GMB — Stromness News (1948)

The following “Stromness News” columns by George Mackay Brown, unsigned, were published in the Orkney Herald during 1948.


13 January 1948, p. 4. Cold spell; books for the County Library; Burns on the social horizon; Stromness District Nursing Association; Whist Club party; golf; Current Affairs Discussion Group; German prisoners’ good work. ¶ 20 January 1948, p. 4. Drama Festival; property market; the snow; entertainment slump; other names for Stromness (Hamnavoe and Cairston); Arts Council concert (record attendance); Current Affairs Discussion Group. ¶ 27 January 1948, p. 4. Alexander Graham; new Council houses; film A Certain Nobleman; clearing up Stromness; Physical Culture class.

3 February 1948, p. 4. Victoria Street Woman’s Guild; Current Affairs Discussion Group; death of Thomas W. Eunson. ¶ 10 February 1948, p. 4. Rope slippers; a new Priestley play and J. M. Barrie’s Mary Rose by the the Perth Repertory Company; Current Affairs Discussion Group; famous signatures in the shop window of L. J. Smith; pinups selected; Whist Club; next season’s football; S.W.R.I Burns Night. ¶ 17 February 1948, p. 4. Bad weather; annual general meeting of the Stromness Golf Club; Stromness Youth Club; competition for Miss Stromness of 1948; outstanding actors in the Drama Festival; two Stromness plays in the Festival; Stromness singers in the rehearsals for the Easter performance of the Messiah; Stromness without lamp posts; two old whiskey stills still visible at the distillery; Current Affairs Discussion Group. ¶ 24 February 1948, p. 4. Hill fires; three more pinups; the Alexander Graham memorial; Perth Repertory Players; Current Affairs Discussion Group.

2 March 1948, p. 4. New manager of the Lounge Cafe in Lerwick; no housing exchanges; new library books; whist drive and dance; church news. ¶ 9 March 1948, p. 4. Whist drive; loss of Stromness football club’s books; Easter events; Current Affairs Discussion Group; visit by the Perth Repertory Theatre Company; three Festival plays; Tory meeting; death of James M. Linklater. ¶ 16 March 1948, p. 4. Football; gardens; Stanger’s Park paved; Alexander Graham memorial; Unionist meeting; Temperance Hall for Youth Club; death of Patrick Mee; Lloyds agent; Legion talk by Leslie J. Smith; historic photograph of Post Office officials; Miss Stromness 1948; church news; bulb show. ¶ 23 March 1948, p. 4. Stromness Town Council; trip to South Ronaldsay; North Church Woman’s Guild tea; Youth Club; jumble sale; performance of Messiah at the Victoria Street Church; meeting of the Stromness Athletic F.C.; temperance lecture; further competition for Miss Orkney. ¶ 30 March 1948, p. 4. Miss Stromness 1948; licensing for the sale of alcohol; the Messiah performance; golf; Easter weather; drama from Kirkwall; retirement of G. S. Robertson from the postmastership of Stromness Post Office; new Youth Club; football and hockey.

6 April 1948, p. 4. Stromness Academy holidays; the weather; the Town Clock custodian; church news; Provost G. S. Robertson’s retirement; Kirkwall Scout exhibition; Stromness airman congratulated. ¶ 13 April 1948, p. 4. Snow mantle; church news; Stromness holiday; Nursing Association the budget; golf; football; Whist Club social evening; Youth Club; Stromness Liberal Party. ¶ 20 April 1948, p. 4. A Stromness guidebook; shipping notes; Stanley Cursiter’s house; April holidays; Miss Stromness 1948; three Stromness licenses (to sell liquor); jumble sale; Kirkwall Scouts’ exhibition. ¶ 27 April 1948, p. 5. Miss Stromness 1948; comedy by the Kirkwall Scout Club Dramatic Society; local football league formed; Town Council; fundraising for trip to Shetland; jam jar collection; District Nursing Association.

4 May 1948, p. 6. Local League Football Competition; Stanley Cursiter; May dew custom; new library books; the overhead wiring of Stromness has reached “the furthest limits of the South End”; golf competitions; Miss Stromness 1948; church news; Young Farmers’ Club; listening to football matches on radio; Stromness Sailing Club. ¶ 11 May 1948, p. 4. Provost G. S. Robertson returns from holiday; open-air seats at Ness; church news; film The Outlaw at Stromness Cinema; football; golf and putting; Miss Stromness; Thursday a holiday; jumble sale by the Stromness Ladies’ Hockey Club. ¶ 18 May 1948, p. 4. Renovation of library lavatory; the May holiday; debris of war; church news; Stromness youth sports; Stromness Athletic Football Club; the local Youth Club; Stanley Cursiter’s new house to be called “Stennigar”; golf. ¶ 25 May 1948, p. 4. Stromness Tennis Club; site of the Garrison Theatre; church news; new telephone kiosk beside the Stromness Museum; youth sports; anniversary of the date when Stromness became “dry”; concrete paving stones near the hotel; irregularity in town gas supply; annual inspection of the S.S. Orcadia; summer guests arrive; the Orkney football team.

