Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday, the day the wheelbarrow arrives!

Early morning and  the dog is crashing around downstairs, she had a 'freaky' day yesterday and it has left her full of energy.  Not so me, a migraine all yesterday has left me washed out....
Another birthday will turn round on Monday, my choice of meals out has been fish and chips, strange choice I know but I miss the Silver Street chip shop just round from the old cottage in Whitby.  We should be exploring the town whilst the summer visitors are away, but only go in for  shopping days...
Sometimes I think to change my personality with a new batch of clothes,  Gudrun is a possibility but even I could not wander round in brightly ethnic clothes layered one on top of another, and of course for a muddy stroll in the country they are not exactly practical, there again amongst the Goths of Whitby I would hardly strike a different note........
The day before the headache I had been studying Orkney, prodding my consciousness as to whether one could live in such an environment with that windy stormy weather that is so capricious and then in plain little four square houses with no trees, that would break my heart.  The landscape has its own beauty, but the act of living where everything has to be fetched from the mainland and fresh vegetables must be at a premium would be difficult.  A map shows how scattered the islands are, prehistoric burials and probably settlements all perched on the edge of the land next to the sea.

National Geographic map

Yet these faraway flung islands in Scotland are now taking centre stage as the Neolithic centre of Great Britain, the two  circles that encompass the Ness of Brodgar settlement point to a way of life that is maybe not  sophisticated but must have been very well organised.

Wiki @ S Marshall - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Has Stonehenge been shunted off its podium, cannot answer that one but it is later in date and of course somewhat different, and if we must look on competition as the driving force of mankind perhaps they did it better in the far North in the early stone period than they did in the South - now that is a turn around for the books...  Of course diet might explain it, next to  bountiful water plenty of fish and animals to hunt on land, cattle of course.  Not forgetting that there was more land around to move from the continent across those wild running seas.

But no matter how much you look at the map, compared to the great bulk of the rest of our island, it was the very tip of the land mass these people settled.  What pulls my heart is not the archaeology of the place, but the ruggedness of the land itself, the rocks, the stones erected so labouriously.
The exquisite corbelling of the Maes Howe tomb, surely an architectural wonder of the world, though I notice it has been restored, in the 19th century? so many questions.....

9 comments:

  1. Have a long holiday up there - you would love the archaeology, but during the season the huge floating hotels with their ignorant hoardes apparently ruin the sites. I have a friend living there who loves the archaeology but says the cruise ships ruin the entire island as you can't move for people. The weather can be truly atrocious, my friend writes of year long winter . . . At Christmas they barely slept a wink for the storms up there were terrifying and although their house is new, they feared for the roof!

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  2. Yes I often wondered about the tourists descending on these islands, it is a shame but I suppose the islanders do make a living out of them. Been checking wool on one, incredibly expensive to us, but of course given the nature of wool and the hard hand work to cut, wash, sort and then spin the blankets and knitted stuff is going to come out expensive, something we don't know about with all these shops around.

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  3. I have a friend who, in her young days, spent every single holiday on Shetland and she adored the islands - their remoteness, their history, everything ahout then.
    But I tend to agree with you. I know I could never have lived there - beauty, lovely people, history, marvellous birdlife - to name but four things. But I really think one has to be born in a place like that in order to live there. Orkney is even more bare than Shetland I believe.

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    1. Yes dreams and wishful thinking the reality would be something different. Also get seasick, crossing those waters would really make me ill.

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  4. I do love your photo of misty trees and fence at the top. Jean

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    1. Hi Jean, the sun was trying to break through that day, so there was a special light. Yesterday on the same walk I spotted the barn owl sitting on the gate, it had been raining the night before and owls with their soft feathers cannot hunt in the rain so are forced to hunt by day.

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    2. I didn't know that about owls.
      A friend has tawny frogmouth babies in her tree. They look like owls but aren't. Jean

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  5. When you mention migraines I cringe in sympathy. I endured them regularly for 10 years, then, thankfully, they tapered off--never knew why. Only rarely now do I feel threatened by one. Lucy's nocturnal rampages sound like what our cats sometimes do--some change of weather or barometric pressure which perhaps they sense and we do not [?]

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    1. Sosmetimes I think the weather is also behind migraines as well, clear cold sunny morning will also set my head off. Mine have tapered off, but then like a thunderstorm it strikes and I have to lie down till the pain eventually subsides. Interesting thought about Lucy, whatever triggers it makes her hypo for several hours, trying to hide in dark corners.....

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