Hogweed……The Walls of Brodgar…….Ape/Man?……John Rae Whisky…….

by Bernie Bell - 10:42 on 27 August 2022

The Hogweed

Words & image by Mike Bell

Well then, Maister Keks.  So, you have plans for The Meadow.  Again.

The scaffolding’s up.  Tall cranes hoist struts and spars skyward.

The Architect’s plans beguile me: creamy interlaced disks

(landing pads for hoverflies).

Welcome added element of vertical.

Too soon and too late, I sense the acrid undertone to sweetness.

Casting lace, your invasion plans are uncovered: fruition.

Opposition is in vain now.

Wreckage, brutalist stark.  Function fulfilled.

And you, Keks, are gnarled underground. Waiting.

Next year’s campaign will show how much further you have encroached on green-field.

But at least dock-lands are being re-developed.

McB - August 2018


Sigurd Towrie has put together a resume of the excavations and discoveries relating to the delineating walls of the Ness of Brodgar site. There really is no point in my rambling on about the subject as Sigurd has absolutely nailed it - here it is…


He did something similar with his ‘Around the Ness ‘ pieces – drawing the information together for the non-academic as well as the academic reader….  https://www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/orkney-prehistory/around-the-ness/

The Ness of Brodgar website is A GOOD THING… https://www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/


I don’t know what Steve will make of my musings about us humans walking upright….


….but here goes……

How many people do you know who have a bad back, bad hips, bad knees?  Or how many who have had hip or knee replacements?  Conversely, how many do you know who  have had shoulder or elbow replacements?

I have a bee in my bonnet that we’re kind-of not built to/not meant to walk upright - it puts too much strain on our backs, hips and knees. It will have made sense to start to walk upright when we didn’t live so long – but now, I believe that we put too much pressure on those joints for too long.

I know – it also frees our arms and hands for manipulating and working with things etc. which has played a large part in our development, leading to us becoming what we are in relation to other creatures and the world around us.   So, all things considered…was it A GOOD THING that we started to walk upright?  Or not?


It’s just a bee in my bonnet – no scientific backing at all. 


You Can’t Win ‘Em All….

‘The Orcadian’ newspaper in conjunction with Highland Park distillery ran a competition,  the prize being a bottle of Highland Park’s newly launched ‘John Rae Arctic Explorer’  17 year-year-old single-malt Scotch whisky.

A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of this limited edition whisky will go towards the restoration of the Hall of Clestrain, Orphir – John Rae’s birthplace and home.

Being long-term supporters of the John Rae Society, and Highland Park being Mike’s favourite whisky, we entered the competition and – well, no, we didn’t win it - though we did win a bottle of Highland Park at the Science Festival Feast of Forage a few years ago…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/09/10/a-feast-of-forage-at-the-orkney-science-festival/

Win or lose the give-away bottles, we sing…..

“Whiskey you're the Devil, you're leading me astray
Over hills and mountains and to Amerikay
You're sweeter, stronger, decenter
You're spunkier nor tay
Oh whiskey you're me darlin' drunk or sober.”

If anyone is asking who is John Rae?  Here’s who…… https://theorkneynews.scot/?s=John+Rae  He’s on the front of the bottle, forging his way through the Northwest Passage…..  https://www.highlandparkwhisky.com/en/john-rae


Here’s one I made earlier….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/03/19/the-triumph-of-optimism-over-experience-or-attempting-to-grow-trees-in-orkney/

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