1 June 1948, p. 4. Concert by the Orkney Choral Union; golf; the late Mr. James M. Stevenson (Stromness bookseller); football; Stromness Museum acquisitions. ¶ 8 June 1948, p. 4. Holiday today; local cinema to close; church news; putting; possible gold and radium at Moosland; the artistic activities of Ian MacInnes and John Farmiloe; bowling; a Sromness fire; the football match in Shetland; golf. ¶ 15 June 1948, p. 4. Eric Linklater in town; changes in the colors of buoys in Stromness harbor; bird watchers; local holiday; remains of the Nissen huts; extended bus service between Stromness and Kirkwall; football; sailing boats points racing; message in a bottle found on the beach; golf; swings for children; an illustrated lecture about North Ronaldsay; Gala Day to Deerness. ¶ 22 June 1948, p. 4. Quiet Kirkwall holiday; more benches needed for “the older inhabitants of Stromness”; the end of J. R. Learmonth’s rectorship of Stromness Academy; golf; cinema; John Farmiloe and Ian MacInnes visiting town; new paintings at the Stromness Museum; visitors expected for the summer; unfavorable review of a new Stromness guide book. ¶ 29 June 1948, p. 4. The longest Stromness Town Council meeting; Grieveship Terrace; midsummer; Wishart’s Thursday bus tours; Councillor wins Edinburgh golf trophy; summer tours in the Scapa Rover (boat); local cinema will close down during July; swings; voting for ministers.

6 July 1948, p. 4. Excursion to Flotta and St. Margaret’s Hope; the latest issue of the Stromnessian, the magazine of Stromness Academy; John Farmiloe’s work as an artist; obituaries of James Ritch and William Spence. ¶ 13 July 1948, p. 4. Golf; July weather (a gloomy story); John Farmiloe and George Scott are in Stromness, and Ian MacInnes is expected soon; church news. ¶ 27 July 1948, p. 4. Ordination at the Victoria Street Church; golf; exhibition (by John Farmiloe, George Scott, and Ian MacInness) opening tomorrow.

10 August 1948, p. 4. Loud thunder last Sunday; cement streets in Stromness; reopening of the local cinema; a hole in one at the Stromness Golf Club. ¶ 17 August 1948, p. 4. A film version of Dickens’ Great Expectations; deserted streets in Stromness last Thursday; the Stromness Putting Championship Cup; Eric Linklater’s short story “Sealskin Trousers”; how the art exhibition (see above, 27 July) went. ¶ 24 August 1948, p. 4. Church news; Kirkwall Market holiday; oil paintings from the recent exhibition still on sale; Stromness Academy reassembles from a seven-weeks’ vacation; the new Stromness burgh surveyor; the boundary line between the North End and South End of Stromness; local interest in psychic phenomena; a cigarette shortage; cricket. ¶ 31 August 1948, p. 4. Stromness gardens; street lamps; cycling accident; more on the North–South boundary; a plague of earwigs; Lammas Market Day; the Orkney/Caithness annual football match.

7 September 1948, p. 4. Pipe Band parade; introducing a “Do You Know” series in this column; re-start of the Stromness Whist Club; recent filming in Dundas Street; end of the golf season; ordination at the North Church; Mark Day; breakup of the summer artist colony; retrospect on summer. ¶ 14 September 1948, p. 4. Welfare foods; “the Stromness Market this year was an utter flop”; acknowledgment of a found bottle at Sule Skerry (see above, 15 June); record crowd at the Stromness Museum; “Did You Know – I” (curse of the Black Craig).

19 October 1948, p. 4. Stanley Cursiter on holiday; no municipal election this winter; an Orkney woman is on a 7,000-mile journey; cycle accident; plays by the Perth Repertory Theatre Company; an Orkney boy appears on a popular radio program; the Victoria Street Church Woman’s Guild; John Farmiloe wins prize at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen; new books at the Stromness Library; “Did You Know – 2” (a Stromness radio station); British Legion Club. ¶ 26 October 1948, p. 4. Talk on Communism; Harvest Thanksgiving Day; seats for Stromness pensioners at the Pier Head; no Peedie Summer this year; local entertainment; “Do You Know – 3” (the daughter of Bessie Millie); the Current Affairs class at Stromness Academy; a Fancy Dress Dance.

2 November 1948, p. 4. The harvest thanksgiving service at Victoria Street Church; Stromness Academy’s long weekend; the Pier Head light; the recent storm; Dundee Repertory Theatre; “Do You Know? – 4” (superstitions among Stromness fishermen and sailors). ¶ 9 November 1948, p. 4. A magnificent Aurora Borealis; local rates going down; Guy Fawkes rituals; exhibition sponsored by the Arts Club; sale in benefit of the Victoria Street Church. ¶ 16 November 1948, p. 3. Stromness Youth Club opened; Orkney paintings in the exhibition at the Arts Club, Kirkwall; Girl Guides jubilee party; “Do You Know? – 5” (Robert Leighton’s book The Pilots of Pomona); the Current Affairs class; British Legion Club concert. ¶ 23 November 1948, p. 4. National Insurance queries; North Church Woman’s Guild; Youth Drama Festival in Stromness; town buys Point of Ness; congratulations from Stromness to Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on the birth of their son; another whist club; “Do You Know – 6” (the baptismal font of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Stromness); a wall to be built in Stromness.

