Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Chasing the Merry Dancers

From BBC Radio Orkney's Facebook Page
This is the first for the last few mornings that I haven't woken to a flurry of facebook photos accompanying posts boasting of the AMAZING activity of the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, over Orkney the previous night. It seems they've been viewed in every part of the islands in recent days. Except in the sky above where I'm staying! I'm beginning to feel singled out, the only one around not to have been treated to the spectacular light show. My colleagues come in with dancing green lights in their eyes, laughing at my failure to be blessed like them. "Yes, the whole sky was green," they say, "celestial curtains waving in a heavenly breeze." 

From BBC Radio Orkney's Facebook Page
On Not Being Able to See for Looking

It's beginning to feel like the time I watched for weeks before seeing the kingfisher down at the River Kelvin near where I lived in Glasgow. Everyone I knew had seen it. I went every day to try and catch a glimpse. Once with my daughter I stood on the footbridge gazing at the brown water. A little old woman came past and engaged me in conversation about cormorants and eider ducks, common on the river. While my attention was thus taken up, my daughter said, "A kingfisher just flew by there." The little old woman went merrily on her way. I was convinced she had scales underneath her tweed coat!

Eventually I decided to stop looking. When I walked beside the river, I told myself, I would enjoy whatever I saw. I would feel blessed by the ducks and the cormorants, doubly blessed by the heron. And then one brilliant day in Autumn, with the reflections of the leaves turning the water gold, this 'little bit chipped off in brilliance' shot under the arc of the bridge, 'a flashing kingfisher that flew with soundless beauty'. 

So the Merry Dancers can dance unseen; they can mock me all they like. I will enjoy the stars instead. And the moon. And this morning, the sun rising sweet as an apricot over the Holm of Houton.

Yap & Yarn

Both the Yap & Yarn groups have got off to a clicking clacking start, with everything being cast on from socks to jumpers, cushion covers to arran throws, scarves to woolly hats. My efforts are growing sl-o-o-o-w-ly. Here's the new neck-warmer-in-progress. There are knitters of all levels of ability and those a bit further along help the ones for whom casting on is still a mystery. Karen and Heather kept me straight - or rather, wavy. And lacy. 

Scottish Poetry Library

Lilias Fraser of Scottish Poetry Library kindly sent us some postcards of Tom Leonard's poem In Hospital, which is a tribute to women knitting: 

the future, knitting the future
the present peaceful, quiet

Check out all the wonderful poems on their website. Click the link above to read Tom Leonard's poem in full.

Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of the all time favourite books among readers across the world. It is celebrating its bicentenary this year, so expect a flurry of tributes. One of my friends has just reread it for the umpteenth time because of the comfort to be derived from it in times of stress.

The year started with the BBC World Book Club discussing it with an audience from around the world. Click the link to listen again to the discussion. Among those taking part was PD James, whose book, Death Comes to Pemberley is the next title to be tackled by the Lunchtime Reading Group in  Kirkwall Library. Click on the link to the website for details of all the reading groups. 

Pride and Prejudice is on my list of favourite books too. How about you?

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