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the HALL of EINAR, Page 6

Renovating an old school on a remote island

The Hall of Einar

Moving to Orkney

It’s sunny this afternoon, so it’s out into the garden to catch a rare photograph of the back of Einar in the …

A Useful Range of Outbuildings

A useful range of outbuildings

Whenever you look at property details in Orkney there’s one phrase that keeps on being repeated. Yes, the word ‘ruinous’ is used …

Fly Trap

Death to Drosophila #2

Isn’t technology wonderful? The advancement of science never ceases to amaze me. Instead of bashing fruit flies with my precious copy of …

In order to increase the light in your living room, get one person to tip the bowl-shaped lamp-shade to one side whilst the other uses the extension tube on the vacuum cleaner to clear the layer of dead woodlice from the bottom. It’s worth at least 5 watts of low-energy bulb.

→ 22 August, 2010

Always tip the woodlice gently from your slippers out of an open window to avoid a messy situation between your toes in the morning.

→ 21 August, 2010

Remember to always replace the lid of your slow cooker fully to avoid woodlice falling into your Orkney Beef casserole when the steam from below overcomes them. Although nutritious, their presence is an acquired taste for youngsters.

→ 20 August, 2010

Pitter patter on the window

It’s late at night and I’m sitting on the wide window ledge in the kitchen. The light is on and the curtains …

Emptying woodlice from your underpants before putting them on in the early morning leads to much greater comfort on the bicycle saddle by mid-morning.

→ 19 August, 2010

Running away to the circus

No, not that kind of circus. I mean Circus cyaneus, the Hen Harrier. Sitting in the window seat looking over the fields …

Always buy a toilet seat that contrasts in colour and tone with woodlice in order to avoid sitting on them unexpectedly.

→ 18 August, 2010

Dirty Washing

Washing by hand

I’m not someone who likes to air his dirty laundry in public. That’s why I bring you only my cleanest pants and …


They call it flagstone…

… because it’s stone and breaks naturally into flags. The whole Island of Westray is made of it. Perfect flagstone paving everytime. …

Slugs and Fine China

Slugs and Fine China

When you move to an abandoned house there are always inhabitants who need to be evicted. Some are simply guests. Some are …

Always shake the woodlice off your flannel before using it to wipe your face in the morning.

→ 15 August, 2010

Death to Drosophila

Morning. Another day on Westray and time to tip the woodlice out of my slippers, have some Scots porridge for breakfast and …

Evie at the Bay of Tafts

Kids and Cameras

I learnt very early that if you want good photographs of your children there is only one solution – give them the …

Fitty Hill

Sun on the Sea

I’m standing at the top of our small field taking in the magnificent view. From here there’s a 360 degree view of …


Afternoon turns to Evening

Afternoon turns to evening as the world turns. I’m in the field at the back of Einar with a phone which has …


When you arrive at a house that has been closed up for a long time there’s an important routine to go through. …

Hair on the Wire

Hair on the Wire

Sunset in the garden at Einar silhouettes the hair of the cattle rubbed onto the barbed wire in the fields.



Panic sets in. When you’re on an island which only got mains electricity in 1980 (or so I’m told), with no cooker, …


Rain in the Bucket No More

Einar has a new roof on the old school building. Now there’s no more need for builder’s buckets to catch the rain.


Curiosity Cow

Westray cattle are a breed apart. I’m used to seeing docile unthinking beasts in Devon. Barely alive, seemingly semi-conscious, the Devon grass …

The Answer My Friend

“How many years can a mountain exist, Before it’s washed to the sea?” by Bob Dylan from Blowin’ in the Wind. It takes three of …

A Light in the Black

A Light in the Black

November in Orkney and the days are short and the nights are long. I’m told that the reason many people love to visit Orkney is the reason few can stay there: the loneliness.