After three weeks confined pretty much to the house, I was going stir crazy. I took the opportunity of a necessary trip to the surgery this morning to grab my camera and see what I could see. I parked at The Croft and walked through the village to pick up my prescription and returned to The Croft to take a few photographs. More snaps really, as I am still not feeling great.
The Croft is a lovingly renovated and recreated traditional two-room but-and-ben cottage and forms part of our new Heritage Centre provision. The Croft cottage sits in a little fenced garden and sheep graze around it as they would in the past.
A blank unglazed door, without so much as a letter box to relieve it keeps out the Orkney winds and belies the warm welcome that would have awaited visitors.
With the open exposure across farmland and across Cata Sand to the machair dunes and beyond to the open sea, it was important to keep weather-tight.
Inside the door, in a small hallway, hangs the weskit that the crofter might have worn as he worked the land beyond the little fence. No doubt the charming floral cottage garden was the wife's responsibility! Beneath the hanging weskit stand boots and gaiters,
the crofter's wife would be house-proud and woe betide the man that sullied her freshly-swept floors with his muddy boots!
Signs of the pride in her house-keeping were everywhere inside the cottage.
In a traditional but-and-ben, both rooms would sport a box bed although one room would be for best and the other served as kitchen. Space was at a premium, especially for storage, and every nook and cranny was put to good use, with shelves over the beds.
The traditional Orkney Chair set by the fireside has a high wrap-around back to keep the draughts from the sitter's back. Very often the base of an Orkney Chair would offer useful extra storage space.
Function would be more important than form but that does not mean that the Orkney wife lacked a taste for decoration,
and she certainly liked to keep things nice. The lace curtains framing the best room window may well have been her pride and joy.
More images from today's outing can be seen at Flickr