Colourful John O’Groats

Can you imagine our mood? Dina reads aloud at the breakfast table with haggis and porridge (without whisky today) that John O’Groats is an awful place, grey and ugly. Better make a detour except one wants to take the ferry to the Orkneys like us. Other travelers agreed. Actually we already knew that Britain’s famous northern outpost was shamed being voted the most dismal place in Scotland.
People use to delegate their seeing as well as their judgments to the travel guides” is our dear Master’s commentary crudely mumbled with a full mouth. 

Ach du liebes Lieschen, Dina liest uns morgens bei Haggis und Porridge ohne Whisky im Hotel vor, John O’Groats sei hässlich, grau und unbesuchenswert, außer man möchte zu den Orkneys wie wir. Andere Reisende schlossen sich dieser Meinung an. Dass John O’Groats als hässlichster Ort Schottlands gewählt wurde, hatten wir schon gehört, aber all das konnte unsere Stimmung nicht trüben.
Man delegiert sein Sehen und Urteilen an die Reiseführer“, ist Masterchens gemurmelter Kommentar unfein mit vollem Mund.

John O’Groats claims being the uttermost northern point of mainland Scotland, that’s a lie. This point is situated at the lighthouse of Dunnet Head, where we got our first glimpse of the Orkneys. Dina’s guide goes on writing that everybody who is travelling Scotland’s north ends up at the sign post in John O’Groats showing the distances to the world’s big cities. Well, one of the many standard pictures in the net. But not our picture! If you have the magic look you will see us sitting on the top of this sign. We can tell you it wasn’t easy flying up there because of the constant stiff breeze at this coast. Our beloved Dina and dear Master were really afraid of us being blown over to the Orkneys – well, this would have saved them our fairy ferry tickets. It’s a shame Bookfayries like us don’t get a reduction on this ferry!

John O’Groats gibt sich als nördlichster Ort des schottischen Festlands, stimmt aber nicht. Dieser liegt am Leuchtturm von Dunnet Head, von wo wir schon einen Blick auf die Orkneys erhaschten. Weiter schreibt der Reiseführer, dass jeder, der im Norden Schottlands unterwegs ist, in John O’Groats endet, um sich dort am Wegweiser zu den großen Städten der Welt fotografieren zu lassen. Wieder eines jener Standartbilder im Netz. Aber nicht unser Bild, denn wenn ihr den magischen Blick besitzt, könnt ihr uns beide oben auf den Wegweiser sitzen sehen. Das war gar nicht so leicht, dahin zu flattern wegen der steifen Brise, die dort ständig weht. Dina und Masterchen hatten solche Angst, wir könnten übers Meer gen Orkneys geweht werden – dann hätten wir doch den Fährpreis gespart. Es ist doch ein Skandal, dass es keine Buchfeenermäßigung auf dieser Fähre gibt!

John O’Groats (Taigh Iain Ghròt) – what a strange name! It’s neither English nor Gaelic but Dutch. Jan de Groot bought the ferry rights to the Orkneys at the end of the 15th c. For one crossing he charged one groat (4 p). He built an octagonal house with an octagonal table on which none of his 7 sons had a preeminent position, because as usual his sons fought for his heritage. We suppose Jan was inspired by King Arthur’s round table. But where did his wife used to sit? Was her place in the kitchen? And what about us, Siri and Selma? Who will inherit Dina’s and Master’s belongings? Do we have to build a square table standing in a square house?

John O’Groats (Taigh Iain Ghròt), welch komischer Name. Er ist weder englisch noch gälisch, sondern holländisch. Jan de Groot erwarb Ende des 15. Jh. die Fährrechte zu den Orkneys. Für die Überfahrt verlangte der große Jan ein Groat (4 p). Da seine 7 Söhne wie üblich in den Streit um seine Nachfolge gerieten, baute er ein achteckiges Haus, in dem am achteckigen Tisch keiner eine hervorragende Position hatte. Zu dieser Idee hatte ihn wohl der runde Tisch König Arthurs inspiriert. Aber hallo, durfte denn des großen Jans Frau nicht mit am Tisch sitzen, war ihr Platz am Katzentisch in der Küche? Und wie ist das denn mit uns? Wer von uns wird Masterchen und Dina beerben? Müssen wir uns daran machen, einen quadratischen Tisch und ein quadratisches Haus zu bauen?

We really like John O’Groats especially for those houses in the new Norse style which provide a dramatic splash of colour against the coastal landscape. Those houses are overlooking the sea from the place not far where Jan’s octagonal house use to stand. This place seems to attract special buildings. In the picture above you see The Residence, which are self-catering units. The inside was cleverly designed by NoChintz – we love this name which is a statement.

