In Memoriam….The Garden of Brodgar……The Picture Tells The Story…. We’re Doing It Again…

by Bernie Bell - 07:12 on 17 March 2023

In Memoriam…

On the evening of 17 March 1969 the Longhope Lifeboat went to the aid of the Liberian cargo ship ‘Irene' in a Force 9 gale.

The following day, the capsized lifeboat, 'TGB', was found floating four miles south-west of Torness Point - all hands had been lost.


I hope that Howie (Firth) won’t mind if I quote what he wrote to me of his memory of that time, as the way he describes the funeral and the feelings there – human sorrow and the power of Nature - evoke what the feeling around that time and place will have been.

The loss of the lifeboat brings back more memories and I remember the funeral there, and how so many people went to it, with ships deployed to carry the numbers. I was one of many on the Pole Star. In the walk from the kirk to the kirkyard it seemed that the whole of Orkney was there on the road and somehow part of something bigger, and there was a feeling of the sheer power of the sea and Nature herself.”



The Garden of Brodgar……

I posted this on m’blog yesterday….


…including the link to download Beverley Ballin Smith’s report, and my comment that it all started with plans for a wildflower meadow – an idea which delights me!

Then I thought – maybe when the dig has finished next year - that field could be a wildflower meadow.

Then I thought – I wonder if the soil from the spoil heap will go back onto the land there and, if so, would it be possible that there could be seeds in that soil contemporary with the active life of the site, which would  then come back to life?  So I looked up the possibility, and….


Note…and I quote….

“There are a few reports and examples of ancient seeds found in pyramids and ancient palaces that have germinated, but data on seed longevity is scarce.”

There’s a thought to conjure with!

I’m now looking to see what might turn up in that field in the years following the Ness being covered over again long term.

To paraphrase a song my Mum used to sing…


“The Garden of Eden has vanished they say
But I know the lie of it still
Just turn to the left at the bridge of Brodgar
And stop when halfway to Bookan.

It's there you'll find it I know sure enough
For fortune has come to my call
The grass it is green around the Stenness Loch
And the blue sky is over it all.”


When the site is covered over we’ll still know it’s there and, hopefully, it won’t be forgotten again.

Not at all sound archaeologically…. just thoughts and images to play with….picture it…



The Picture Tells The Story…….


In these times of food insecurity – think of all those houses with patches of garden put to mown grass. 

The old-fashioned cottage garden had room for flowers and veg,  and the presence of some flowers can deter insects from damaging  the veg – for example – Marigolds and Carrot Root-fly.  

Ours is a modern house – built in 1986 – yet this is our garden…


….which includes a veg patch by the side of the house, which in summer has herbs grown in fish boxes found on beaches…Tatties…Mixed veg. & Salad leaves…..and where companion planting can still produce beauty and utility…….



We’re Doing It Again…

Human arrogance….


If this disturbs you -  one solution is - don’t eat them.

If in Spain – make your opinion known – if Octopus is on the menu – don’t order it, and let the restaurant owner know why.

Humans are users and manipulators. We encounter intelligence….. https://frontiersmagazine.org/the-wonder-that-is-slime-mould/

….and we prey on it …  https://hothardware.com/news/scientists-create-a-living-mushroom-motherboard

Pigs are intelligent, thinking creatures – that doesn’t come into the equation when humans want to use them….


I hope that Octopus farming in the conditions proposed will never become a reality.


Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/09/01/a-personal-photo-time-line-of-the-hall-of-clestrain-part-two/



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