I’m looking at dear Ragnor’s wonderful face on Page 11 of Andy and I fall in love with him all over again. He is a tough guy, king of the mound with a courageous constitution and very steady heart. Like all of my characters Ragnor evolved from my observations. I will be the first to admit that I knew little then and still know little about sheep but from my first days in Scotland I became a sheep watcher. They do the silliest things besides running into the road at the most inopportune moments. And where one goes another or fifty must follow. I always worry that they will run right over a cliff but then they suddenly veer clear of the drop-off and back onto the road directly in front


You are probably an adult and not a child reading this but don’t let that discount the idea. I’m certain at sometime when you were little you made tents in your bedroom or the living room, under the dining room table with blankets, and sheets, pillows, or even sofa cushions, much to your mother’s dismay. WELL NOW, DO IT AGAIN and GRAB A BOOK and maybe a little person or several and a plate of cookies!!!! I love to read aloud and love even more being read aloud to. At home and in my profession reading aloud was a magical time. Pillows and beanbag chairs, quilts and blankets were all stuffed under a, sometimes, tenuously drooping roof of sheets. A small lamp was plugged in and we creat

Whistling for owls: Magnus

Whistle for an owl? I wouldn’t have believed it could happen until I visited Roger Philby in Orkney. Roger is a master silver designer and craftsman on Mainland, Orkney I visited his studio Fluke Jewelry one day and noticed a beautiful painting of an owl by Tim Wootton whom you can find in Stromness. Roger and I talked at length about our common love of owls and the wonderful short-eared owl found on Orkney. We agreed that this creature was exceptionally curious and friendly and would appear at the most amazing moments. Roger then offered to prove to me how special these creatures are. We stepped outside

Why Orkney?

February: I watched the sea toss boulders the size of volley balls onto the land in Rackwick. In the Hoy Kirk the force of the wind blew in the window and shattered the plaster off the wall. That night lightening pounded over the sea like continuous cannon fire. Next morning the sun shown silvery gold over the glen and by noon a full rainbow ended outside my bedroom window. The cliffs are bare of birds. A blue mountain hare turned white for the winter finds shelter in the heather. I walk to the sea that is now calm and watch glistening waves lap onto what it left of the winter beach. A brisk wind has just a hint of balminess. Dark payne grey clouds form in the north sky a

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