Susurrations of the Sea…..Wildcat Pawprints In The Snow…….Work…..

by Bernie Bell - 07:49 on 15 December 2022

Susurrations of the Sea…..

Local Oceanographer David Woolf has been involved in a radio documentary about waves, going out on Radio 4 today….


If you miss it, it’s being repeated on Monday.  Here’s what it is…..

“The Susurrations of the Sea is a collaboration between the poet Katrina Porteous, who lives right next to the North Sea in Beadnell, Northumberland; radio producer Julian May, who grew up close to the Atlantic in Cornwall; and with the sea itself. They gather the variety of its sounds, from gentle susurrations as the tide moves over mud, to the steady roar of surf and mighty waves crashing onto rocks.

They weave these with the words of people who, more than most of us, listen to these sounds. Melissa Reid is a visually impaired competitive surfer at Porthtowan in Cornwall. The writer Lara Messersmith-Glavin grew up on a salmon seiner, fishing out of Kodiak Island, Alaska. Lara recalls how the sounds of the sea brought fear as well the comfort. David Woolf, in Orkney, who works on wave energy projects, tells the life story of a wave, and considers the role of the oceans in the climate crisis. Stephen Perham, rowing his picarooner out of Clovelly harbour, shows how, when fishing for herring without an engine or any modern equipment, learning the sounds of the sea is essential.

The susurrations of the sea are culturally important, finding their way into language and music. At his piano the musician Martin Pacey illustrates how Benjamin Britten captures these in his Sea Interludes, and how these reflect mood and character. For Stephen and Katrina the words people use to describe that sea are themselves sea susurrations.

Katrina writes a new sequence of poems in response to the sounds of the sea and these run through the programme like breaking waves, a choppy sea and an ocean swell.”


Wildcat Pawprints….

After signing their petition I regularly receive updates about the work of ‘Wildcat Haven’…...  https://www.wildcathaven.com/

The most recent update, with an image of wildcat paw prints in the snow, is seasonal and the text accompanying the image gives useful information - maybe adopt a wildcat as a Christmas 'present' for somone?

With the permission of 'Wildcat Haven'…here it is……


Hi All

We hope you are all keeping warm and well during the winter. We wanted to share with you this beautiful photo of cat tracks found deep in the heart of the Clashindarroch forest. Imagine the scene of a magnificent wildcat crossing this log whilst patrolling its territory. We can say with a high degree of certainty that these tracks were made by a wildcat. They were found in a known wildcat territory but also simply because we do not find domestic or feral cats in the heart of the forest. It is just too harsh an environment for them to survive. This is what makes the Clashindarroch so special. It is a huge block of almost continuous forest cover, in an elevated position and it experiences severe winters. This keeps domestic cats out which reduces the risk of hybridisation and ensures that a population of wildcats exists there.

It is always exhilarating when we are carrying out field work and setting camera traps in wildcat forests. They are of course one of the rarest and most elusive animals on earth, but the excitement of catching a fleeting glimpse is a feeling that never diminishes and keep our field workers motivated in even the most extreme of conditions.

The Scottish Wildcat is a hugely significant part of Scottish culture and heritage and plays a key ecological role as the top predator. Imagine if the wildcat disappeared, condemned to extinction through greed and ignorance. The Scottish Highlands just wouldn’t be the same and the magical feeling of hiking in a wildcat forest would be gone.

Well, we won’t let that happen and we are currently carrying out monitoring work across 4 geographic locations in Scotland. We are determined to find and protect every single priceless wildcat.

If you want to help us to continue and expand our work then you please consider these options:

You can adopt a wildcat at the links below. They make great Christmas gifts and are available in postal and digital versions. Simply nominate the recipient and tell us where to post or email the pack. Thanks so much to all of you who have already done this, we really appreciate it.

This is the link for postal adoption packs:


 This is the link for digital adoption packs:


 You can of course donate if you wish to at the following link:


 We are fighting hard and we are extremely grateful for your continuing support.

Very best wishes as always

Emily (Director)  





Why should I let the toad work

  Squat on my life?

Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork

  And drive the brute off?


Six days of the week it soils

  With its sickening poison -

Just for paying a few bills!

  That's out of proportion.


Lots of folk live on their wits:

  Lecturers, lispers,

Losels, loblolly-men, louts-

  They don't end as paupers;


Lots of folk live up lanes

  With fires in a bucket,

Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-

  they seem to like it.


Their nippers have got bare feet,

  Their unspeakable wives

Are skinny as whippets - and yet

  No one actually starves.


Ah, were I courageous enough

  To shout Stuff your pension!

But I know, all too well, that's the stuff

  That dreams are made on:


For something sufficiently toad-like

  Squats in me, too;

Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,

  And cold as snow,


And will never allow me to blarney

  My way of getting

The fame and the girl and the money

  All at one sitting.


I don't say, one bodies the other

  One's spiritual truth;

But I do say it's hard to lose either,

  When you have both.


Philip Larkin


Time for change

There was an old man at his desk

Whose workload was simply grotesque

So he longed to retire

Set his laptop on fire

And run off for a life in burlesque


But his wife said, “You’ve got to calm down!

I’m so tired of seeing that frown

It will turn out just fine

If you’d only resign

Now take off that ridiculous gown!”


So the old man went off to his bed

To think over what she had just said

About freeing his life

From work’s trouble and strife

So he wouldn’t go right off his head


And the old man has now left his desk

To live a life more picaresque

He spends all his time

In dancing and rhyme

And is learning to do arabesques

Anonymous Badger  - 14th December 2022

(NB.  No relation to Badger of Badger & Vole…. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/badgerandvole/a-stormy-day-with-badger-and-vole-an-orcadian-comic?ref=geeknative – he just happens to be a Badger too. )


Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/01/15/lest-we-forget/


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