Orkney International Science Festival!!!......Darkness Is The Absence Of Light….. Thought For the Day…..

by Bernie Bell - 08:41 on 27 January 2023

Orkney International Science Festival!!!......

Yay!  I’ve had the first lot of info. about this year’s Science Fest……

“Hello from the Festival!

And it’s looking like being a special year. For a start we’ll have the Sun – a spectacular installation developed in collaboration by artist Alex Risnler and solar physicist Prof. Robert Walsh. Their aim: to recreate the surging energy of the surface of the sun. The means: an inflated sphere and state-of-the-art projection of NASA images, speeded up to show the bursting flares and boiling storms whose energy provides our warmth and light and drives our tides and weather. For an early flavour, here is a brief  1-minute video.

The Sun will be in the heart of Orkney, in St Magnus Cathedral, for the seven days of the Festival. Events around it will include a concert blending electronic music with choral singing and organ music."

(The Sun reminds me of when we went to see The Moon….


I now have a dilemma – The Moon came to Stromness before Covid came to the world.  I very, very much want to go to see The Sun – but - I still don’t go indoors where there will be gatherings of unknown people. 

Maybe if I/we timed it right….went when there aren’t likely to be many people….wear a mask and keep away from them if there are…maybe…..

We managed it when we wanted to see the new porch in the Cathedral…..


I do so want to!  But – I also don’t want to  ‘do an Icarus’  by going near to The Sun.

Back to the Fest. info…..)


“Other Solar talks will include the latest news of the quest to achieve nuclear fusion, and an Arctic journey in search of the Northern Lights.

It will also be an opportunity to see more of Orkney, through walks and bus tours. This year, for instance, is the centenary of the birth of the Orkney writer Bessie Skea whose descriptions of Orkney’s landscape, plants and wildlife are a delight.

'Syradale has an air all of its own, appreciably milder than that of the open plain, except when a wind is funnelling up the valley. The west wind and a haze of cloud followed us. Wild pansies edged a field where cattle grazed; we passed another dressed in pink and gold, where ragged robin spread a close carpet of colour on one side and buttercups, in an extravagance of burnished yellow, lit the other half.'
- A Walk to the Hamars

The Festival dates are 7-13 September 2023.  And there is much more news to come!

To visit the Festival website…click here…. https://oisf.org/


Darkness Is The Absence Of Light…..

I’m always looking for something to read, especially as Mike and I don’t raid charity shops these days – he drops off bags of stuff, but doesn’t stop for a rummage. We are very Covid Conscious.

I’d never heard of Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark Is Rising’ books until I saw that Robert MacFarlane has been involved in adapting them for the radio…


I admire what Mr. Mac writes, so thought that I would probably like to read, what he likes to read.  We ordered the whole series from Stromness Books & Prints…  https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/06/21/stromness-book-shop-scotlands-only-drive-in-book-shop/ , they arrived, and I began to read the first volume – ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’.  I don’t usually read the introduction to books - I prefer to dive into what the author has written - but as the introduction is by Mr. Mac, I read it. 

I was a bit taken aback to see that he first read these books in 1989, when he’d just turned 13 years of age and the Berlin Wall had been torn down.

In 1989, I was 34 years of age, and remember well the Wall coming down.  I had a friend at the time who had been away on a holiday - somewhere away among mountains and trees with no electricity – no news.  He came back, and when he was told that the Berlin Wall had come down, with all that that signified, he simply didn’t believe it.  It seemed too sudden.  For us after-the-war children it had always been there - been a symbol of division – division within a nation.  A city divided and movement only allowed through ’Check-point Charlie’…


A line in Mr. Mac’s introduction to a book and all those images came flooding back  - people climbing on the Wall, pulling down great lumps of it.  They’d have been shot for doing that, not long before.

Thinking of  David Bowie’s song ‘Heroes’ and the lines about seeing a couple kissing under the shadow of the Wall…….  https://www.radiox.co.uk/artists/david-bowie/was-david-bowies-heroes-really-based-on-a-true-story/

It was such a big, hard, dark THING - straddling and squashing people’s lives.

Friend Eg found it hard to get a grip on the fact that it had gone while he was away on holiday.

Sometimes positive,  harmonizing things do happen.

And now on with reading ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’….


Thought For the Day…..

Having watched Bettany Hughes in Gibraltar…. https://www.channel4.com/programmes/bettany-hughes-treasures-of-the-world/on-demand/72732-003 , speaking of how the Battle of Trafalgar was reported in the local newspaper at the time Bettany said that news is the beginning of history.  And I thought if News is the root of History – that’s worrying - as it depends on who wrote it, and who they wrote it for.  Then it becomes accepted as what was/is so.   That’s a worrying thought.


And then I read this….  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-64377942



Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/07/24/when-flesh-becomes-stone/





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