Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference. 


Every morning I go into the garden and have a chat with Buddha One  about where I’m  going and am I on the right lines. For example should I have been so rude to the old man who almost ran me down on his wheel chair? And am I doing the right thing in turning down the post of Education Officer in Takoradi? Wouldn’t we be better off there than here in Lerwick which, don’t get me wrong, I dearly love, friendly place, lovely people. Gwendoline, bless her, left it entirely up to me. It’s your life, she said (though in actual fact it’s our life). 
Another thing. Was it right to spend all that money on the Time Share in Tenerife (against Gwendoline’s advice I must say). Which is partly why I turned down the post in Takoradi. You see how complicated, intertwined, everything gets?
I wait for a response. 

I sometimes wonder if Gwendoline did the right thing in marrying me, I go on.  Am I really the right person for her? There’s a certain glazed look that comes across her face sometimes when I give her my account of  my day’s activities that makes me wonder.

If only someone would tell me what to do with myself!
Getting no response from Buddha One, I turn to Buddha Two who in a certain light has a more sympathetic face:
If only, I say to him… If only…the saddest words in the English language, but if only I had taken the road less travelled by more of the time…… or some of the time at least…even once….yes, even once.
It’s so difficult, just doing the right thing.
I know Confucius or someone said, Life can only be understood backwards but has to be lived forwards.  Being told stuff like that doesn’t help me one little bit.

Should I put a sizeable bet on Spain beating Italy? And if they do, should I spend my winnings on replacing the Caravanette or give  in to Gwendoline’s pleadings for a new kitchen?

I wait for  answers but his stony gaze goes right past me.



Up in the Orkneys

 WW2 poem by Captain Blair RN who had been posted to Scapa Flow:

This bloody town’s a bloody cuss
No bloody trains, no bloody bus,
And no one cares for bloody us
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody roads are bloody bad,
The bloody folks are bloody mad,
They’d make the brightest bloody sad,
In bloody Orkney.

All bloody clouds, and bloody rains,
No bloody kerbs, no bloody drains,
The Council’s got no bloody brains,
In bloody Orkney.

Everything’s so bloody dear,
A bloody bob, for bloody beer,
And is it good? – no bloody fear,
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody ‘flicks’ are bloody old,
The bloody seats are bloody cold,
You can’t get in for bloody gold
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody dances make you smile,
The bloody band is bloody vile,
It only cramps your bloody style,
In bloody Orkney.

No bloody sport, no bloody games,
No bloody fun, the bloody dames
Won’t even give their bloody names
In bloody Orkney.

Best bloody place is bloody bed,
With bloody ice on bloody head,
You might as well be bloody dead,
In bloody Orkney


Captain Hamish ‘Bloody’ Blair
Isna posted here nae mair
But naebdy seems tae bloody care
In bloody Orkney.

                                     Ward Hill,   HOY

When we  took the ferry to Hoy,  I  talked to the ticket collector(from Stromness) who was a very amusing and friendly guy and on the way back I told him about meeting Hoy’s celebrity, Jack Rendall,  and how interesting a story-teller he was and did he (the ticket-collector) know him and he shrugged and said, ” A dinnae ken ony o thae hillbillies.”
That’s what I now enjoy saying as I switch off  things like Celebrity Big Brother.

                      Rackwick, HOY                   

The glen route through the gap in the hills leads on to the bay at  Rackwick.
Anna and I set off  for Rackwick from Northern Hoy past  Sandy Loch (the one place on Hoy which  Geoge Mackay Brown disliked) when the black cloud overhead opened and turned the path into a fierce little stream………

I turned back but Anna, made of sterner stuff,  pressed on to Rackwick where she was rescued from the cold and the wet and returned to North Hoy by a good Samaritan all the way from Canada driving a Caravanette. (You can always rely on a good Samaritam to be passing by when you most need her…in my experience. You, gentle reader, are probably a pretty good Samaritan yourself when/if the opportunity arises.)
Next day, the sun came out, the birds burst into song,  the dogs wagged their tails and everyone had a spring in their step and a smile on their face.

Orkney’s okay. I love it.