Monday, 9 May 2011


I went for a walk in the wind yesterday, roundabout high tide. I wanted to see how all that stuff that piles up behind the geo – heavy yellow wellies, planks, pallets – scales that three or four metres of rock. It must come up on a westerly, though, and this was from the east, pouring over the Clift Hills and smacking into the Voe, plucking at the windbreak round my veg garden. The warm wind wrenched me like a bad tooth and drove me towards the cliffs. My rocket and radish and beet seedlings were burnt to the earth, but the little purple flowers on the cliff were fine, just shaking and bending. I'll call them rubber-wort. What I did find was a plasticised shipping document from the Royal Arctic Line, bilingual, in Greenlandic and Danish. It was lying in a ditch that runs near one of the lochans behind the house. You can look up live ship positions on the Royal Arctic website, and it shows one of their routes running just south of Shetland on its way to the Western Coast of Greenland. Up to this point my favourite piece of flotsam has been a crate of Russian ketchup. Now I'm having a nice lunch-break from the novel, trying to work out which of their ships it fluttered off, using google translate for a crash course in Danish, trying to work out the 'Vejledning' (Instructions) on the reverse:

'Containerens endelig DESTINATION angives tydeligt med stor skrift': 'The container's final destination indicated neatly in big font' (capitals?) Ah dear. For time-wasting, who needs Facebook?

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