A recent visit to Orkney has given me the motivation to write a new blog post. I’ll admit, it’s been a while in coming, as there has been a lot going on in my life, but here we go, back to blogging and it’s bringing a smile to my face. I hope it will inspire you and make you smile too.
In preparation for our holiday, I read a few books by George Mackay Brown including Greenvoe, Hawkfall and Winter Tales. As we explored the coast at Marwick Head on our first day, I began to get an inkling of how the land and seascapes would have been such a wonderful inspiration to the author. Nature, oh my, the nature. If I hadn’t been a bit of a twitcher before, I certainly am now and as for my love of identifying plants and insects well, my Seek app has never been so busy.
Like all true bibliophiles, there was no way I’d miss the opportunity to pop into the local bookshops. In Kirkwall, I came away from the lovely ‘Orcadian Bookshop’ with a little stash including ‘Orkney Folk Tales’ by Tom Muir. A trip to the Twitter famous Orkney Library (@OrkneyLibrary) followed and what a welcoming library it is too.
Stromness had me popping into the treasure trove that is Stromness Books and Prints and to the Orkney Cats Shop – it’s worth taking a look into the back room full of books. (I must give my apologies here to those bookshops I have missed, indeed some just because I didn’t get the days they were open correct.)
There is obviously so much to see and do in Orkney. Having done a good bit of research before I visited, I had already realised that I’d never be able to do everything but we did have a good go!
We took the time to stop and drink in the atmosphere. Picnics on the beaches, enjoying Orkney ice cream, beremeal ginger biscuits, local cheese and of course, reading. Appropriately enough I had with me ‘Orkney’ by Amy Sackville. There can surely be no better place to read this wonderful, atmospheric novel than on the islands?
A few years ago I read Victoria Whitworth’s ‘Swimming with Seals’ so, faced with a day of perfect sand, sea and sunshine on the Bay of Skaill beach, there was nothing else for it. I had to swim. Jumping the incoming waves as they tumbled shorewards had me laughing out loud. Childhood memories flooded back with the soothing sounds of the ocean. And we did see a seal.
Life on Orkney is a wonderful mix of the old and the new. I do feel that, during my Orkney adventure my reading choices reflected this and, I have to say, I enjoyed reading the very upbeat and fiercely proud, Orcadian newspaper.
Suffice to say I was ‘blown away’ by my visit to Orkney. Yes, it was windy but I was filled with a sense of calmness. If I look back now, I think of cliff tops and stunning vistas. I have come away rejuvenated, hopeful and with some exciting new reading material.
Part two to come – Betty’s Reading Room
I am reading: Orkney Folk Tales by Tom Muir
peedie – small, little