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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht


Updated: Apr 16, 2019

Hamnavoe (aka Stromness)

I’m sitting in the Ferry Inn having a fish & chip dinner and half a pint of Scapa Special (Orkney brew). People are conversing while Liverpool plays Chelsea on the tv in the background.

It has been a bright, breezy day.

I marvel at this small seaside harbour town of Stromness. What a gem of a place, with it’s winding flagstone streets and beautiful, ancient architecture. This island world of sea and sky.

There is a true sense of community here - people from a variety of places with interesting stories to tell all coming to this pivotal harbour town in the islands where the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet.

Stromness is a magnet that draws people. I have spoken to folk who have moved here after only one visit. I can see why. There is something so compelling about this town which really gives a sense of welcome/home. I’m not surprised this place, along with the whole of Orkney, is considered one of the happiest places in Britain.

I’ve had so many great conversations and met so many wonderful people - a museum curator, professor of public health, copywriter, fisherman, Radio Orkney broadcaster, artists, banjo player, surfer & snake collector, hotel receptionist, printmaker, church minister, archaeologist, retired Australian home carer, MSP, storyteller…. people either blown over on the wind, or originally rooted in Orkney (Orcadians), weaving in and out of this place and each other’s lives; all making wonderful contributions to the community.

Someone today said that Orkney is not a place that waits for things to happen; it makes things happen. Maybe that is an aspect of island life and survival, which in turn brings people together.

I feel my work resonates with this surrounding. It has been great to have my paintings hanging in the Northlight Gallery, so close to the sea and harbour. Seeing the work in one space like this helps me to discern what direction to move in from here.

And move I must. I have a show in June and time is of the essence!

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