Showing posts from 2016

Waders and wet meadows.

I woke to the sound of gulls fighting over a fish.   Possibly both herring.   I lay still and let the sounds of the day come to me.   Swallows chittered softly somewhere and house sparrows chattered to each other from the bushes in the garden below.   There was a sharp rhythmic pinging sound as a rope slapped against a flagpole that proudly flew the flag of Orkney.   Bright sun leaked around the edges of the blinds, even though it was only just gone 5 o’clock.   Here, the tilt of the Earth brings early mornings and late evenings; there is no midnight sun, but the days of summer are long.   Compared to the tram bustle and traffic drone of Melbourne, such sounds are a lullaby and I quickly fall back into sleep.    Strangely, even the morning sounds of a place I have never visited before sound more familiar than the soundscape I have awoken to for more than 20 years.   That may explain why my return to sleep was so rapid, so predictable. A couple of hours later I wake for real.  

An Offshore Account

I don’t like to be late.   And I don’t like to be lost.   I find both states deeply unsettling, breaking, as they do, the temporal and spatial maps we hold fast to in our heads.   So, if I manage to be late or lost, my brain does little intracranial loops and tends to get a bit cross.   But crossness in the face of your own stupidity is a waste of time and energy – you need to save crossness for things that are important. I started to feel just a tad uneasy when I could not find my flight in the departure board, so I checked and double-checked, but no, it was not there.   I walked up to the check in desk (which was suspiciously quiet) and asked:   “Where do I go for this flight?” “Aberdeen” came the reply. I let that sink in for a while – looked at my ticket and felt pretty stupid.   There I was, in Glasgow airport, looking at a ticket to Orkney from Aberdeen airport.   A mere 3 hours away by road – and the flight was departing in 90 minutes. Ah.   Lost a

Bonny on Clyde

It was mid-morning as the plane banked for one last time and settled down to its long approach.   Small clusters of houses, woods with arterial bike tracks and capillary branches, fields with horses gathered in anticipation round feed stalls.    Each growing bigger in the plane window by the moment.   Each adding to a patchwork   countryside typical of a city edge. Greens.   Browns.   Off-white buildings flanked by regulation lawns.   A football pitch, where dozen of kids chased a ball: ebbing and flowing, a school of little fish. Factories and shopping centres.   Normally the houses seem to go on for ages and ages, as if the whole land is swamped in urban sprawl.   But this is different.   Just over there are hills, and beyond those, more hills.   I suspect – maybe imagine – the glitter of water, spreading wide and long in valleys still rebounding from the loss of ice.   This is not London with its gentle, rounded hills, this is Glasgow with its views to the highl