Natural Magic on the Orkney Islands: Part One

The essence of Orkney’s magic is silence, loneliness and the deep marvellous rhythms of sea and land, darkness and light.” – George Mackay Brown

A few short weeks ago we were immersed in the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh’s summer festivals.  As I type now, we are 300 miles north, on the Mainland of the Orkney Isles – it could not be more different!

We arrived by ferry just over 24 hours ago and already it feels like we have been transported to the magical, distant place described by Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown.  This was the view from our holiday property early this morning (click on any image to enlarge):

Continue reading

Friday Book Delights

I had fun today collecting this gorgeous stash of reserved books from the library. I adore Edinburgh’s library system – you can get virtually anything you want either in hard copy or as an e-book. Ordering online, renewing, checking one’s account etc is so very easy. And of course, you can grab tons of marvellous reading for free!

There is one aspect of this process which I particularly like. I usually reserve books which catch my eye when reading other people’s blogs, social media etc. Given that it can sometimes take a while for the reservations to be available for collection, my mind has usually moved on from that initial spark of interest. So when I go to pick up the books, I can hardly remember why I chose them. Knowing that I had seven books to collect today, I thought that maybe, once I saw them and could skim the first page or so, I would not want to borrow them all. But no! Each and everyone seems to be a treasure and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

You might notice that there are two books in the pile by Susan Fletcher. She is currently one of my absolute favourites authors. I wrote about her book Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew last year. In that post, I mentioned buying a second book of hers, The Silver Dark Sea, which in the end has taken me over a year to finish. This is partly because I always have so many books on the go. But the main reason is that Fletcher has the most beautiful and engaging style of writing – so much so that it is impossible to whizz through her work. Her novels are ones to be savoured, word by word. The Silver Dark Sea is set on an imaginary Scottish island. Following on from our recent holiday on the Western Isles, I could relate very particularly to the sense of the island being one of the main characters.

Sometimes, reading a second book by an author can result in disappointment, but not so in this case. I thoroughly enjoyed The Silver Dark Sea and am very much looking forward to Eve Green and Corrag. I’ll be saving until last her book called Oystercatchers. Given that these are my favourites birds, and knowing how much I like her writing, it can’t be anything other than a winner.

Autumn, with its darker evenings and cosy interiors is the perfect time for snuggling up with a book. We’ve got a fairly quiet weekend coming up, so I’ll be curled up with my delicious reading pile – oh, and all the other reading I have currently got on the go, lol. I hope you have a great weekend too, whether it involves reading or not! 🙂