05 May 2010

smoking suitors



News of the Icelandic dragon's latest belch has everyone on edge. Crick-necked.  I'm still in Scotland, if you can call it that.  "Hae du y seh ut?" Orkney, swapping cigarette smoke with bearded old catfish in woolen caps. They spend every lean day hanging around the pier waiting for business. Taxidrivers, fishermen, ferryboat captains.  At night (if you can call it that - daylight licks us from 4 to half past 10) the crew dissolves into the pub like midges into heather, folding themselves into darkness in a way that's only natural.  Peat-smoke, fingernails, whisky...

There are 28 labelled whiskies behind the bar. I heard from one sly midge, however, that there are ample homespun vareties babysitting the odd pocket. "Du see thet greht loomp in George's syde?" I didn't know they even made pockets there...Orcadians are resourceful folk.  Why else would the rest of Scotland be so wild about the way it tastes? Oatcakes, ice cream, porter...
   

 I read in a poem that "folk seem to spark 'wae da wedder'" in this place, which is serenaded by gales and rain and seawater like an obstinate suitor after a lesbian queen.  Somehow, it wakes up everyday in the same place - a trait I am growing to admire.  Let the cloud drift to you, let the weather spark your fire.  Orkney, Iceland, ...

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