7 December 1948, p. 4. Belated “Peedie Summer”; retirement of the curator of the Stromness Museum; a new District Nurse; Miss Stromness 1949; Stromness Youth Club to discuss “What’s wrong with Stromness?”; Christmas in the shops; the Discussion Group meetings; new Stornoway postmaster; the Point of Ness may become a playing field. ¶ 14 December 1948, p. 4. The Suleskerry lighthouse; church news; winter functions at the Stromness Hotel; rumors of a revival of the Boys’ Brigade in Stromness; performances by “The Hill Billies”; Christmas carols “outside your door”; talks and discussions at the Youth Club; “Do You Know?” (the cave under the Black Craig). ¶ 21 December 1948 p. 3. Tory meeting tonight; new “Pin-up” competitions; possible revival of the Yule Log Tug-o’-War; the Orphir British Legion Club entertained at the Stromness Club; a collection for the Royal Blind Asylum and School, Edinburgh; plans for new lighthouse buildings; a Christmas Eve Variety Concert in the British Legion Club; “Do You Know – 8” (the history of Stromness during the last 300 years); a birthday tea sponsored by the North Church Woman’s Guild. ¶ 28 December 1948, p. 3. The Provost on “What’s wrong with Stromness?”; the 1st Stromness Company Boys’ Brigade will be re-formed; the Current Affairs discussion group; a dinner-dance at the Stromness Hotel.

“Under Brinkie’s Brae” (1980)

The following “Under Brinkie’s Brae” columns by George Mackay Brown were published in the Orcadian during 1980 and were signed with initials only. Most were reprinted in GMB’s Rockpools and Daffodils (1992), cited here as RD.


3 January 1980, p. 7. “We still retain some shadow of the ancient Christmas that lasted 12 days.” ¶ 10 January 1980, p. 4. Robert Rendall’s books should be reprinted. ¶ 17 January 1980, p. 4. A meditation on the lives of the earliest inhabitants of the Orkney islands. Repr. RD 20–21. ¶ 24 January 1980, p. 4. Description of a very early (but undated) souvenir booklet about “Stromness and Vicinity.” Repr. RD 21–22.

7 February 1980, p. 4. The pleasures of examining Ordnance Survey maps of Orkney. Repr. RD 22–23. ¶ 14 February 1980, p. 4. Memories of exploring Stromness’s interesting closes. Repr. RD 23–24. ¶ 21 February 1980, p. 4. Recollections of Gray’s Pier (which still existed in his younger days). Repr. RD 24–25.

6 March 1980, p. 4. About his diary-keeping. Repr. RD 25. ¶ 13 March 1980, p. 6. “We do not realise sometimes what a powerful force television is in our lives.” ¶ 20 March 1980, p. 4. A fictionalized account of Bessie Millie’s encounter with John Gow. ¶ 27 March 1980, p. 4. Spring has arrived – but “now, suddenly, Winter is back!”

3 April 1980, p. 6. Poems in childhood. ¶ 10 April 1980, p. 4. A walk along the shore on Palm Sunday. Repr. RD 26. ¶ 17 April 1980, p. 4. A discussion of the plays of Sean O’Casey. Repr. RD 26–27. ¶ 24 April 1980, p. 4. On the anniversary of the death of St. Magnus, he visits Birsay; a day earlier he was at St. Magnus Cathedral and saw where his bones were immured. Repr. RD 27–28.

1 May 1980, p. 4. April and daffodils. ¶ 8 May 1980, p. 4. May Day; the failure of his television. ¶ 15 May 1980, p. 4. Memories of World War Two. Repr. RD 28–29. ¶ 22 May 1980, p. 4. The warmth and sunshine of spring. ¶ 29 May 1980, p. 4. Possible local subjects for Orkney authors to write about. Repr. RD 29–30.

5 June 1980, p. 4. Days spent in the country when he was a boy. Repr. RD 30. ¶ 12 June 1980, p. 4. A walk up Brinkie’s Brae. Repr. RD 31. ¶ 19 June 1980, p. 6. A fierce thunderstorm. Repr. RD 31–32. ¶ 26 June 1980, p. 4. The opening of the Corrigall Farm Museum. Repr. RD 32–33.

3 July 1980, p. 4. A visit to Rackwick on Hoy. ¶ 10 July 1980, p. 4. A series of paintings by children of St. Magnus and the construction of the St. Magnus Cathedral. Repr. RD 33–34. ¶ 17 July 1980, p. 6. The pronunciation of Orkney place names. Repr. RD 34–35. ¶ 24 July 1980, p. 4. “It has been a good summer in Orkney so far.” ¶ 31 July 1980, p. 4. Walking around Stromness early in the morning on the third day of Shopping Week.

7 August 1980, p. 4. “Summer passes, so quickly. Today is the first of August. In a few weeks’ time the shadows of autumn will begin to cluster around us.” ¶14 August 1980, p. 6. “Where have all the insects gone this summer?” ¶ 21 August 1980, p. 6. What it must have been like for young Orkneymen forced to serve on ships two centuries ago. Repr. RD 35. ¶ 28 August 1980, p. 4. An excursion on the sailing ship Marques to Rousay. Repr. RD 36.

4 September 1980, p. 6. The end of summer. ¶ 11 September 1980, p. 4. British and other monarchs who have visited Orkney through the centuries. Repr. RD 36–37. ¶ 18 September 1980, p. 6. “. . . to sail from Norway to Orkney on a Viking longship must have been a deeply uncomfortable experience.” ¶ 25 September 1980, p. 4. Again, the end of summer. Repr. RD 37–38.

