Passing Through Doorways

In the introduction to this series on my forthcoming plans, I suppose I gave you a brief idea of my personal history involving my sense of the world as a whole — nature, culture, animal, mineral, vegetable — and for this piece I shall continue in this vein. Some of you will already know much of this, but I think it better to repeat myself here, rather than skip details that will later prove important.

I left Orkney and headed for university when I was eighteen. Looking back, twenty years later, I seem impossibly young, naive, hedonistic and, at times, idiotic. I suppose, however, this is much the same with many eighteen year olds. I chose the wrong university course, in the wrong place, but that did not really matter. What I got out of that time of my life was far more important; I collected emotions, experiences, ideas, voices, and observations, as others collected stamps.

Old doorway with stone wall

Doorway in Lower Pulteneytown, Caithness. It seemed fitting to select doorways to illustrate this piece.

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See the World!

When I was young I wanted to see the world. I wanted to explore the unexplored, find hidden cities and lost tribes (never once thinking that these tribes were unlikely to have counted themselves lost), uncover ancient treasures and discover species new to science.

I pored over the literature I had access to at the time (in those distant pre-internet days), whether my parents’ ample collection of books, my own burgeoning supply, or the library (school or otherwise). I would read fictional tales of these adventures: Willard Price, Arthur Conan Doyle, Johann Wyss, Daniel Defoe, R.M. Ballantyne or Gerald Durrell being just some of the authors I admired and devoured. I would also work my way through the non-fiction selection, again including tales of real life explorers and, especially, works about the natural world — particular favourites being David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell (again – The Amateur Naturalist is a book I returned to, and still do, over and over).

Paris, France. The Luxembourg Gardens.

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris. For this piece I will decorate with a handful of Parisian snapshots, seems to make sense.

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North Sutherland, Scotland

All these photos were taken on Sunday the 1th of October. They are all taken from the car, along the route recently determined the “North Coast 500“. I will be sharing more on this in the future, but for now I thought a few photographs of our neighbouring county, Sutherland, would wet the whistle.

Sutherland is a favourite county of mine and is the only county to share a land border with Caithness, fully enclosing us with a barrier of mountain, loch and moor. Although I do have problems with how much of the land here is owned by so few people (and many of them absentee landlords or conglomerations – Japanese or Danish, for example), it is still beautiful, and will still be beautiful long after those who claim “ownership” have returned to their constituent atoms. (more…)