“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White
I am sitting on one of the most northerly islands of Orkney off the north coast of Scotland – my second home of Papa Westray (locally called “Papay” and all of 4 miles square). There is no way that I cannot enjoy the world when I am here – a community of 75 who “play well together” surrounded by the beauty of sea, sky, and farm fields. (We just finished 3 days of the eighth annual Papay Fun Weekend, with children’s and adult’s games, contests, and creativity, sharing of food, music, and dance.)
In the field to my south I see three “fat” sheep (looking like they could fall over because their coats are so full). I heard a shearer is due to fly in within the week, but the fog is delaying the 8-seater plane that services the island. The sheep remind me of a strange advertisement I saw at the top of the extra-long Heathrow escalator last year.
Having worked in the environmental conservation field for 20 years, I now look forward to improving the world in my own small way by opening my yarn and crafts shop next month, sharing my passion for using natural yarns, knitting, and weaving, and hoping to help keep sustainable fiber farms alive and well. In Orkney I like to knit with the local rare breed sheep’s wool (from North Ronaldsay sheep – shown on this website’s Home page – and Papay’s “Holmie Sheep”) and will work on designing a new knitting pattern for the shop.
I have recently found out my Great x ? grandfather was a Groat called Thomas from Papa Westray. His daughter was Rosina Groat who married James Robertson. They lived in Kirkwall and St.Ola. I am Joyce Settle and live in Cape Town. I belong to the Nutty Knitter Charity Group in Milnerton Cape Town South Africa. We knit every second Saturday afternoon at the Lions Clubhouse Milnerton. I am to be 70 next year and also have Golden Wedding next September. I plan to come to Papa Westray. I need to find kin. I knit Boobs for cancer patients – look at Knitted Knockers website. I also knit prem baby bonnets and occasionally shawls. My family were/are all knitters. It is in the genes. I would love to hear from your group and would like to be a ‘far away from home member’ if possible. Hope to meet the people and the sheep, regards Joyce
Hi Joyce, I’m glad you found my blog, but that post was written in 2013 when I was visiting Papa Westray but getting ready to open my yarn shop in Massachusetts. Fast forward to 5 years ahead, I am still in MA with my yarn shop, and still visit Papay, occasionally writing a blog post. I’m sorry I can’t help with your search for relatives or a knitting group. Best wishes, Liz