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Horsetails from the Palaeozoic

There are Horsetails on the verge at Einar. They’re hard and scour my hands with their brittle covering of silica. They’re so …

Monk Supper

Monk Supper

“A monk supper please,” I said. That’s not a supper fit for a monk, although it might be. It’s monkfish and chips …


Talking Italian

I’ve always refused to buy a set of weighing scales for the bathroom. I tell people that’s because I have a teenage …


My son introduced me to Yik Yak, an iPhone app which shows you local people’s comments wherever you are. I logged in …

Broken Glass

The other man’s glass

Have you ever noticed just how green window glass is? Our view of the outside world is tinted and we adjust our …

Letting the bath run

Letting it run

It’s time for a bath which means removing the woodlice and spiders from the enamel.    I think I might let the …



If only I had a Guinea Pig. They would be in Guinea Pig heaven. These dandelions have roots as big as turnips. 


This year’s dead animal is…

There’s always a dead animal somewhere in Einar. Sometimes it’s a mummified starling. This time it’s a rabbit. Before it died it chewed through the electricity cable to my boiler. Then something ripped it to pieces and scattered it over the floor. There’s an isolated rabbit’s foot lying there. It wasn’t lucky for the rabbit.

Rhubarb as thick as your wrist

Einar’s rhubarb is ridiculous. It’s like a wild thing, an alien being, taking over my walled vegetable garden.    Now what are …

Orkney Ferries

Ferry Fare

I’m on the Westray-bound ferry and suffering from heavy teas.

Sheep and the Standing Stones of Stenness

Long shadows

Orkney’s Neolithic past casts long shadows over its current landscape; literally and metaphorically. Here’s one of the Standing Stones of Stenness and …

Untouchable and Indomitable

Aberdeen. The oil capital of Europe. A place of granite and liquid black gold. A place of millionaires, the biggest heliport in …


Dog Years

Meg remembers me even though it’s been two years since she’s seen me. That’s even longer in dog years.   


My dad says “I think it’s going to be breezy in Orkney today.” I say “I think it’s going to be Orkney.” …

Westray Sky - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Westray Sky

The clouds are as insubstantial as gossamer and float in ethereal whisps above the rugged rocks.

Muster Stations

Muster Stations

It’s time to board the Westray Ferry and to hear the familiar Orcadian voice telling us about the ‘Emergency Procedure’ and ‘Muster …

Rust bucket

Rust bucket

Rust peppers the sides of an abandoned ambulance at The Tomb of the Eagles.

The Tomb of the Eagles

It’s a stunning day on Mainland Orkney and there’s plenty of time for a trip to The Tomb of the Eagles. The …

Human hands

Human hands

Human hands encircle the Totem Pole carved by the First Nations and Orcadian Totem Pole Carving Project in 2007.

Totem Pole

First Nation

Orkney is alive with archaeology, with neolithic and bronze age sites scattered all around the Islands. It’s a fitting place for a …

Not Vanilla

Not Vanilla

There’s just time to nip to Rendall’s (one of the three shops on the Island) to get supplies. It’s yoghurt I’m after…


Ippykak rehearsal

Tomorrow’s the big night – Westray Connections Music Festival! There’s just time for an hour of band rehearsals in the Hall. New …



Curlews are called Whaups in Orkney and there are thousands of them here all year round. They’re our biggest wading bird and …