Posts

In a Jam - thanks to Penny Park

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  Previously on the blog.... This year's raspberries are looking good and ripe for eating. The garden is a little wild, thanks to one thing or another, but anyone passing please feel free to pick the fruit you fancy before the blackbirds have their share. The wonderful Penny Park, as well as being a magnificent wood carver, has already made delicious jam from them (thank you Penny) and a crumble may well be heading for the Old Post Office

Beside the Ocean of Time

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  Earlier this year I accepted a challenge to write a new, short piece every day for a month. This is one of the pieces I came up with. I really love this little seahorse. With family and friends having been unable to visit Orkney for some time, I have been sending them quiz photos of out of the way places in Orkney for them to identify. This forgotten fellow stands in a disused children’s play area near the old academy in Stromness, looking down towards the holms with a somewhat bemused grin. For health and safety reasons, the area has been fenced off, which is understandable, but a shame, because he/she looks as though it is in need of a hug. A small gesture to show it the thanks it deserves for keeping the now not so young members of the community entertained for many years. It would, of course, be easy to draw analogies from this, but from the look, I don’t think this seahorse is purely reminiscing. Like young Thorfinn Ragnarson in the book Beside the Ocean of Time by George Mac

The Bard and the Bhoys by John McGill

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My thanks to Quoyloo legend John McGill, teacher, writer and raconteur, for bringing his wry humour to the blog with a tale of mischief from George Mackay Brown. The Bard and the Bhoys        Alas, poor Babs. In an act of kindness to the  rookie blogger, she gives him leave to expatiate on  any topic that takes his fancy. In case that might be  a bit daunting, she offers a short list of possibilities, all of them quite enticing, finishing with ‘ even Celtic FC, if you must  ’                                                                     Well, here’s the bad news, Babs – I must . This is a story about Glasgow Celtic. It is also a story about our famous Stromness poet, dramatist and storyteller, George Mackay Brown, to whom I send felicitations in this his centenary year. George took a highly benign interest in the fortunes of the great football club.   This, to Glaswegian like me, seemed to be quite naturally concomitant with his Roman Catholicism, but I think the football fer

Finding True North - a journey to Orkney by Dr Linda Gask

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                                                                                             This month I am grateful to Dr Linda Gask, a retired professor of primary care psychiatry now living in Orkney, who has kindly provided a fascinating and inspiring piece on her personal journey to find true north. Finding True North- a journey to Orkney by Dr Linda Gask   For most of my adult life I sought out the Western Isles to escape, rest and find peace and quiet to write. My fascination with all things ‘North’ began in childhood when travelling to Central Scotland, my mother’s home. It was a 12-hour drive then from the East of England going up the A1, forking West at Scotch Corner, turning North up the A6 and A74 then finally dropping down into Hamilton where my maternal grandfather was a miner in the coalfields of Lanarkshire until his early death. On a couple of these family holidays, we ventured as far North as Ben Nevis, Loch Ness and Glen Affric - but never into those parts of th

First Impressions by Gabrielle Barnby

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Today I welcome a good friend, Gaby Barnby to the Quoyloo Quill. Gabrielle Barnby lives in Orkney and writes short stories, poetry and full length fiction. She has run creative writing workshops for may years, encouraging new writers and supporting creative discovery. She is the author of three books and her work has been included in numerous anthologies and magazines. Here she describes her first impressions of moving to Orkney. First Impressions - Orkney We came from the airport to the town directly, although neither airport nor town accurately described either place by my southern standards. An airport was a vast sprawling, moving-floored shopping mall with shuttle buses and crowds of people from all nations, a city unto itself with flocks of aeroplanes gathering people up like a bird gathers worms. Not a simple strip of tarmac seemingly laid at random in a field with a building that was as homely as a school foyer for a terminal and a free of charge car park. And the town? Well, th

Bright Lights by Dr Sunil Angris

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  This month I am pleased to welcome Stromness Writing Group member Dr Sunil Angris to the Quoyloo Quill. For those who don't know Dr Angris, he is a semi-retired medical doctor living in Holm, having moved to Orkney in 2019 after many years of holidaying here. He wrote extensively for the medical press while a GP in England and had regular columns as car correspondent for the magazines 'GP' and 'Pulse'. Now that he is semi-retired, he has more time to give to his creative writing, mainly poetry and short stories. Other hobbies include walking, music and sport. This is a piece Dr Angris contributed to the successful 'Bright Horizons' online foy in 2020 . For me, “Bright Horizons” began a train of thought leading straight to these islands. The sequence goes thus - “ I fell in love with Orkney for many reasons but chief among them was that the light and the horizons here aren’t bright!  Words conventionally used to describe the opposite of bright include “dark

Walking in Circles by Jeanne Bouza Rose

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   I am delighted to welcome Orkney based, international artist Jeanne Bouza Rose to the Quoyloo Quill. Here, she shares with us her thoughts and experiences of lockdown, the American elections and what keeps her art fresh. Walking in Circles ….Jeanne Bouza Rose   I was late getting the old body going again this morning.  With each glance out the window, I thought, no need to rush.  It is throwing down the rain and the wind is whipping it around.  It is another day when raindrops hit the face like pointy icicles.  My feet dragged. I would have moved faster if I saw the sun, or if the dog became desperate. Finally, I simply summoned the courage to brave the elements and stick to this one habit—circling the stones. Luckily, there was a bit of sun in the back garden, but unluckily an ominous grey-blue sky out the front path. But I put one foot in front of another and kept walking to the car.  My dog and I would head to the Ring of Brodgar, the UK’s third largest stone circle and henge, no