Uns hat John O’Groats ausnehmend gut wegen seiner bunten Häuser am Hafen im nordischen Stil gefallen, die in der Nähe des Hauses stehen, wo der große Jan mit seinen Söhnen wohnte. Diese Stelle scheint spezielle Gebäude anzuziehen.
Im oberen Bild seht ihr The Residences, das sind 23 bunte self-catering Einheiten, deren Innenleben von NoChintz – wir lieben diesen Namen, der Programm ist – entworfen wurden.

The architects of this ensemble, which is attached to a carefully renovated Victorian baronial hotel, are the most praised Scottish GLM-group, which is famous for giving form and meaning to space. They used mostly local materials and brought a happy lightness in this barren landscape that made us smile.

Die Architekten dieses Ensembles, das an dem weißen feudalen Hotel angebaut ist, ist die viel ausgezeichneten GLM/Edinburgh Gruppe, die weitgehend Materialien aus der Umgebung benutzten und mit ihen Farben eine Fröhlichkeit in diese graue Landschaft brachten, die uns lächeln ließ. Wegen dieses architektonischen Ensembles empfehlen wir einen Besuch von John O’Groats.

John O’Groats is not the dull port of the ferry to the Orkneys but the colourful place at the end of the world. Looking inside the houses you can get carried away by contemporary Scottish design. There was so much that we would love to have at home. Now we are even contemplating giving our Norse garden sheds a splash of colour.

Ihr seht, John O’Groats ist keineswegs der langweilig graue Fährhafen zu den Orkneys, sondern der farbenfrohe Ort am Ende der Welt. Hier guckten wir uns fast die Augen aus beim Bewundern des zeitgenössisch schottischen Design – das gab’s sooo viel, was wir auch gerne zu Hause hätten. Vielleicht sollten wir unsere Gartenschuppen ebenfalls bunt anmalen?

We have to book in here the next time we’ll go to the Orkneys. If we will stay here for a week we promise our dear Dina and Master to provide them every day with a grand breakfast (even porridge with whisky). Fortunately they know how healing it is to live in a NoChintz atmosphere – especially as so many B&Bs and hotels kill you with kitsch.

Das nächste Mal, wenn wir zu den Orkneys fahren, müssen wir unbedingt hier wohnen. Wenn wir The Residences buchen, haben wir versprochen, jeden Morgen ein leckeres Frühstück für Masterchen und Dinalein zu zaubern. Masterchen und Dinalein wissen zum Glück, wie heilsam es ist, mit NoChintz zu wohnen. Und wisst ihr übrigens, dass ‘chintzy’ auch ‘geschmacklos’ und ‘kitschig’ heißt? Wie viele B&Bs erschlagen einem doch mit kitschigen Rumstehchen.

What you see on the horizon are the Orkneys. We’ll take you there in our next blogpost! Have you ever been there?
Weit hinten am Horizont könnt ihr die Orkneys erahnen. Dahin entführen wir euch in unserer nächsten Blogpost. Seid ihr schon mal dort gewesen?

With finest fairy dust from
Mit feinstem Feenhauch von

Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma 👭 , the style-conscious Bookfayries

 

 

© Text and illustrations, Hanne Siebers and Klausbernd Vollmar, Cley next the Sea, 2017

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392 thoughts

    • Good morning, dear Anne
      did you ever try the real Scottish porridge with whisky and cream? Very special, especially in the morning. Our dear Master loves haggis as well, for the rest of us it’s rather strange having it in the morning.
      Thanks for liking Dina’s photography. This contrast of colour and the grey bleak landscape is very special. We like it very much.
      Have a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Beautiful images. (and yes, I have a rather poor photo of my friends and I standing under this sign)
    Did you visit the Smoo Caves near Durness when you were up this far north in Scotland?

    Liked by 6 people

    • Dear Vicki
      yes, we have been in the Smoo Caves on a very hot day and were happy about the cool temperature there. There were a lot of breeding birds in and around the cave.
      Thanks for liking Dina’s photos 🙂 🙂
      We wish you a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I love those bright and cheerful houses! They look so comforting set against the dramatic skies and landscape. Thank-you for this wonderful tour! The photos are beautiful and I love reading about your adventures. Clare x

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Very merry fairly fairy ferry bookfayries… and…

    Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe

    However, the lyrics of the bridge provide a clue:

    If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey,
    Sing “Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.”
    This hint allows the ear to translate the final line as “a kid’ll eat ivy, too; wouldn’t you?”

