Before Lockdown……….

By Bernie Bell

The last place we went out to for lunch, was Wellpark Garden Centre, in Kirkwall , where we saw some ‘wildlife’ ….

…and we both had the vegan vegetable chilli – we’re not vegan – it just tastes nice!

This was just before lockdown, in early March, and we bought some vegetable seeds – planning ahead.  Those seeds are now sown, and first leaves are coming through.  Life goes on.  My Mum used to say ‘Time and Patience brought the snails to America”. I’ll amend that to ‘Time and Patience will bring lockdown to an end.”  Time and Patience, and we’ll go to Wellpark again, when it’s sensible to do so, and I’ll get a  plant for by the back wall – always plotting for the garden – looking ahead.

The last place we went out for an evening meal to, was The Storehouse Restaurant in Kirkwall  On hearing that Mike is allergic to onions, the chef rustled up a variation on what Mike had wanted from the menu, but without onions – which Mike gave a big thumbs up to!  That’s Orkney service for you.

I was tickled by the sign for the men’s toilet, which, to me, looks like Romesh Ranganathan!

toilet at the Storehouse B Bell

I don’t know if it’s meant to, but it does!

And, the last place we got in the car and went to for a walk, was the Ring of Brodgar  I haven’t been in the car since that day  – the 22nd March.

Brodgar will have had a chance to heal, as, presumably, the only folk who go there are those who live near enough to walk or cycle.

It looks like Nick Card, Director of the Ness of Brodgar archaeology dig, might almost have the place to himself at the moment, and the results of his isolation roaming, can be seen on the Orkney Wildlife Facebook page

Nick’s photos of birds show an ‘eye’ and an appreciation – scroll down ‘til you find the reflected Oystercatcher.

Nick is fortunate to live where he does, but there will be nooks & crannies & peaceful places, and wildlife, and birds, near you – even in the cities – life is bursting into life at the moment – and, with less traffic and general racket about, folks can hear the birds singing again.

Lockdown has produced different things for different people. Some distressing, un-comfortable and disturbing.  For some folk,  it’s been an opportunity for them to step more slowly, look about them more – at different times of the day, and, in the Orkney spring-time, the night, too, as the light lasts ‘til late.

Grayson Perry has recently done a television series called ’Grayson Perry’s Art Club’, encouraging people to – look about them, and paint or draw what they see and encounter.

I don’t think he includes photographs, but I’m sure that some exceptional photography will have been produced by folk who have had the chance to be in the right place at the right time to catch – light, place, ‘the weather’ (!), and ….creatures – catching without harming, as the folk who contribute to the Orkney Wildlife Facebook page, do.

Grayson’s most recent programme featured, very pertinently, what the public see from their windows during lockdown.  Mike did a wee film, of a wee clump of saxifrage, viewed through our back window, during the mad winds we’ve been having, whistling across Orkney……..

Life, movement – what happens if you let life, live in your gravel

Looking out of our front window, I’ve seen birds feeding on the dandelion ‘clocks’ in the meadow.  The dandelions are starting to go over now, and I saw a Linnet, pecking away at the seeds – so, dandelions do serve a purpose after all – as well as being cheerful and the bees loving them.  A lot of people don’t like dandelions – I like them when they are golden, and I like them when they are ghostly-white – sun and moon.

Lockdown doesn’t have to mean locked in or locked up. We can still go out and look about us – or just look out the window – there’s plenty of life, there, too.

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1 reply »

  1. NB
    The background noise to the saxifrage film, is Chelsea Flower Show on the telly – not us having a party!

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