An Orkney A to Z - Ruminations of a drystone dyker View larger

An Orkney A to Z - Ruminations of a drystone dyker


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Ruminations of a drystone dyker and other dreams.

By Jerry Wood.


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'I would like to direct the reader to the top left corner of Orkney - between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean - to the Queen O' the Isles, Westra in old speech, a strange intricate shape of hills and wild shores, ups and downs, rocks and sand - and submit this simple alphabet in the hope that, letter by letter, it builds up a kaleidoscope of this lovely distant place much as a dry stone dyke presents many colours and shapes and problems and - as happens, some of these stones sitting less happily than others - nevertheless join together to form a whole.

I have noticed sometimes (not always, it is true) that a dyke formed of irregular, difficult stone -oft cursed! - looks bonnier than one too regular, too easily created for it is all too easy to cast aside an awkward stone which may later be the triumph of the wall. And perhaps that can be said of people. For this book is primarily about people and their lives in this far-flung place and is offered with the greatest good will to Westray!

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