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With the grain

With the grain

Orkney has precious few trees. And I mean precious. Perhaps I should say Orkney has a few precious trees. Windswept, almost barren …

Drink it in

To sit and marvel at the sky

There’s just time for some rough cycling down to the nearest beach at Taftend before sunset. It’s a chance to get off …

Sun

Sun

I’ve seen the sun rise, orange and luminous over the ocean from my bedroom window and now it’s time for me to see it set behind Fitty Hill. A glorious day.

Watching the world turn

Watching the world turn

There’s just time to wander down to Taftend on my bike to watch the sun set behind Fitty Hill.

Slate

Slate

On the roof two slates have cracked and fallen. I have a box of replacements ready, because on Westray one slate missing …

Rough grazing

Rough grazing

Wind and weather conspire together to make Westray’s grass rough and tough. That’s essential for the ponies in my field. When the …

Driftwood and whalebone

Driftwood and whalebone

The lack of trees on Orkney has meant that generations of people have relied upon driftwood and whalebone for building materials. Orkney’s …

Rusting metal buoy

Rusting metal buoy

Westray’s beaches are full of interesting finds. Whether it’s a groatie buckie (or Cowrie) on the tideline or the skeleton of the …

Yesterday’s News

Visiting Westray is like stepping back in time. It’s time for me to make a quick trip to town to shop and …

Summer Visitors

Summer Visitors

It’s wonderful to see that the Swallows who visit Orkney in the Summer to breed have done so well. There are at …

Being away from Orkney and Westray only makes the memories of being there more intense. Whilst I look forward to my next trip there, here’s a poem I wrote many years ago – the lines “And … → 6 November, 2010

Westray is an Island with a sense of community. Large extended families live here, with a high possibility of seeing distant relations on a daily basis. That’s one of the factors that leads to a low … → 8 September, 2010

According to the Orkneyinga Saga, detailing the lives of the Earls of Orkney from the 9th to 12th Centuries, King Harald’s sons were real troublemakers. Gudron Gleam and Halfdan Long-Leg caused lots of trouble in Norway … → 30 August, 2010

Big pig excitement

Big pig excitement

There’s big excitement at Einar as Mr Pig arrives with news of the piglets. Little Kim has produced in the night. There …

Links to our past

Links to our past

Coastal erosion at the Links of Noltland leaves scattered stones over a neolithic settlement quicky disappearing with the wind.

Wind Swept Away

Wind Swept Away

The dunes at the Links of Noltland show their erosion by the wind – the grass tufts left are six feet above …

A 5000 year old necklace

A 5000 year old necklace

I’m standing next to a 5000 year old house looking at a bead from a 5000 year old necklace. It was made …

Einar. It’s a great name. It’s an Old Norse name for ‘One Warrior’. It’s a fantastic name for our house. As soon as I saw Einar advertised in the Solicitor’s window I was fascinated by the … → 29 August, 2010

Pierowall is the name of the only village on the Orkney island of Westray. The problem I had was how to pronounce it. The Westray accent is beautiful and soft and difficult to understand without extreme … → 29 August, 2010

Urban Dictionary: dreek
It means bad weather. The kind of weather which makes you miserable: dull, grey and wet. If it rains hard and water runs down your neck it’s dreek.

→ 29 August, 2010

Competition Cabbage

Competition Cabbage

Today is an important day in the social calendar of Westray. It’s the day of the 75th Annual Westray Industrial Show. Entries …

I have a life driven by time. The time on my watch, the time on my phone and the time on my computer. Time to meet, time to arrive, time to leave, time to eat. Time, … → 28 August, 2010

Not Boaring

Not Boaring

A quick trip out this afternoon to visit Mr and Mrs Pig the neighbours, their boar Alfie and their heavily pregnant sow …

Petrol and Diesel

Filling Up

There’s now only one source of petrol and diesel on the Island – and this is it. We’re on bicycles for a …

Cattle at Inga Ness

Cattle at Inga Ness

This afternoon there was time to cycle to East Kirbest and walk to Inga Ness, skirting Skea Hill and to look out …