When the Wind is in the West

When the Wind is in the West

The last five days have changed my life.

I was offered four days work in Orkney and stayed an extra day at my own expense to see some of the main island (known as the Mainland). On the first day I despised the place: ugly, featureless, windswept, barren and treeless I felt it had nothing to recommend it. On the second day I met the people and strolled around the stone city streets and decided it was a place full of fundamentally decent people with good values: a place I’d love to bring my family on holiday. On the third day I took a walk and discovered fabulous archaeology and phoned my family back in Devon from inside a 5,000 year old chambered cairn on Wideford Hill. On the fourth day I began to understand what a treasure of a place it was and decided I wanted to do whatever it took to move there eventually.

On the fifth day I saw a house called Einar for sale in a solicitor’s window and decided I loved it and had to buy it. It was on one of the more remote North Isles of Orkney, called Westray (which I had never visited), and although the house was a wreck, it was not described as ‘ruinous’. I only had the money, the distance and my family to overcome. How do you explain an experience like this when you’re back home to normality?

“When the wind is in the west, then it is at its very best.”

Westray had caught me in its net.

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