Orkney: Kirkwall Monday 22nd June

Had a late morning, full Scottish breakfast including porridge at our B & B, The Pomona.  Before the lunchtime performance had a mooch round the bishop’s and earl’s palaces who were next door neighbours though not on good terms. Had to take a break from taking photos which to be honest I sometimes find a complete chore.

The Earl’s palace is described as the most beautiful early Renaissance house in Northern Europe. It is a grey stone shell open to the sky.  Now a grim and deserted ruin it was designed on a very human scale.  The walls would once have been hung with arras and the inventory lists “Scottish blankets” rugs and tapestries.  Huge fireplaces, especially in the kitchen where it takes up an entire wall.  Built in lavs and storage which I loved.  There is a hole on the stairs for shouting orders to the kitchen. The main room was the perfect size for parties, not too large but plenty of room for dancing.  It must have been lovely.  Earl Robert, who built it, was jailed for disobedience and general bad behaviour and was forced to hand it over to the Bishop. I can only imagine how he would have felt.  There was an unsuccessful insurrection and he and his son were both executed.

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