2 October 1980, p. 4. The story of Hundi, the son of Earl Sigurd, who was taken hostage. Repr. RD 38–39. ¶ 9 October 1980, p. 4. “October has come in with a half-tempest from the south-west.” ¶ 16 October 1980, p. 4. Accounts of crime on television and heroism in the Orcadian. Repr. RD 39–40. ¶ 23 October 1980, p. 4. “One of the great life-experiences is to come, unexpectedly, upon a writer whose work leaves one struck through with admiration and praise.” ¶ 30 October 1980, p. 4. Halloween in the past.

6 November 1980, p. 4. Memories of early gramophones and wireless sets – and now the arrival of television. ¶ 13 November 1980, p. 4. Guy Fawkes day. Repr. RD 40–41. ¶ 20 November 1980, p. 6. The Orkney habit of understatement. Repr. RD 41. ¶ 27 November 1980, p. 4. The loss of older words in Orkney: “More and more our speech is approximating to Standard English; with, it’s true, the music of the islands in them still.” Repr. RD 41–42.

4 December 1980, p. 6. Various thoughts on a cold winter day. ¶ 11 December 1980, p. 4. Memories of the sweeties he bought during early boyhood. Repr. RD 42–43. ¶ 18 December 1980, p. 6. Reflections on the changing seasons in antiquity. Repr. RD 43–44. ¶  25 December 1980, p. 4. An Orcadian version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with Rolph Scroogeson as the central character. Repr. RD 44–45.

GMB — Letter from Hamnavoe (1975)

The following “Letter from Hamnavoe” columns by George Mackay Brown were published in the Orcadian during 1975 and were signed with initials only. Most were reprinted in GMB’s Letters from Hamnavoe (1979), cited here as LH.


9 January 1975, p. 4. The figures – such as tinkers and lamp-lighters – who used to be seen in the streets of Stromness. Repr. LH 126–27. ¶ 16 January 1975, p. 4. Popular weather-lore when he was a boy. Repr. LH 127–29. ¶ 23 January 1975, p. 4. Tribute to the poet Sydney Goodsir Smith, who visited Orkney twice. Repr. LH 129–30. ¶ 30 January 1975, p. 4. He imagines a day in the eighteenth century, when the sailors in an ale-house are confronted by Bessie Millie, an “ancient sybil.” Repr. LH 130.

6 February 1975, p. 4. Reflections on various honorary burgesses of Stromness, including Walter Scott and Gladstone. Repr. LH 132. ¶ 13 February 1975, p. 3. A visit to the three bronze heads – Stanley Cursiter, Edwin Muir, and Eric Linklater – in the Kirkwall Library, followed by a car ride around the West Mainland. Repr. LH 132–33. ¶ 20 February 1975, p. 4. Color television arrives in Orkney. ¶ 27 February 1975, p. 4. Replacing electric devices in his home.

6 March 1975, p. 4. A mild February is ending; spring is at hand. Repr. LH 133–35. ¶ 13 March 1975, p. 4. Thoughts prompted by watching historical plays on television. ¶ 20 March 1975, p. 4. The increase in postal rates; the artificiality of Summer Time. ¶ 27 March 1975, p. 4. He thought he was going deaf, but the doctor has cleaned his ears, and his hearing is normal again. Repr. LH 135.

What the Pier Head Is Saying (1956)

The following “What the Pier Head Is Saying” columns by George Mackay Brown, all unsigned, were published in the Orkney Herald during 1956.


3 January 1956, p. 3. “The Pier Head is too wise and too long in the tooth to make foolish New Year resolutions. But here are a few of the fervent hopes which they entertain for 1966. . . .” ¶ 10 January 1956, p. 3. Uneasiness about the centralization of island life in Kirkwall. ¶ 17 January 1956, p. 3. The closing of St. Peter’s Church in Stromness. ¶ 24 January 1956, p. 3. The bad weather has kept most of them at home. ¶ 31 January 1956, p. 3. “The perils and graces and grandeurs of snow gave the Pier Head plenty to talk about last week.”

7 February 1956, p. 3. The desirability of creating the Boys’ Hostel in Stromness rather than Kirkwall. ¶ 14 February 1956, p. 3. The war over whether the streets of Stromness should be paved with concrete or flagstones. ¶ 21 February 1956, p. 3. Disapproval of the Drama Festival. ¶ 28 February 1956, p. 3. Walter Scott’s visit to Bessie Millie.

6 March 1956, p. 3. The decision to withdraw ferry service from the South Isles. ¶ 13 March 1956, p. 3. “‘Who is this Shakespeare?’ wonders the Pier Head, having seen for days past every shop window cluttered up with bills advertising the forthcoming Perth Rep. performance of ‘Othello’ at the Town Hall.” ¶ 20 March 1956, p. 3. The removal of the “red-painted weighing machine” at the Pier Head. ¶ 27 March 1956, p. 3. Names of vanished pubs in Stromness.

3 April 1956, p. 3. “. . . now the Pier Head, after a long, barren winter, is looking forward to a feast of debate and argument, lasting all summer long.” ¶ 10 April 1956, p. 3. The continuing problem of housing shortages in Stromness. ¶ 17 April 1956, p. 3. “. . . Stromness – and of course all other small burghs in Scotland – should be divided into wards, each returning a member [of Parliament].”

1 May 1956, p. 3. The arrival of spring.

10 July 1956, p. 3. Shopping Week. ¶ 17 July 1956, p. 3. “This week, of course, the Pier Head is not saying a great deal” (because of Shopping Week). ¶ 31 July 1956, p. 4. “One thing the Pier Head is rather proud of this year, and that is the return to form of our local sportsmen and sportswomen after a good few years.”

