Monday, 19 March 2007

"You are an Orcadian if...."

Have nabbed this from Claremont, one of the bloggers on the ever-entertaining BBC (Scottish) Island Blogging service. It's a summary from an Orcadian (resident of the Orkney Islands) mailing list on local attributes. Many of these are directly applicable to residents of the Outer Hebrides; when you've lived up here a while, you'll realise how accurate they are...

  • You park your car facing into the wind to prevent door damage when you get out.

  • You take it as a personal insult if you have to show a card when writing a cheque.

  • You refuse to acknowledge the existence of a Shetland version of Strip the Willow.

  • Ferry journeys should be spent reading a book or sitting on a comfy seat rather than freezing outside.

  • You understand that 'cla thee hole' can be an affectionate tribute to your wit.

  • 'Reed cans' contain McEwan's Export.

  • Scotland is not the mainland.

  • You understand the merit of choosing your words carefully, then not saying them just to be on the safe side.

  • You know there is no difference between a 'ruckle o stones' and 'archaeological evidence of ritual practice'.

  • You eat Kettle Chips because the way they hurt your gums reminds you of Orkney Crisps.

  • You find trees fascinating and stare at them in amazement.

  • You feel faintly uncomfortable when there are no kye in ear-shot.

  • 30 second pauses in the midst of a conversation are normal.

  • You can hold a conversation for well over an hour consisting only of the words and phrases: "aye", "u-uh", "weel", "beuy", "this is it", "grand day fir it", and 30 second pauses.

  • Whisky is Grouse or HP.

  • You know exactly what "3rd cousin, once removed, on my mother's side" means, and exactly to whom it refers.

  • You are reduced to an incoherent spitting rage by gaelic language TV.


  1. Oh, that is absolutely brilliant! Despite not having lived in Orkney since I was 9, I still struggle with Scotland being the mainland, and I can see several of these attributes in friends. We had a family friend who filled his car doors with concrete to prevent them flying off in the wind.

  2. Kathryn Greenhill25 March 2007 at 19:27

    Just dropping by to say I love the photos on your blog. I've been following it for around 6? months now.I'm an Australian librarian who grew up reading "The Orcadian". My best friend's family was from Orkney and I looked forward to reading "Oor Wullie" and "The Broons" every week....of course months behind.My poor friend was puzzled one day when, in the middle of organising her elder daughter's wedding, her mum insisted they had to go into town to look at a bookcase. It was one of the very few occasions when she didn't understand the accent. After a few minutes of very confusing and frustrating talk, she realised her mum meant "bouquets".

  3. Do you know of any site where exiled orcadians can contact those still on the Islands or look up friends from their school days. Any help would be gratefully received. Thanks