with his performance. Perhaps it can be blamed on having another RAV as the last few times I was stopped for speeding in the UK it was in the red RAV, or maybe it is just the speed - I'd better stop taking it.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Here's looking at you

We were missing you...we couldn't even see you on facebook since Donald changed his account so we developed our own facebook wall. And here it is... well it is in our sitting room really...

Thank you Truprint for 50 free prints and thanks to you guys for the memories, here's looking at you!

Friday, 21 August 2009

The King and Us

Today they celebrated the third anniversary of the King's coronation. We had been invited by a local Maori pastor to go in to the Marae with him and watch the festivities. Can you imagine semi naked men dancing with spears wearing only warpaint and grass skirts? Well, you will have to imagine them as we were not allowed any cameras. The singing was amazing as well as the dancing and the terrifying Haka each tribe performed. As the King sat watching each group in the heat of the sun. our friend pointed out the times when he put his sunglasses on so he could snooze amidst the noise. We seemed to be the only pakeha faces there but folk were friendly and even sang Flower of Scotland to us, well .... sort of!

While there was all this music and dancing before the king, the rest of the tribesmen were battling it out on the rugby pitch. A huge new trophy was to be presented and the tribal cheifs needed it to be blessed before they could use it. At just the moment our friend was showing us the spring where the King's water came from the chiefs showed up amazed that the pastor was there already when they arrived to use the water in a blessing ceremony. They asked our friend to pray and bless the trophy and then they thanked us for being the means of the minister being there at the right time. Can't see that happening at the Parish Cup!

Chiropractor's collapsing cOUCH!

We went to consult a local chiropractor today for Fiona's dodgy hip and back. He was an ex rugby player with the surname "Hooker". We should have been worried. His technique was robust to say the least but as Les sat outside the consulting room he heard wallops and clatters which caused alarm... in fact the whole couch was designed so that when he applied force down on Fiona's back the couch collapsed under that part of her so she didn't get crushed. Nifty design but nobody told Les. At least the bill wasn't painful by British standards. We will let you know if the "All Back's" technique has the desired effect.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


The Pink Rav 4 won by 11 votes - the only person rating the blue truck was Cameron.
Les got 21 in his class mark and Fiona got 23 (turns out Macedonia hadn't moved after all.)
The scores on water direction are not conclusive. Papay is anticlockwise, and Westray will let us know when they next wash... for the scientists it appears it is all to do with plumbing, thanks for the explanations Brian and James and thanks Lesley for the link. Read more here

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Sunday Constitutional

It is Sunday so we did the Orcadian thing after lunch and went for "a run". We even bought a lolly at a "Dairy" which is the equivalent of a village shop/corner store. We even had a walk between downpours. There has been a demption of rain over the weekend and you could easily grow rice on our lawn today. The students were out after a bonfire last night having mud fights and even sliding through the mud on a boogie board - The Hagan's would have been in heaven!

So today the blossoms are amazingly still on the trees and the lilies are still growing by the river which is at least 2 foot closer this morning. They neither toil nor spin but even Solomon wasn't as well dressed as these beauties!

We also visited a Historic house nearby where we found out that this area gets its name from John Gordon from Aberdeenshire who developed most of this reclaimed land and had 3 wives in succession - here's to the Gordons!

Friday, 14 August 2009


Been a week of quizzes as they cheerfully call tests here. Firstly at college we had to write down our memory verses (eek!) and plot all the places from epistles on a blank map. Thankfully we had already visited Malta, Crete & Cyprus or we would have had 3 less marks. By the time we got to see the answers several notable landmarks had moved it seemed. The Holm of Sicily was nowhere to be seen! Then we took a busload of Maori folk to the local museum as part of a community project and we were given quiz sheets to complete. (Just like Camp really.) The museum does house a massive Waka (war canoe) and having just seen the big Indian canoe paddling round Westray at the regatta it appears there is huge similarity between the boats of First Nations people. (Apart from the Papay lugsails that is!)

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Which Car 2009?

