‘After Orcadia’……Scottish Geology Festival…..About Whales – And Octopuses…..

by Bernie Bell - 09:14 on 26 August 2022

'After Orcadia'

Due to health difficulties, I’m one of the folk who hasn’t gone indoors where there will be unknown people since March 2020 – except when medically necessary.

There isn’t a lot I miss, but when I saw an exhibition of work by Rebecca Marr and Mark Edmonds advertised in the Orkney International Science Festival programme  https://oisf.org/   I was…..glum.  I like what Rebecca does and I like what Mark does - both literary and archeologically – so  I was glum about missing their exhibition.

Then this appeared in TON  https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/08/26/after-orcadia-northlight-gallery-exhibition/...... and I followed the link……. and I can look at the images…. and I said thank you to those involved as this is a very thoughtful thing to do.

It’s not the same as direct contact and I’d still like to have actually gone to it and walked round and looked and…… but it lifted the glumness – much needed in these times.

Here are some of my impressions….

‘Tender Tables’ – my oh my….so many evocations….Stromatolites….Agate…..Islands - their contours and how their presence affects the currents flowing around them....... Microbes….Back in the early ‘70’s - blobby lights on dance hall walls – though I doubt that Rebecca & Mark will remember those!

‘Taversoe Tuik’ – The Mother Ship arrives……

‘Archipelago’ – lichen at the Bu at Orphir…..  https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/10/29/mooching-about-at-the-bu/

The ripply ones remind me of Annie Cattrell’s  ‘Currents’ piece… https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/01/30/wave-form-impressions/

I’m going to order the book – limited edition so they might go fast – I suspect they will go fast!


Post script....Mike was in town so called by to see the exhibition and bought a copy of The Book....one image is of the inside of a Neolithic cairn, and the accompanying words are….

‘The bone house opens

New names woven into old

The fabric renewed’

That catches it – the communal cairn is re-opened, the deceased of the group are brought in to be added to those already there. The fabric of the cairn, and of the group, are renewed.

This book is  A GOOD THING.

And here are some more GOOD THINGS from Orkney……



The place is just hoochin’ with good things….in every way.

Post-post script....

It’s not ‘at the close’ and not round a fire, but the words….

‘A feast at the close

Food shared around the fires

An enduring bond’

...took me to The Digger’s Rest at the Ness.  I’ve never sat there – I’m not a digger – but I’ve seen them - talking, eating their lunch – connecting up, maybe making connections which will last for years. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/08/22/ness-of-brodgar-photo-time-line-part-three/

It’s all human behaviour – what used to happen at the Ness – still happens at the Ness…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/07/17/what-used-to-happen-at-the-ness-is-still-happening-at-the-ness/

I've finished reading the book - for now - it's a book I'll return to.


It looks like this is a blog post I'll return to, too.....another PS....

Lake Orcadie....

Via OISF programme


And directly on youtube



Re. the above….as chance would have it…it’s nearly time for the Scottish Geology Festival… https://www.scottishgeologytrust.org/festival/

And here’s my tuppenceworth….  https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/05/25/the-western-isles-or-there-and-back-again-ii/


The Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh is hosting a series of Friday talks.  One which caught my attention is this…..  https://www.trg.ed.ac.uk/event/friday-tour-tom-grove?utm_campaign=3191682_TRG-%20CCFridayTours%20%281%29&utm_medium=email&utm_source=College%20of%20Arts%2C%20Humanities%20%26%20Social%20Sciences%2C%20The%20University%20of%20Edinburgh&dm_i=2MQP,1WEPU,A71QK8,6MZTP,1

Marine Biologist Tom Grove considers non-human consciousness - including that of whales and octopuses.   It’s always fascinating, and A GOOD THING to consider other ways of being, seeing, feeling and thinking – whether in other forms of life…or our own.

On the subject of intelligence and sensitivity in marine creatures in particular….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/07/02/songs-are-being-learned-by-whales-on-shared-migration/

And... https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/octopuses-keep-surprising-us-here-are-eight-examples-how.html

So why are humans doing this?........


Remember the Star Trek episode about how little we really know about the creatures we’re sharing the planet with - and potentially eradicating….  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek_IV:_The_Voyage_Home

Another episode in the original Star Trek series - ‘ The Devil in the Dark’ - tells of what happens when the crew land on a planet where the human colonizers have been having problems with some kind of life-form already there on the planet.  It turns out that this is a silica-based life form.  To the humans she looks like a lump of rock but, in fact, she’s one of a highly intelligent species.  So intelligent that only Mr. Spock can communicate with her through a mind-meld.  Humans trying to communicate with her would have their minds blown! 

She’s one of the original inhabitants of the planet and was causing trouble because the humans mining was getting very near to her egg chamber where her babies were about to hatch, emerge, whatever silica based babies would do! 

I thought this was a particularly good episode as it brought in the idea of life-forms based on other than carbon, also the whole issue of humans colonizing what they see to be an ’empty’ planet just because the species living there is nothing like them.  As they have done on earth with other countries, again and again – Australia being described as being ’empty’ when first ‘discovered’.

Human or non-human – Connect & Respect


Here’s one I made earlier…… https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/03/17/a-bit-of-a-rant-about-respect/



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