Monday, April 18, 2016

Words and Letters

It's funny how when you travel you visit things and see things through your usual eyes in a way, and for me that means I continue to seek out and discover words and letters and books.

We have been to some great churchyards, cemeteries and cathedrals and I have really enjoyed looking at the carved words and letters.

A couple have caught my eye - sometimes because they show errors, which I kind of like. It is good to know folk were human, made mistakes and tried to fix them. Just like I do.

This one I found in Edinburgh, and was lucky enough to get a rainbow as well. A simple error, lower case a instead of A, but repaired.

I'm also not sure if it should be the 22nd or the 22th?

At Rondel on Harris at St Clement's church I loved the way the lichen had covered the words and yet let them be read.

In Kirkwall on Orkney we visited the truly magnificent St Magnus Cathedral, which had so much beautiful stonework and so many carved memorials. Most dated around 1660s.

With these I was fascinated by the ligatures, and the odd error as well.

Here, the beautiful WA ligature in Kirkwall, a couple of TH ligatures, the HI ligature in children and the lovely WI one in betwixt. Two different Ws too!

I loved the ligatures in daughters... AU and HTE, and then in Patric, the TR. These are things that make me sigh with delight.

One line in particular tickled me here, "had with her 8 children" so many ligatures at play and in the line above I loved how the i was tucked into "with".


I found this error at the end of the memorial - such a beautiful sentiment. She lived regarded and died regretted. Not quite sure what happened to the final ED, but I know that feeling of getting to the end and then making a mistake. I am glad they kept the piece, error and all.

And then at the Orkney Museum, lovely runes by the Vikings 

And lovely Ogham script by the Picts.

So many beautiful, words, letters and scripts carved and scratched into stone...

And so funny to realise how I spend my travel time - looking for letters...


  1. I'm so glad you've come north to Orkney ... such a special place. We too visited St Magnus Cathedral and much enjoyed it, especially as the whole cathedral was then full of wonderful flowers for a festival. The scent as we entered the building was amazing. Have you found the Pier Art Centre in Stromness?It contains extraordinary and unexpected artwork and if you still have time, it's a real treat. Safe journeys, Margaret

    1. Thanks Margaret - and yes the Pier Art Centre goes down as one of the most beautiful spaces with a most amazing collection. We were entranced for hours. St Magnus is wonderful and we fell thoroughly in love with Orkney and hope to return. Go well.

  2. Fiona, amongst all your beautiful posts, this one made my heart sing! Your examples are delightful and heartwarming. The variations in ligatures and the charming mistakes bring these people alive and so relevant. I'm so enjoying your (and Barry's) trip, via your photos. Perhaps, no, most certainly, your interests are so in tune with mine and I imagine, most of your readers, that your posts are treasured and watched for. Thank you both for your words and photos.

    1. Thanks so much Carol. I have spent happy times discovering these and contemplating the time they were produced in and the people who made them, those who commissioned them. And yes, I love that the errors are ageless as well. We have moved south again and will be on,one again soon!

  3. Oh I love the mistakes especially too! Here in the age of autocorrect and airbrushing, the art of the error, of any nasty imperfection at all, is all but lost. So much history and humanity to be sensed when a momentary lapse becomes literally etched in stone! Thanks for sharing these, F!

    1. Hi G/TT, aren't the errors achingly beautiful? I sit and think that about the hundreds of years they have survived and been cherished...perfection is to be strived for but not venerated so highly that we forget the honour of the hard working error maker as well. Or at least I think so! Go well.


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