Bartholomew Barker……Caithness Skies…..

by Bernie Bell - 07:55 on 04 October 2022

Bartholomew Barker uses very few words to present big, big ideas….he’s a bloody marvel…..here’s one….

"Reality Sucks

Truth can be bitter

Just like nasty medicine

But lies never heal."


And they don’t – they cause hurt – and that hurt rarely really heals – even after acceptance or forgiveness for what happened.  Lies hurt - hurt festers – lies fester – horrible, horrible things. Truth is hard to give and to take and can be bitter to deal with – but – my goodness me – it’s worth at least trying to stick to it.

To quote the wonderful Robert Plant ..…

Said there ain't no use in crying
Cause it will only, only drive you mad
Does it hurt to hear them lying?
Was this the only world you had?”

And usually it isn’t the only world you have - the bit that’s encountering the lies is only one part of your world.  Try to focus on the rest of your life – if you can.

One time I was running a reel of hurt caused by lying, over and over in my mind – not paying attention – slipped - hurt my arm – lesson learnt.

Here endeth St. Bernadette’s Epistle to the populace.


Caithness Skies….

Yay!  Our calendar arrived from the  Caithness Broch Project…… https://www.thebrochproject.co.uk/

Which is my favourite?  Has to be the Northern Lights….

There have been two significant times we’ve seen the Aurora.

The first was in 2008.  On the 30th November my eldest sister had died, in Ireland.  This was a release for her after a lot of suffering and a battle fought with bravery and humour.  It was, definitely, the best thing for her, at the time.  Mike and I went over to Ireland for the funeral, which meant a two day journey there, much emotional turmoil in the family, then a two day journey back.  We got home, had something to eat, and a cup of tea ( the British, and their cups of tea!).  It was about 10 o’clock on the night of the 4th December, I went to put my cup in the scullery the window of which faces North and there they were - great curtains of green light, shimmering and flickering across the sky over the hill behind the house - from over Rousay, right across the sky.  I called Mike to see them, and we stood and watched them dance for about 15 minutes, then we just had to go to bed as we were worn out, physically and emotionally.  What a time to see the Northern Lights, though!  We saw it as a sign of light in darkness - not just light, but lightness, lightness as a way of being.  We saw it as a fitting ‘Farewell’ to my sister.  It was just wonderful.  That was the first time we’d seen them and I thought that, if it turned out to be the only time I ever saw them, that would do for me!

Not long after that I had a discussion with someone about how much she wants to see the Northern Lights and my response to her was, that I believe that we see them if, and when, we’re meant to.  If she’s going to see them, she will, if not, she won’t.  My advice was, as always, to just go with the flow and see what happens - take it as it comes.

We saw what you might call ‘bits and pieces’ of the Aurora over the next few years – just glimpses and shimmers – nothing spectacular – ‘nothing to write home about’.

Then, just before Christmas 2015 Mike’s Dad passed from this life.  He was 97 years old, and died peacefully in his sleep.

He was well ready to go. He wasn’t being miserable about it, he just felt that enough was enough. He’d had a long, interesting and fruitful life and since Mike’s Mum passed he’d not liked being alone. He accepted the need to be in a Home but it wasn’t a good environment for a man such as him who was very independent, and also very out-doors.

Mike had gone into work in the morning and received a phone call from his sister to let him know.

The night before,  just before we went to bed, we had looked out the back window and saw the Northern Lights, green and shimmering, in an otherwise clear sky - with stars, including some bright shooting stars too.  In the morning, Mike got the news about his Dad.

 We have seen the Aurora a few times since, not so colourful, sometimes making quite strange shapes, but these are the two times which stick in our minds – and, to us, it means that The Merry Dancers are very much associated with a message of light – especially light in darkness at ‘dark’ times.

We’re heading towards the shortest day – then the light starts to return, and life continues.


Here’s one I made earlier…….  https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/10/11/forgetting/



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