It is human nature to find the foreign more exciting, but there is much richness in our local heritage, which we perhaps ignore.

I was walking arm-in-arm with my partner around my hometown on a dark, chilly winter’s night, and the whole seafront of Old Portsmouth was neglected. There was a strange, eerie peace settling over the docks and the narrow winding alleys, leading out to the dark Solent. This is my home, and I find peace here.

“Aye, Jac,” my partner said, breathing in the cold air deeply. “P’raps I’ve been a bit rough on you, old girl. P’raps it’s time for us to build our nest in the capital.” And at my look of joy, he added hastily, “But not your place in London. I cannot bear waking up to other people’s rooftops and chimneys. And not South Kensington either. I’ll be 80 by the time I finish paying the freaking mortgage! No, I don’t mean London. I mean the ancient capital.”

“Winchester!” I was excited. “OMG, what a brilliant idea!”

“Jac, I spent my school years trying to escape Winchester.  I am thinking of a far more ancient capital of Britain, one first settled by the Vikings.”

“Oo-er, where’s that?’


I laughed. “You’re crazy!”

He: “Why? It’s not that far to the mainland. You can kayak that distance, I know you.”


“Life exists outside London and Hampshire, Jac,” he said. This is one of the big issues in our relationship, that we fight ferociously about, but slowly, we are learning to talk about it

We spend an interesting walk with him telling me about Orkney. It’s so far up in the north that it is almost not the UK. In fact, it was once annexed by Norway.  There are over 70 islands, most of which are not inhabited.  The folks who live there are called Orcadians and they speak a special dialect of Scottish.  At the right time of the year, you can easily row over to the mainland. It is, by all accounts, a wild and beautiful place.

The properties here are a fraction the price of mainland properties. We sat under the light of a streetlamp on this cold night and looked at Orkney properties on his smart phone. We found this crazy collection of buildings for the price less than a parking space in London:

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If you are adventurous and think of relocating, check this property out here.

“How do you know so much about Orkney anyway?” I asked suspiciously.

He laughed. “Whilst you were out, I was watching a series on Orkney on BBC2 with your mother.”

You can read about the history of the Orkneys here or follow the BBC series. I was so busy studying science that I knew nothing about exciting history such as this. But never too old….am doing my little reading on this ancient capital and its people.