Reason For Being: Frances Pelly

Frances Pelly

A peedie isle
in a fleet of islands
nousted from the storm

Our natural sea barrier, a costly extra, and at times a hindrance, now reinforces a feeling of protection.

Considered in the ‘vulnerable’ age group, lockdown began at Quoyblackie on March 16th on a sober note, prompting updating details for executors. Should I be ‘gathered’ & recalling, watching the square russet sail of a replica Longship broaching the horizon? A harbinger of threat in Viking times. Now Covid, an unseen threat as were the foot & mouth outbreaks in more recent times.

Already living alone, immersed in the natural world, Quoyblackie’s six acres surrounded by open farmland, access to the hills and sea and inspiration on my doorstep. Life changed little, and my very privileged lifestyle made me more than grateful for this freedom; my heart going out to those ‘imprisoned’ in urban environments.

Emerging from the depths of the wettest winter in fifty years into nature’s very tangible reassuring presence of a spring - this year, excelling in fine days - lifted the spirits. Practicalities came first, repairing storm damage, then the usual veggie production for survival and sharing.

Our environment, weather and tides govern life here, and I love being wholly in their thrall. Lengthening days to midsummer which is a precious & exhausting time; with each day harvested carefully, treasured and used to the full.

The absence of weekly Tai Chi, Scottish Country dancing and swimming at the sports centre (now alas, the sea) are sorely missed. Welcome distractions and exercise for the ’little grey cells’ came via email - a month-long renga and haikus.

Lockdown has reinforced my resolve to reverse my work balance to concentrate on stored-up ideas and explore new ones by easing commitments to commissions. ‘Official guests’, a pair of nesting swallows…as if in tune, now put my workshop out of bounds and work continues on the kitchen table - a hot desk of ever shifting creations, lists and plants.

A more than happy arrangement for the fine days draws me to outdoor tasks which feeds ideas and re-charges my batteries.

Heartened by the wonder many have expressed, experiencing the natural world speaking to us through the silence. I hope it will still be heard - not swamped by the cacophony and return to ‘normal’, nor just a memory but a foundation for change.

Frances Pelly, Sculptor
Quoyblackie, Orkney, 28th June 2020
Reason for Being

Lockdown Haikus, by Frances Pelly

March 17
My shadow-feet conjoin
breaking all the rules.
My head in the clouds.

March 20
The balance of light tilts
& with it,
the world.

March 28
Warmed by the sun,
touched only by airwaves.

April 4
Five Bumblebee queens,
my only visitors…

April 6
Gardening duties;
a taste of retirement
& I like it!

April 8
Pink moon.
Midnight flit,
and geese have gone.

May 2
Sulphur yard lights,
barns lit like liners,
lambing underway.

June 20
Over the water,
luminescent strips of lime
catch the eye.

June 21
Summer Solstice,
the sun did an all-nighter
and I barely slept.


Explore the ‘Reason For Being’ Frances Pelly Edit here.