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  • Author: admin
  • Date Posted: Jan 16, 2016
  • Category:
  • Address: Barnhill Isle of Jura PA60 7XW

Barnhill, Isle of Jura. The remote house where George Orwell wrote 1984.



This is where it came to.

The poorhouse stench

And the road running out

On the rim of the world.


A white seamed face

Tubes and flues choked with dust,

A bloody cough,

On the edge of the world.


Where it all came together.

Clack of the typewriter.

Time running out.

Clocks striking the un-getable hour

At the end of the world.




My Creative Journey

Mountain and water. Cycling by the water’s edge. Bike’s the only way I can get there. Seals, a sea otter, herons flapping. I’m hardly out of the little town. This is easy.

And then the land changes. I’m alongside the paps. Get off and push, then freewheel. Wheee! Houses, small bays, sand, crooked jetties. I’m doing fine.

And then the land changes. Leg muscles on fire. Hands sore from gripping. Push on. Surely I’m nearly there.

‘Aye it’s a public road,’ a man shouts. ‘Just another seven miles.’

And then the land changes. Bleak hillside. Dark land and pale water. Road stony. I start to push. I abandon the bike. Start walking. Is it worth it?

Yeh. I’ve been reading him, reading about him again.

His wife dead, his son an infant. A cough shaking him to bits. And yet he came here. The road stumbles on.

And then the land changes. There’s the house. It looks at the sea. Close up, it’s his face. Marked with dark lines. Knowing his death. Yet he came here.

I turn to go back. A lifetime, a journey, a death. Nothing done easily. But that’s all there is in the end.



  1. That’s terrific, David. Lovely, tight language.

  2. As I live on Islay, just across the Sound from Jura I found this both interesting and evocative. I have walked to Barnhill and have actually stayed for a week in the house – a week in which we didn’t see another person. So the rim of the world, the edge of the world, the end of the world are all highly appropriate. I like the way the stanzas end with these.
    The creative journey has captured the feel of the island. Just one small point, the otters, although they use the sea aren’t sea otters. They’re simply European otters which happen to take advantage of the sea for hunting. They have to use freshwater burns and lochs to wash the salt from their fur as they don’t have the impenetrable coat of true sea otters.

  3. Loved this – great structure and ‘un-getable’ soooo getable! Beautiful piece

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