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Happy Valley first visit
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Happy Valley first visit

Cannot quite remember if this is 1985 or 86 as I was at an archaeological dig both years. Took my daughter with me to meet Mr Harrald and ask if we could look at Happy Valley, he agreed and took us around personally....telling my daughter that the fuchsia flowers, which were dropping of the bushes and into the little stream, were fairies going for a swim! when we got back to the house we were invited in and he asked my daughter if she would like to feed the birds, she said yes and belive it or not.. he whistled in some wild birds (don't ask we what they were! small and with feathers is the best I can do) which he had obviously tamed. I remember seeing a brass (or some kind of metal)fiddle/violin hanging on the wall the first I had seen which had not been made of wood, although I have seen several since -- in Museums.

My daughter was enchanted, by the place and by the man and she was quite upset - now a 30-somthing - to hear that he had died.

Lovely place
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Picture added on 28 October 2008
I was taken to to Happy Valley to see all the wonders created by Edwin Harrald. It was indeed a privilage to meet the man, a really nice person with a twinkle in his eye.
As we were shown around by Edwin, a family fea sooth, arrived the father looked rather aloof and was lighting his pipe and had no idea that what he had come to see was all Edwins years of toil and creativity.
Edwin says to the rather self important man (Dae you smokk a lot) and he having no idea what the question was replyed pardon, to which Edwin replyed (Yead be far better chowan hid hid wid dae yae far more good)The aloof man left thinking he had no time to talk to this rather strange man, little did he know the strange man, had created such a splendid place in Orkneys ritch tapestry that we hope will be admired for generations to come.
People have been given an M.B.E. for lesser works!!.

Added by John Budge on 29 October 2008
"People have been given an M.B.E. for lesser works!!."
Yes indeed John. A great Orcadian was that (card-carrying) OB.
Added by Sterlingstarling on 29 October 2008
I dont know who you are Sterlingstarling, my comment was not directed at anyone in particular I was only saying there are many who have done so much to enrich our heritage and have not been recognised by society for their valuable work.
Added by John Budge on 30 October 2008
My late husband knew Ned very well from when he was a child. He and his brother lived with Ned's sister while their parents were abroad. Ned taught them to play chess and they spent a lot of time visiting him. We always called on him when we came to Orkney (my husbands family moved south eventually) with a bottle of whisky for him which he very much enjoyed. He would make us a drink, heating up the water on his paraffin stove and we would sit in front of his fire speaking of the old times. He was a wonderful man and I am so pleased that his home is to be preserved. I have photos taken inside, also some with Ned and his tame Rook. I took my son to see Happy Valley last time we were in Orkney (2 yrs ago) and I am sad that he never got the chance to meet Ned, or in fact visit Orkney with his father, who died when my son was six. The magic of the place is still there, as I am sure is the spirit of Ned.
Added by Ann Hutchison on 09 November 2008
I was talking to an old friend today about Happy Valley and what a wonderful place it is. I thought as I had a spare 5 mins I would look it up. We had many a delightful afternoon there as children. Many of you have spoken so fondly of Edwin & all the wonders of the little piece of heaven he created. He created his own electricity from the watermill, smoked his own fish, the whole place was self sufficient. I am so glad to hear that it will be preserved, and further enjoyed by many. He was a very funny man our Uncle Ned. Enjoy
Added by Nicola Kelly on 07 July 2010
I grew up minutes from happy valley and my family became very good friends with Edwin, he was an incredible man and i have many fond memories of visiting him in his wonderful house and breath taking Gardens. It really was magical!
Added by Emma Myers on 26 September 2010
visited the happy valley a few years ago and stayed with the harrald family went to a wedding with there daughter anne not been in touch for a long while came across letters a wee while ago hope thay are all doing well if they read this hope they will get in touch from the fishermen from ayrshire
Added by Chic Hood on 15 February 2011
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