22:03. Oh, bollocks it’s too late to call now. It’s past ten.
Punch the numbers in to the phone screen (telephone receivers are of a bygone age), tap tap tap and then ring ring - I hope it’s not too late. I don’t want to wake them up on a Monday night…
Granny: Hello Burray 236?
Rimi: Happy Birthday Granny! Sorry it’s so late, I just forgot but I knew it was today, I meant to call earlier and I wanted to send you a card but I forgot - and I know I called yesterday, on Sunday, but I completely forgot it was your birthday today and I really I just wanted to really say happy birthday.
Granny: Oh thank you darling.
Rimi: Happy Birthday. Have you had a nice day - what did you do?
Granny: We went out for dinner
Rimi: Ooh that’s nice. Where did you go?
Granny: To the Sands Hotel.
Rimi: Lovely. What did you eat?
Granny: Well, for my main course I had lamb
Rimi: Lamb! That’s different.
Granny: I like lamb, but your Grancha doesn’t like lamb.
Grancha: I do like lamb… (mumble mumble muffled words)
Granny: Did you hear that?
Rimi: No, not quite.
Granny: Grancha says he does like lambs but only when they’re in a field.
Rimi: That’s sweet
Granny: Not to eat.
Rimi: Yes, I got that.
Chuckles again (she has a nice chuckle, like a clucking hen)
Rimi: So how old are you?
Granny: Do you really want to know?
Rimi: Wow. That’s not a number you hear too often is it.
Granny: That’s right. I’m old old old!
Rimi: But you’ve still got the spirit!
Granny: Yes, I suppose I do.
Rimi: What did Grancha have for dinner?
Granny: What did Grancha have for dinner? What did you have for dinner…
Grancha: I had… (mumble mumble muffled words)
Granny: Oh I remember! Grancha had scallops and some Orkney cheese.
Granny: And for pudding he had... what did you have?
Granny: My brain’s a bit tired so I’m trying to think
Rimi: Take your time
Granny: A white chocolate tear-drop!
Rimi: A white chocolate tear-drop?
Granny: Yes a white chocolate tear-drop. I’ll get him on the phone so he can tell you about it. He’s dozing off but I know he’d like to tell you himself.
Granny: Bye for now –
Switched receivers (they still have receivers in Orkney)
Grancha: Hullo sweetie-pie
Rimi: Hello Grancha!
Grancha: Are you well?
Rimi: Yes thanks. Tell me about your truffle.
Grancha: My what?
Rimi: Your truffle; the pudding you had at the Sands.
Grancha: Well it wasn’t a truffle
Granny: It was like a… (mumble mumble higher pitched muffled sounds)
Grancha: Ooh, my white chocolate tear-drop.
Rimi: Yes, tell me about that.
Grancha: Well it was quite difficult to eat actually.
Rimi: How so?
Grancha: Couldn’t break easily through the shell. Was like trying to eat an egg with a small spoon – a hard boiled egg. I’ll pass you back to Granny now.
Grancha: Love you lots
Rimi: Love you too Grancha, sleep well.
Granny: Well thank you for calling my dear, it’s really rounded off the day splendid.
Rimi: I love you Granny.
Granny: I love you too. Now good luck moving off the boat, I think you’ve probably stayed on the boat long enough now. It must be getting cold on the river?
Rimi: It is. Autumn’s setting in.
Granny: Time to find a new home but you know you can always come back here whenever you want. We’ll be waiting for you.
Rimi: I know. Love you. Good night. And happy birthday.
Click goes the sound of their receiver and I can hear the ducks quacking up at the moon outside. It’s probably time to go ashore.