7 August 1956, p. 3. “Much, think some folk at the Pier Head, could be done to make the town brighter and more colourful, in a physical sense.” ¶ 14 August 1956, p. 9. The slogan “Tell Scotland.” ¶ 21 August 1956, p. 3. Local jealousy because the Queen Mother recently opened a playing field near Kirkwall. ¶ 28 August 1956, p. 3. A stranger appears at the Pier Head and makes insulting remarks about Orkney.

4 September 1956, p. 3. Stromness Market Day. ¶ 11 September 1956, p. 3. The history of the name Stromness. ¶ 18 September 1956, p. 3. Hostility toward the new subsidized housing in town. ¶ 25 September 1956, p. 3. Talk of creating a new statute of Alexander Graham.

 

 

GMB — Stromness News (1947)

The following “Stromness News” columns by George Mackay Brown, unsigned, were published in the Orkney Herald during 1947.


7 January 1947, pp. 4, 3. Ploughing demonstration; Whist Club; Hogmanay and New Year; Two Years before the Mast (film); resumption of W.E.A. classes; Christmas Praise services. ¶ 14 January 1947, p. 4. Drama Festival; beauty queens; Whist Club; the recent storm; New Year heroes. ¶ 21 January 1947, p. 4. Whist Club; church news; W.E.A. classes. ¶ 28 January 1947, p. 4. S.C.W.S. Social Committee statement; Festival plays; Vikings F.C.; rents up again; Town Council; Whist Club; W.E.A. classes; beauty contests.

4 February 1947, p. 4. Stromness District Nursing Association; Post Office presentation; Burns Supper; Polish Army concert; pilgrimages to culture; church news; Whist Club; Women’s Guild social; W.E.A. classes. ¶ 11 February 1947, p. 4. Polish concert postponed; Festival plays; football; new Herald format; Whist Club; Ian MacInnes; church news. ¶ 18 February 1947, p. 4. Church news; more beauty queens; Festival plays; football link-up. ¶ 25 February 1947, pp. 4–5. Stromness District Nursing Association; skating on reservoir; lifeboat men’s retirement; S.W.R.I.; birthday cake for minister; temporary council houses at the “Attery”; church news; lifeboat whist and dance.

4 March 1947, p. 4. Football; church news; beauty queens; Golf Club annual meeting. ¶ 11 March 1947, p. 4. Australian jam; former Stromness minister (W. E. T. S. Gray) to retire; obituary of Mrs. Mary Robertson; Current Affairs discussion group; political revivals; Athletic F.C. whist. ¶ 18 March 1947, p. 4. Stromness District Nursing Association; new council houses; new library books; beauty queens; North Church Women’s Guild; Tinker’s Road (comedy by Joe Corrie performed in the Town Hall); Whist Club; church news. ¶ 25 March 1947, p. 6. Sheep worrying; Leaving Certificate; snow clearance; football; breakdown of a film projector; beauty queen erratum; electricity for council houses; departure of the “Hoy Head” vessel; British Legion whist; church news; Stromness in 1814 (Bessie Millie as described by Sir Walter Scott).

1 April 1947, p. 4. School leavings; death of Catherine Bell; church news; Whist Club; Victoria Street Women’s Guild; Miss Stromness (beauty contest). ¶ 8 April 1947, p. 4. St. Ola overhaul; Hymn Festival; Pasch eggs; Whist Club; monthly holiday; football; M.P. (Sir Basil Neven-Spence) in Stromness; W.R.I. “Cancer Campaign” whist; the churches at Easter. ¶ 15 April 1947, p. 4. Jimmy Shand; Whist Club; monthly holiday; S.C.W.S. whist; sport. ¶ 22 April 1947, p. 4. Gas price up; church news; “Ola” returns from Aberdeen; smoking; electric street lights in Stromness; North Church Women’s Guild; football; Stromness Sailing Club. ¶ 29 April 1947, p. 4. Church news; Merchant Navy success; golf; Nursing Association; S.C.W.S. whist and dance; football.

6 May 1947, p. 4. Monthly holiday; stormy weather; school picnic in summer; May dew; football; accidents; golf; the property market. ¶ 13 May 1947, p. 6. Church news; new posting box in Victoria Street; holiday; property market; Whist Club; Woman’s Guild; holiday propaganda for Stromness; golf and putting; tennis; football. ¶ 20 May 1947, p. 4. Stanley Cursiter to settle in Stromness; football; golf; church news. ¶ 27 May 1947, p. 4. Postal improvements; property market; Lammas Market; Whist Club; golf; church news; football (veterans triumphant); Nursing Association.

3 June 1947, p. 4. Bursary success; overhead wiring in Stromness; “Scapa Rover” pleasure cruiser has been sold; cinema’s summer closing; football; Victoria Street Woman’s Guild; bowling; golf. ¶ 10 June 1947, p. 6. Academy outing; hockey; football meeting; the need for a Stromness guidebook; golf. ¶ 17 June 1947, p. 4. Holiday; trips begin; the grounding of the Aberdeen trawler Silverdyke; golf; football match at Holm. ¶ 24 June 1947, p. 4. Co-op meeting; church news; signs of peace returning; golfing notes; football.

