Listening At The Loons…..‘Another Kind of Time’ – Marking Time…. Clestrain News….

by Bernie Bell - 08:23 on 03 May 2023


Listening At The Loons…

As we’re both presently experiencing a ‘rough patch’ with our health we need to stick to short walks or outings.

We’ve driven past The Loons RSPB reserve many times, but never stopped to visit the hide and look about us – I suppose because it’s on the way to other places where there are walks to go on.

The car park for the hide was full, so we decided to go to the Listening Wall instead, which is about half a mile along the road from the hide, and which we’ve previously noticed in passing and thought it looked appealing. 

This structure was  inspired by the parabolic sound mirrors built in some areas of the South and North-east coasts of England between circa. 1916 and the 1930’s.  They gave early warning of approaching enemy aircraft but as aircraft developed and became more sophisticated the sound mirrors became less effective in revealing their presence, and were finally made obsolete by the advent of radar….


The Listening Wall works in a similar way – amplifying the sounds of the life in the area around it. 

There is a small car park, from which we could look across to the pools and reed beds of the Reserve…

……..and see the Listening Wall in front of us…


On the path on the way down to the Wall there are wildlife inspired poems by the children of Dounby Community School  which have been carved into stones by Frances Pelly…

Soaring – singing – slicing

Through the atmospheric air

The crescendo sounds of nature

Within a soothing lullaby


The vibrating music of the darting snipe

Robotic sounds

Late in spring night


Bright Sedge-warbler

Summer sky song

Sharp sounding

Scratchy voices


Through the autumn breeze

Flying in squiggly Vs

Pink-footed geese

Yap like puppies


Restless rustling reeds

In the wintry winds

Swaying hissing dancing

They go.



Inside the curve of the wall..

And - what you might see or hear if you stand or sit and……. listen…

I’m thinking…on a fine evening…as the light is fading….what a place to be….


Some other examples of carving by Frances Pelly…






‘Another Kind of Time’……

From ‘Emergence’ magazine…

"Another Kind of Time

An Interview with Jenny Odell

“As planet-bound animals, we live inside shortening and lengthening days; inside the weather, where certain flowers and scents come back, at least for now, to visit a year-older self. Sometimes time is not money but these things instead.”

Contemporary life demands that we measure and quantify time in fixed, uniform intervals, divorced from seasonal shifts, from the ways our days naturally stretch and fluctuate. We’re conditioned to treat time, like money, as something we can own, waste, or save; we feel pressure to “beat the clock,” to “seize the day,” to find useful ways to “kill time.” This language betrays an antagonistic, scarcity-based relationship with time that can leave many of us feeling trapped, hurried, and exhausted. 

In this expansive conversation, artist and writer Jenny Odell reminds us that it doesn’t have to be this way. In her new book,
Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock, Jenny embraces change, texture, and interruption as potential openings in the ceaseless march of minutes and hours—openings that can let us glimpse the inherent unpredictability and creativity of every moment. What choices, what futures, might become possible, she asks, if we slipped free of the domination of clock time and moved toward ways of being that are better tuned to the rhythms and patterns of the Earth?"



And from me…re.  marking time…..

Marking Time

When sitting at my desk

I have two ways of telling the time.


I have a clock

And my computer screen.


The clock is fast

The computer is slow.


This teaches me

The futility of clock-watching.


BB January 2022




Clestrain News….

The hearth is the heart of the home…


Does anyone else have stories, or objects, connected with Clestrain or John Rae?  If so – please contact the John Rae Society…



Here’s one I made earlier…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2021/09/16/the-tankerness-house-story/

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