I’m in Orkney working for a week.

“Did you walk past the PDC?”

My questioner is earnest. She is really interested in my answer. She wants to know which way I walked to work this morning. “Did you walk past the PDC?” What’s the PDC I wonder.

PDC? “Sorry”, I say.

“The PDC, did you walk past the PDC?” she says again.

I must look even more clueless than I sound. Someone takes pity on me, helps me and explains it’s the round piece of water just behind The Shore. “Oh, yes,” I say.

Later I look it up on the map. It’s the Peedie Sea. Peedie = Small and Sea = Sea.  I laugh because life South is so complicated and jargonistic I expect TLA’s * where there are none.

I walk home a different way, along the main street, Unusually there’s a big tree in the main street – there are few trees higher than bushes elsewhere. Walking home I buy a postcard and the assistant puts it in a peedie bag for me. I read the guidebook and look at the map: the big tree is called the Big Tree and the main street in Kirkwall is called the Main Street. I had actually walked home past the Big Tree on the Main Street, and not the big tree on the main street at all and I hadn’t even realised it.

I feel as if I’ve changed; at least a peedie bit.


* TLA’s = Three Letter Acronyms.

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