1 July 1947, p. 6. Amazonian Orkney women of the past; tennis; golf; church news; Festival concert; Rev. D. Muir for Queensferry. ¶ 15 July 1947, p. 4. Pictures on Thursday; oil painting exhibition; coming regatta; burgh holiday; Faith Mission; church news. ¶ 22 July 1947, p. 4. Whist Club; August holiday; football; golf and putting; electricity for council houses; church news. ¶ 29 July 1947, p. 4. New outdoor seats; arrival of the SS. “Playfair”; golf.

5 August 1947, p. 4. Churchill’s chef; library reopens; Sunday trips; “for men readers only”; evangelism; British Legion Club; golf news. ¶ 12 August 1947, p. 4. Holiday; Well Park and Springfield Gardens; property market; Stromness football 1947; golf and tennis. ¶ 19 August 1947, p. 4. Children’s Gala Day; swimming; mackerel; Rev. D. Muir has received a call from South Queensferry; Orkney on the air (radio); golf and putting; the Market. ¶ 26 August 1947, p. 4. Wanted: guidebook for Stromness; half-holiday for county football match; vote on whether Stromness should remain “dry”; thunder from the Town Council; golf and putting.

2 September 1947, p. 4. An oil spill near Hoy; Lammas Market Day; town hall redecorated; the forthcoming poll on whether Stromness should remain “dry”; hill fires on Hoy; golf and putting. ¶ 9 September 1947, p. 4. Lifeboats’ radio link; St. Ola W.R.I.; forthcoming marriage (John Murray Hunter and Margaret Mary Phyllis Cursiter; Kirkwall Auction Mart; lecturer in soil science (Dr. William T. H. Williamson); Arts Council concerts; farmers broadcast; J. Cameron’s broadcasting band. ¶ 16 September 1947, p. 4. Holiday; record crowds at Stromness Museum; putting cub; Rev. D. Muir’s farewell; football. ¶ 23 September 1947, p. 4. Cattle shipped; new library books; lifeboat repairs; Helmsdale success (of a pupil on the Leaving Certificate examination); gramophone shop; dangerous deposits of corrugated iron; church news; Whist Club. ¶ 30 September 1947, p. 4. Badminton; provost (G. S. Robertson) recovered; the Scottish Trio; golf; Whist Club; evening classes; Hugo Munro; mountain rescue.

7 October 1947, p. 4. Whist club; Stromness morons (who failed to attend a concert by the Scottish Trio); accident; British Legion Club; exit “Debonaires” Dance Orchestra; Women’s Guild; Golf Club whist drive; Orkney paintings; church news; obituary (Rev. James A. MacLachlan). ¶ 14 October 1947, p. 4. Whist Club; house to let; banking notes; for music lovers; ex-provost’s motor accident (J. G. Marwick); S.C.W.S. whist drive; temperance meeting. ¶ 21 October 1947, p. 4. British Legion Club; new Council tenant; Whist Club; provost ill; church news; W.E.A. Current Affairs Discussion Circle. ¶ 28 October 1947, p. 6. Harvest thanksgiving service; long weekend; Orkney exhibition; S.W.R.I. birthday party; “Current Affairs” discussion.

4 November 1947, p. 6. French teacher’s new post; tomorrow’s concert; new editor (of the Orcadian); Council changes; the rates go up; church news; Whist Club; Pope Day (the Fifth of November); Victoria Street Women’s Guild; Communism; drive by the Vicoria Badminton Club; Kirkwall Auction Mart. ¶ 11 November 1947, p. 6. New telephone kiosk (near the Stromness Museum); Council appointments); unbreakable gramophone record (Orkney jigs); November the Fifth; Current Affairs Discussion Group; liquor battle. ¶ 18 November 1947, p. 6. Provost Robertson; church guilds; Stromness Current Affairs Club (discussion of “local government”); Royal Wedding holiday; the Budget; Sea Cadet Corps; production of Arms and the Man; church news; weather freaks. ¶ 25 November 1947, p. 6. “Wet” or “dry”; performance of Handel’s Messiah; snow; the royal wedding; Current Affairs Discussion Group (Scottish Home Rule).

2 December 1947, p. 4. Well-known candidate (John Junor); the storms; cinema feast this week; the Woman’s Guild; Current Affairs Discussion Group (the Marshal Plan). ¶ 9 December 1947, p. 4. Town Council treasurer; question (about liquors for the New Year); one-act plays tonight; our improved Town Hall; the film version of Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra; the sale of a local property; signs of Christmas; Current Affairs Discussion Group (Palestine); a Youth Club; church notes. ¶ 16 December 1947, p. 4. Christmas carols; school Christmas holidays; church news; performance of Joe Corrie’s Green Grow the Rashes; provost speaks tonight. ¶ 23 December 1947, p. 4. Yule Log; South Isles sailings; service of praise; presentation to Rev. David Muir; another house sold; carols on a sounding brass; Christmas at school. ¶ 30 December 1947, p. 4. Bank changes; no Yule tree; football in mid-winter; Christmas praise service; Christmas in the town.

“Under Brinkie’s Brae” (1984)

The following “Under Brinkie’s Brae” columns by George Mackay Brown were published in the Orcadian during 1984 and were signed with initials only. Most were reprinted in GMB’s Rockpools and Daffodils (1992), cited here as RD.


5 January 1984, p. 3. Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four. Repr. RD 103–04. ¶ 12 January 1984, p. 3. The pleasure of eating a pair of kippers. Repr. RD 104–05. ¶ 19 January 1984, p. 4. Remembering his early encounter with Burns’s poetry. ¶ 26 January 1984, p. 4. The great blizzard that didn’t fully materialize.

