Solstice Thoughts…. Ness of Brodgar 2022 Top 10…ongoing…..The Glasgow Mela 2022….Ecology/Economy?...

by Bernie Bell - 10:16 on 23 December 2022

Solstice Thoughts….



Pilgrim soul,

Attracted, yet outside the horizon

Of others’ myths, certainties.


Outside the community of Faith,

Is what remains, the terrifying responsibility

Of interstellar space?


But Silence lives, and Light fills.

And at the centre of all Being?


It Is.

McB 21st December 2022


Ness of Brodgar 2022 Top 10…ongoing…




The beginning of a change to Cist burials? 

My tuppenceworth re. human remains found at the Ness…. 



The Glasgow Mela 2022….

Yesterday evening we watched an hour-long programme about this year’s Glasgow Mela. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0019q5d

I wasn’t aware of this event happening – I’m old, live quietly in Orkney and am not involved with popular culture.  I do, however, have the impression that popular music in Britain is in the Doldrums.

On the other hand, it looks like the Asian music scene is thriving, with its own ‘stars’ - some of whom produce traditional music, while some go more for a fusion of styles.  The Glasgow Mela featured Deesh Sandhu, singing in a mainly traditional style and who was the star of the show as far as I’m concerned.  Another favourite of mine was Hunter Z whose style is basically traditional with a bit of a Reggae vibe and some Jackson 5 thrown in!  There was a group who combine European Classical music with Indian classical – not my cuppa tea, but an interesting development. Some years ago, as part of Orkney’s St. Magnus Festival we went to a gig by India Alba who combine Indian and Scottish traditional music and who were most excellent.

We were talking them before the gig, and they were considering doing a fusion version of ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple.  I encouraged them, as I could imagine it working. As it turned out, they didn’t, but they were a gas anyway.

Towards the end of the Glasgow Mela the rain came on but the audience didn’t care, they just carried on dancing and singing along.  It’s music to dance to – you have to dance to it – even just watching and listening to it on the telly, I  was sitting there with my shoulders grooving along to the music. Earlier in the programme, there was a set by the Apna Punjabi Virsa Bhangra troupe – oh to be able to dance like that!

You might wonder why I don’t mention Jaz Dhami who was the headliner?  Just not my cuppa tea I’m afraid - but you could see that the audience loved him!

This hour-long programme was an oasis in a televisual desert, and it’s good to see that there is live, lively music still happening. It was out-doors – in Kelvingrove Park – so no gripes from me about folk still gathering indoors and potentially spreading Covid.

Oh – and there was the food – the presenters went to one of the food vans, and I could just smell what they were eating – I see an Indian Garden Takeaway on the horizon https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/05/14/just-a-good-pace-to-eat/  - still not going out to eat in.



Something interesting from Hugh Warwick…. https://www.hughwarwick.com/ ….


“The Queen’s Hedgehog!

21 DEC 2022 — 

Naming animals is a tricky job - all the easy ones have been grabbed - like the snuffling animal that hogs the hedges … you know, the hedgehog! Today Kew Gardens announced the name of a new fungus, one of more than a hundred they have identified this year - and this is named after the Queen Elizabeth II - Hydnum regina

As described in the Guardian by Patrick Barkham: This is a rare European species known in Britain only by the specimen which defines the species, which was found in the ancient beech woodland of White Down, Surrey. Previously known as Hydnum albidum, a name originating from North America, a collaboration of British field mycologists and Kew experts led to its description as a distinct European species.

Every time there is a hedgehog story, my computer pings me - keeps me on my toes as there is a new Sonic game out there and I have not found a way of blocking those references! But this one was different!

Studying ecology is crucial - working out what is out there and understanding the links between those things. Whether it is fungi, plants, animals - even the bacteria and viruses - they all form part of the complex web of life. 

This has been at the heart of COP15 debates in Canada, which have just ended. Some people have returned from this international biodiversity summit claiming a sensation of hope … I do not know enough about it yet to draw strong conclusions - but at the heart of this is the drive to find ways of giving nature value - financial value so it can be added into great spreadsheets … and it makes me feel uneasy, even if it is the only game in town.

My lack of ease stems from the predominance of ‘economy’ in global thinking - as opposed to ‘ecology.’

Both words stem from the same route - the ancient Greek, ‘oikos’ which means home … economy is about the management of our home - ecology is the study of our home. The problem is that many people still think that the economy is everything. Yet the economy is but a small subset of a healthy ecosystem. Without an ecosystem that works, there will be no economy. At this point - let me point you to the work of Kate Raworth - author of the vitally important book Doughnut Economics

The work we do raising awareness about hedgehog highways is a microcosm of this bigger story - the networks we nurture by ensuring hedgehogs can move between our gardens is very much like the local, regional, national and international pathways that allow nature to flourish. We should not think that what we are doing is trivial - every bit of work we do is helping to sustain life on earth.”


I must admit to being amused by the idea of a fungus being named after the Queen.


Here’s one I made earlier….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/03/19/interesting-finds-at-mill-sands/


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