Well friends we thought it would be good to involve you in our search for a vehicle. We have trawled the county for something suitable and it comes down to Blue or Pink - we can only have one remember and a back seat for visitors would be handy. Every vote counts!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Perishing Palm Trees

Looks idylic I know, blue skies, palm trees, colourful birds but really, truly it is perishing and central heating has not yet been invented. I have on 5 layers already and that's before we go outdoors. Please tell Kitty I am converted to wrapping up warm. I have the electric blanket set to high all day so I can nip in and defrost between lectures. Les has been out painting tree houses today as his practical task while I was cataloguing books in the library. Got our first assignment on Corinthians handed in this morning so now we are on to Romans. The joys...

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Brunch & Burds

Saturday saw an easy start - we were invited to brunch with Martin & Joyce Campbell who are on the College staff. Martin stayed with us about 14 years ago and we loved meeting his wife and 3 great sons, one of whom gets baptised tomorrow. Les loved the waffles and pancakes with maple syrup while Fiona downed 4 mugs of great coffee. Food on campus is also delicious and the local eatery does oyster or scallop burgers as well as Pattie Suppers if you want them. There just aren't enough mealtimes to eat everywhere.

Well , while at brunch we watched these cute peedie fantails dancing round the garden, quite close up they don't seem to mind humans. We hear bird chirrup at first light (including a cockeral sadly) and today the cows were boglan to get shifted. They did get shifted and we were amused to see they were put in a field with jumps still set up from the gymkhana - we will let you know if the cows jump over the moon. And YES the moon is upside down and it is waning the wrong way!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Los Cowans en Casa

So faithful follower(s) this is our house, we live in between a lovely Korean couple with two kids and 5 single women of at least 4 different origins. Les is in clover. We struggle to learn the names and have to test each other on pronounciation without giggling. We have two bedrooms one of which we use to study. Our kitchen is well equipped, considering all our meals are made, and we have a dining/living room, a bath/showeroom with a separate toilet, like the toffs.

Tomorrow is our 28th wedding anniversary and we plan to buy a tub of flowers for the front of the house the Korean couple have a tub of leeks growing - we suspected at first they would be welsh.
Tonight we mark the end of week one with a night doing our first assignment on 2nd Corinthians, as you can see Les is at it already while I blog....

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

3 Airports

Three airports worth a mention this week
1. Dubai - why had nobody told me there are no toilets in the ladies - just a hole in the floor with two grabrails! Anyone else in transit take note.
2. Melbourne - as you walk into arrivals there is this massive picture of the Ring of Brodgar - it happens to advertise Highland Park but also puts Orkney on the map in a big way.
3. Auckland - we all had to put our bags on to the floor on arrival to let this gorgeous wee spaniel sniff them. He never lifted and eyebrow (or leg) at ours but we did see him barking at one girl's bag until she took out a mars bar - (no foods allowed into NZ due to restrictions) Good Dog - but no biscuit.

The Wedding

Saturday was a great wedding with Amy & Stuart having a ball and many friends present to witness the happy event. Attached is the Scott Clan - all in the one country for once and how funny that it was England. (Try Zimbabwe next time Julie?)

Several folk pictured here are on the move: The Hirsts returning to Orkney, Ruth to NZ two weeks after us, Kirsty to Aberdeen, Jules back to Zimbabwe in September, Donald to the rest of the world..... and the bride and groom apparently left headed for the Maldives. Enjoy

Cowans Countdown

Well folks our family plans for this Summer were to go to Florida to watch the shuttle launch scheduled for July 30th. God had other plans and instead we were together as a Family for nephew Stuart's wedding to Amy in Market Harbourough on 1st August and left for New Zealand to start Bible College on 2nd August! Andrew returned the same day to Edinburgh for work and Donald headed off for Spain via London to start his gap year.

Our business is being babysat by our friend Sarah, our car is being minded by our friend Cameron and our house is being occupied by our neighbour's son and his wife. Our Great Big Blog is being read by you ..... so thanks to everybody, but especially to God who has made all this possible despite having a very short time to change track.