2 February 1984, p. 4. The pleasures of reading during a loss of electricity. ¶ 9 February 1984, p. 4. “How mixed-up we are when it comes to the four seasons! For everybody, it seems, has his own private quartering of the year and they nearly all differ markedly from the official dates.” ¶ 16 February 1984, p. 4. “The enigma of John Gow . . . will never be fully explained.” ¶ 23 February 1984, p. 4. “Over the period of years, a great local hero for boys from ten to twelve years old, in the thirties, was a footballer [Hugo Munro, buried yesterday].” Repr. RD 105–06.

1 March 1984, p. 4. Vanished figures from the streets of Stromness. Repr. RD 106. ¶ 8 March 1984, p. 4. A visit from Ros Rinkwater; what life would be like on Orkney after a future nuclear disaster. Repr. RD 106–07. ¶ 15 March 1984, p. 4. The problem of overflowing bookshelves. ¶ 22 March 1984, p. 4. “There’s something wonderful in the fact that light and darkness weigh the scales evenly at the March equinox, all over the world.” ¶ 29 March 1984, p. 4. Tells the story of Sweyn Asleifson on Gairsay.

5 April 1984, p. 4. Reading the short stories of Solzhenitsyn. Repr. RD 107–08. ¶ 12 April 1984, p. 4. New bookshelves in his living room mean that he must get rid of the contents of his sideboard. ¶ 19 April 1984, p. 6. “Old General Winter, who defeated Napoleon and Hitler, returns to fight a brave rearguard action just when you think he has shot his last bolt.” ¶ 26 April 1984, p. 4. His experiences in trying to care for flowers and plants.

3 May 1984, p. 4. The pleasures of public benches in Stromness. Repr. RD 108–09. ¶ 10 May 1984, p. 4. The disappearance of Latin in the schools. Repr. RD 109. ¶ 17 May 1984, p. 4. Remembering when Prince George (the future Duke of Kent) visited Stromness in the late 1920s to launch a new lifeboat. ¶ 24 May 1984, p. 4. What he had assumed to be fog turns out to be smoke from a moorland fire. ¶ 31 May 1984, p. 4. The death of Sir John Betjeman, whom GMB had met and with whom he corresponded. Discusses other Poet Laureates. Repr. RD 109–10.

7 June 1984, p. 4. Housman’s poem about the end of May. Repr. RD 110–11. ¶ 14 June 1984, p. 4. The masked fisherman in the Orkneyinga Saga. Repr. RD 111–12. ¶ 21 June 1984, p. 4. Recollections of the Marques, which has sunk near Bermuda. Repr. RD 112–13. ¶ 28 June 1984, p. 4. The St. Magnus Festival; heavy fog.

5 July 1984, p. 4. “One of the nicest coast walks in Orkney is along the Marwick shore in Birsay to the little geo that holds in its steep slopes the remnants of old boat-houses, built half into the solid rock.” Repr. RD 113. ¶ 12 July 1984, p. 6. A morning of literary work followed by a drive around the vicinity of Stromness with friends. ¶ 19 July 1984, p. 4. Arriving at Rackwick. ¶ 26 July 1984, p. 4. A week in Rackwick. Repr. RD 114.

2 August 1984, p. 6. Warbeth beach when he was a child. Repr. RD 114–15. ¶ 9 August 1984, p. 4. A story (possibly not true) about one of the north isles of Orkney during World War One. Repr. RD 115–16. ¶ 16 August 1984, p. 4. The Dounby Show. Repr. RD 116–17. ¶ 23 August 1984, p. 4. The menace of cars, trucks, and motor-bikes on the main street of Stromness. ¶ 30 August 1984, p. 4. Summer insects.

6 September 1984, p. 4. Stromness putting greens through the years. ¶ 13 September 1984, p. 4. Lammas Market Day. ¶ 20 September 1984, p. 4. How eating tastes on Orkney have changed. Repr. RD 117. ¶ 27 September 1984, p. 4. Comments on a recent radio program about Edwin and Willa Muir.

4 October 1984, p. 4. Why there is more flooding in Stromness now. ¶ 11 October 1984, p. 4. Various “items of domestic use that are no longer sold in the shops.” Repr. RD 118. ¶ 18 October 1984, p. 4. The south end of Stromness was once a livelier place. ¶ 25 October 1984, p. 4. A stormy day suggests the onset of winter. Repr. RD 118–19.

1 November 1984, p. 4. What meals were once like in Orkney. ¶ 8 November 1984, p. 4. Bessie Millie as a “‘white witch’, a conjuror of good and seemly things.” ¶ 15 November 1984, p. 4. The failure of his television set prompts some thoughts about the role of television in modern life. Repr. RD 110–20. ¶ 22 November 1984, p. 4. The coal strike; starting fires in his home. ¶ 29 November 1984, p. 6. The difficulties of sending out Christmas cards.

6 December 1984, p. 4. Drowsiness during the daytime as a sign of old age. Repr. RD 120. ¶ 13 December 1984, p. 6. His experiences in using the telephone. ¶ 20 December 1984, p. 6. Christmas and Santa Claus during his early years. Repr. RD 121–22. ¶ 27 December 1984, p. 4. Thoughts about Orwell during 1984.

“Under Brinkie’s Brae” (1988)

The following “Under Brinkie’s Brae” columns by George Mackay Brown were published in the Orcadian during 1988 and were signed with initials only. Most were reprinted in GMB’s Rockpools and Daffodils (1992), cited here as RD.


