For five thousand years we have used darkness as the metaphor of our mortality. We were at the mercy of merciless death, which is darkness. When we died, they sent a beam of midwinter light in among our bones. What a tender, potent gesture. In the Christian era, we were laid in our graves to face the rising sun. We’re … Read More
For years I wondered what was going on here, way above our heads as we prepared to end the 2004 season of archaeological excavations at Quoygrew, Orkney. Then I saw this. [related-posts]
Here’s a story about how archaeology ruined me as an Englishman.
Surely my eyes have blown a fuse. The world is blank – not a hole (because holes are *in* something) but a total absence, a blackness filled with light. Vertigo sweeps over me. And…that strange muddled sense of depth, like when you’re drifting off to sleep in a darkened room and suddenly you can’t tell if the ceiling is a million … Read More
A typically fickle-looking Orkney sky – 2009. My thanks to Mike, Pam, Kim and everyone else working so hard this weekend at the 2nd Annual Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) event in New York this weekend, for making a livestream session so fascinating that I was glued to my screen all afternoon despite glorious sunshine and England’s final, desperate and ultimately … Read More
“Lighthouse Corner? Aaaaaahrr.” This was the response I’d been hoping for. From deep within a creased, twinkly-eyed, wind-ruddied face looking like an elephant wearing blusher, the wheezing voice continued. “Hoos. Lighthoos. Road, blarg, garb oot crossflarp. FLARP”. Now, I’m part Scottish. You’d think I’d have a smattering of understanding at a genetic level about how to translate accents like this … Read More
What can you actually do in Orkney? No, forget the sightseeing. Forget the daytrips, the beach walks, the clambering up sea-stacks to watch intrepid archaeologists braving the elements while hugging filthy mugs of tea (more on that topic another time). Forget visiting. We’re talking living up there. I know of a number of people who are intending to move up … Read More
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