Monterey Memory…Bartholomew Barker….Neolithic Steps?

by Bernie Bell - 09:20 on 03 August 2022

Mike’s Monterey memories……

Including a film made at the Monterey Aquarium about Sea-gooseberries in my Sands O’ Wright blog, got me thinking about when Mike visited the Monterey Aquarium as part of a trip to America with his work.  At that time he worked  for The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge  https://www.wwt.org.uk/  and the people on this trip were mainly in the area of Monterey to observe birds…….

……..but while they were there they also visited the Aquarium and Cannery Row - of John Steinbeck fame – one of my favourite writers – such an understanding of and compassion for people and the life around him.

So……I thought I’d put together a memory blog for Mike’s trip which included avian, marine and literary interest…..


“A wonderful bird is the pelican

It’s beak can hold more

Than its belly can.

It keeps in its beak

Enough food for a week

Tho’ I don’t know how

The hellican.”


Marine life in the Aquarium…….


And out of it………

Cannery Row…

While he was there Mike also saw free-range Sea-otters - which I would love to see.  That ain’t going to happen, so I’ll make do with the Stromness and Stenness otters which are fine beasts, but they don’t lie on beds of sea-weed and look un-bearably cute and furry.

Some of the scientists in the group were from Russia and they found the excess of America very hard to come to terms with. The excess in the shops and in the hotel, where a huge spread was laid out every day for breakfast with not just bread, but lots of different kinds of bread – lots of different kinds of everything - asking for a coffee let them in for a session of twenty questions!

One chap liked to stay up late into the night watching the telly as there was just so much there. 

They then returned to a very different way of life – this was 1992 – Yeltsin had succeeded Gorbachev…then Putin succeeded Yeltsin…. https://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/other/bluebook/1992/1992-3-4.htm - more troubled times ahead.



Bartholomew Barker https://bartbarkerpoet.com/  has ideas - and the words to express them.  Here’s the latest from his poetry blog……


He lives in an orangery
protected from harsh winter
by the warmth of inheritance
and orange privilege

Like many citrus scions
he assumes it's bad luck
or poor planning that leaves
the rest of us out in the cold

The world must seem opulent
with tropical temperatures
year-round so we must remind him

Who fuels the stove and who bled
for the building which allowed
him to grow so very plump

By Bartholomew Barker


I don’t know if ‘Downton Abby’ is on the telly in America.  I don’t watch it, but every now and then I catch a bit of it when looking for something else – ludicrously rich people, all that ‘show’ built on the backs of the working people.  And – the cosy cosy view of the servants when, in reality, if they put a foot wrong or failed to bow and scrape enough, they were out without a ‘character’.  You get my drift.

I simply don’t understand how anyone chooses to watch that stuff in these times – maybe escapism – but the servants and workers back then had no escape - except to the colonies.  GGGGRRRRR.

My way of ‘escaping’……. https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/05/24/poetry-corner-into-the-silence/

The analogy of the orange – as a hot house fruit – growing plump on the effort of others………. Boris.


The ‘steps’ found by the Great Wall of Brodgar …. https://www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/dig-diary-second-step-like-feature-built-into-the-great-wall/

…remind me of the steps described here….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/02/10/old-rendall-parish-church-6th-february-2022/

Maybe a similar purpose?  A way in and out of a place of reverence?  Mebbe…….


Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/01/18/orkney-tings/

And for another 'Ting...... https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/09/07/tings-at-tingwall/



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