Six Degrees of Separation: From The Bass Rock to Catriona

It’s time for another Six Degrees post, hooray! This is a monthly meme where participants are given the same starting book by Kate over at BooksAreMyFavouriteAndBest. We then add six linked books of our choosing. It’s always fascinating to see how different the chains end up being.

Continue reading “Six Degrees of Separation: From The Bass Rock to Catriona”

Book Review: Tides of Change by Joan Dunnett

I recently wrote about the amazing people I have met through my befriending experiences.  Today, I’d like to introduce you to someone else I met through these projects and who has now become a firm friend.  Joan Dunnett has just published her first book, Tides of Change.  She is very interested in history, and has a particular fascination with Scottish history.  In Tides of Change she has captured perfectly the spirit and times of 18th century Scotland.

Right from the start, we are plunged in to the drama.  It is May 1704, and we are at sea just off the east coast of Scotland…..

“James Lightfoot didn’t want to be put ashore at Figgate Whins. It was a dangerous place. He might be robbed of his remaining few possessions. He waited on the deck of the merchantman while the crew loaded bundles onto the boat: probably luxury goods to be smuggled into England. The ship’s legitimate cargo was bound for Leith. A thin strip of light began to appear to the east. The sea was calm, the light breeze cool and fresh. The captain was on deck. He lit his pipe with a steady hand. he must know the risks. The navy would be patrolling the east coast, ready to challenge any vessel in these waters, not just French privateers.” Continue reading “Book Review: Tides of Change by Joan Dunnett”

Forging deep connections – it’s human nature

One of the very best things about life at the moment is how new connections are being made across communities of all shapes and sizes.

I have been involved recently in pairing up volunteers with elderly friends who live alone and need help with shopping, medicine collection and other essentials. Individuals who live close to each other, but who have never previously met, are now finding new ways to come together.  It’s a marvellously uplifting beacon of light in what can otherwise feel like dark times.

And here’s another story of connection and community support.  The short film below is a wonderful breath of air and a celebration of all that is good about we humans.  Set on the Isle of Harris, it reminds me of fabulous the holiday which Hub and I had there a couple of years ago.  We were staying on the other side of the island from the location of this film.  But one of the intriguing local landmarks was the local postbox, which was emptied daily, even though we were at the end of a long and winding track (see featured image).

We have all rightly been clapping for NHS staff and healthcare workers in recent weeks.  And last week’s clap was additionally for all the amazing key workers who are keeping essential services going.  Staff across all parts of society, working in vital areas such as food shops and chemists; cleaners; dustbin collectors and of course our intrepid posties – they are all heroes who deserve our grateful thanks.



Natural Magic on the Orkney Islands: Part Four – final reflections

There is nothing like a holiday on the Scottish islands for that feeling of getting away from it all. Total rest and relaxation – highly recommended.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have really enjoyed the slower pace of the islands, the chance to be deep in nature, and the delights of exploring new-to-us places. It has also struck me, however, how many connections there are, often in unexpected places, with fellow humans past and present.

Orkney is famous for its ancient history. People from the Neolithic age speak to us through their legacy right across the island. This is the Ring of Brodgar:

Continue reading “Natural Magic on the Orkney Islands: Part Four – final reflections”