7 January 1988, p. 4. “So many letters to write before the end of the year!” ¶ 14 January 1988, p. 4. “One of the delights of winter is soup. . . .” Repr. RD 177. ¶ 21 January 1988, p. 4. A pleasant musical visit from two students at St. Andrews University. ¶ 28 January 1988, p. 4. Burns’s birthday is only one of several winter festivals in Scotland.

4 February 1988, p. 4. On being taken by ambulance and airplane to the hospital in Aberdeen. ¶ 11 February 1988, p. 4. Life in the Aberdeen hospital; his new Walkman cassette player and radio. ¶ 18 February 1988, p. 10. Riding in the countryside near Aberdeen. ¶ 25 February 1988, p. 10. “. . . I think of it [February] was a shy young month, poor it may be and in rags, but carrying first snowdrops and crocuses in her cold hands.” Repr. RD 177–78.

3 March 1988, p. 12. Spring-cleaning in his childhood home. Repr. RD 178–79. ¶ 10 March 1988, p. 10. Visiting Kirkwall during a blizzard. ¶ 17 March 1988, p. 12. “Kind friends gave me, a year or two ago, a present of a Seiko digital watch. So there it is, bound on my wrist, chaining me to Time.” ¶ 24 March 1988, p. 10. What the days of the week were like a half century ago in Stromness. ¶ 31 March 1988, p. 10. “The equinoctial blues.” Repr. RD 179.

7 April 1988, p. 12. British Summer Time is unnatural. Repr. RD 180. ¶ 14 April 1988, p. 10. A disappointing film version of Forster’s A Passage to India. Repr. RD 180–81. ¶ 21 April 1988, p. 12. “Suddenly the daffodils are everywhere, the indomitable ones, the flowers spun from light.” Repr. RD 181–82. ¶ 28 April 1988, p. 12. “I got my second pair of glasses the other afternoon, brought back from Kirkwall by a friend.” Repr. RD 182–83.

5 May 1988, p. 10. He imagines the first morning of May a hundred years ago. Repr. RD 183–84. ¶ 12 May 1988, p. 10. Trying to write a poem about Brodgar; feeding a stray cat. Repr. RD 184–85. ¶ 19 May 1988, p. 12. The churches of Orkney. Repr. RD 184. ¶ 26 May 1988, p. 10. Nostalgic memories of gramophones through the decades.

2 June 1988, p. 10. The struggles of writing. ¶ 9 June 1988, p. 12. A holiday in Shetland (part 1). Repr. RD 185–86. ¶ 16 June 1988, p. 12. A holiday in Shetland (part 2). Repr. RD 186–87. ¶ 23 June 1988, p. 10. A holiday in Shetland (part 3). Repr. RD 187–88. ¶ 30 June 1988, p. 10. A holiday in Shetland (part 4). Repr. RD 188–89.

7 July 1988, p. 14. A holiday in Shetland (part 5). Repr. RD 189–90. ¶ 14 July 1988, p. 10. The struggle between fog and sun on a summer day. ¶ 21 July 1988, p. 12. The arrival of a television film crew at Rackwick. ¶ 28 July 1988, p. 10. Remembering the first Stromness Shopping week in 1949.

4 August 1988, p. 10. A visit to the Highland Park Distillery. Repr. RD 190–91. ¶ 18 August 1988, p. 10. Reading an unfamiliar Icelandic saga, Gisli’s Saga. Repr. RD 191–92. ¶ 25 August 1988, p. 5. “There might have been fifty tourists each summer in Stromness when I was young, before the war, in the early ’30s.” Repr. RD 192–93.

1 September 1988, p. 11. Discussion of Stewart Scobie’s poem The Ballad of Isabel Gunn. Repr. RD 193–94. ¶ 8 September 1988, p. 4. The arrival of autumn; memories of the beginning of World War Two, forty-nine years ago. ¶ 15 September 1988, p. 13. How he met the poet Elizabeth Lochhead in the early 1970s. Repr. RD 194–95. ¶ 22 September 1988, p. 11. His broken sleep. ¶ 29 September 1988, p. 11. The autumn equinox and baffling weather patterns.

6 October 1988, p. 11. Writing letters and searching for books in his chaotic home. Repr. RD 195–96. ¶ 13 October 1988, p. 11. The howling wind above Brinkie’s Brae; an imagined encounter with Bessie Millie. ¶ 20 October 1988, p. 13. The fascination of the stars. ¶ 27 October 1988, p. 13. The arrival of his friend Brian Murray from Ayrshire; GMB’s birthday.

10 November 1988, p. 11. ¶ Repaving the main street in Stromness. Repr. RD 196–97. ¶ 17 November 1988, p. 13. The changing meaning of “Liberal” in politics; the 70th anniversary of the World War One armistice. ¶ 24 November 1988, p. 13. He is fond of cats but not dogs. Repr. RD 197–98.

1 December 1988, p. 13. He devotes Thursdays to letter-writing. ¶ 8 December 1988, p. 13. Dieting fads. ¶ 15 December 1988, p. 13. Family trees. ¶ 22 December 1988, p. 13. Famous literary descriptions of Christmas. Repr. RD 198–99. ¶ 29 December 1988, p. 9. “Seeing that it’s midwinter, it might be fun for once to have a game before the year’s end – imagining every month to be a stage in Orkney’s history (especially Stromness).” Repr. RD 199–200.