    Liked by 4 people

  4. great pics , great story
    I had my picture taken by that sign , together with my bicycle , as it was my turning point , and went from there on with a big loop back to Manchester
    so I did not go further north , was 1997 and I do not recall these colored houses 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Welche Bildkompositionen – wow. So toll. Bin so begeistert! Welche Bilder am frühen Morgen! Welche Farben! Und KB mittendrin! Danke! Habt weiter gute Tage! Das Wochenende steht vor der Tür. Herzliche Grüsse Ruth

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Liebe Hanne, lieber Klausbernd,
    da habt ihr enen sehr schönen Ort festgehalten. Ich kann mir denken, dass man beim Schauen der klaren Farben gleich gute Laune bekommt.
    Wir sind inzwischen bei Roswitha und Martin in Kerpen und werden heute unsere Bilder hängen. Ich freue mich schon und bin aufgeregt.
    Viele Grüße von Susanne

    Liked by 6 people

  7. A great post about somewhere we’ve been intending to visit since we went to Land’s End. Your photos are stunning and I enjoyed the history behind the name. We’ll just have to make the effort to get up there after reading this.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Land’s End is different because it’s green, here on the island’s other side it’s grey and barren. It’s really worth going up the west and north coast to John O’Groats. Do it soon before it’s getting too touristy.
      Have a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Gosh…John O’Groats has changed. Not sure how many years ago we were last there but not ‘that many’ and it was looking the worse for ware. The Hotel was closed and dilapidated, the new visitor centre need some loving care. So a big surprise to see the colourful Bergen style houses and fresh looking hotel. I hope it gets the trade it deserves and visitor numbers to support it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear David
      the hotel is very posh now and the colourful houses are high class. There is a beautiful pub as well. But outside these buildings in the old hamlet there is a pub f.e. it’s worth seeing because it’s that horrible you wouldn’t believe it.
      With lots of fairy dust from
      Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma, the chirpy Bookfayries

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dear David
      those houses are relatively new and this ensemble changes the whole atmosphere of this hamlet. The nordic architecture fits ideal into this barren landscape.
      There are more and more visitors coming to John O’Groats, especially since the MC500 was voted by international photo-journalists as the second most beautiful road in the world after the Atlantic Highway in Norway.
      Wishing you an easy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Liebe Hanne, lieber Klausbernd,
    wunderbare Bilder, die ihr uns da präsentiert, natürlich mit dem passenden und stilistisch tollen Begleittext! Besonders das Erste und Dritte Bild haben es mir besonders angetan. Bei Beiden bekam ich Gänsehaut, so wunderbar finde ich diese. (Passiert mir wirklich nicht sehr häufig) Euch, nun ein superschönes Wochenende!

    Liebe Grüße

    Konrad

    Liked by 5 people

    • Guten Tag, lieber Konrad,
      habe herzlichen Dank, dass dir unsere Post so gut gefällt 🙂 🙂 Du hast mit deinem lieben Kommentar Dina eine große Freude bereitet. You made her day!
      Dir und Astrid wünschen wir ebenso ein ganz tolles Wochenende. Hier scheint abwechselt die Sonne und dann plötzlich schauert es, sehr gut für den Garten.
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom kleinen Dorf am großen Meer
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Loved this read! Fab pics as well… looks beautiful; We might go to Scotland next summer or the year after that and I was thinking of visiting John O’Groats 🙂 Years ago we visited Land’s End, which is on the other end of Great Britain 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dear Derrick
      a few people know about the changes of John O’Groats and the story of Jan de Groot. You are right, at the first glance those houses look like beach huts – it’s the colour and the material.
      Thanks for commenting and wishing you a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  11. When I was a schoolboy, I had my photo taken under that sign, but there were no stickers on it in the 1960s. I wish I still had that photo.
    I remember the place as cold, windy, and very bleak. They have done well to improve it, and the colourful houses are just right.
    As always, you capture the spirit of the far north with your writing and wonderful photographs. I think you have the north in your souls!
    Love from Beetley, Pete and Ollie. X

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Pete
      YES, we have the north in our souls, indeed!
      These stickers are a plague, people leave them everywhere and there are stickers above stickers … Now this sign post is a kind of place of pilgrimage. It’s actually only a few steps away from those colourful houses.
      Thanks for liking our post! 🙂 🙂
      With lots of love from the sea
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Pooja
      yes those house of contemporary Norse architecture are set perfectly in this as grand as barren landscape.
      Thanks and have an easy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  12. Super shots! Cannot wait for your Orkney writeup, it is one of our favourite places in Scotland. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for non-Orkney mainland recommendations so it helps us plan our next visit 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you!
      Well, we recommended in our last post the Scourie Hotel in Scourie which is great and if you want it posh this white hotel on the pictures here in JohnO’Groats is very fine or self catering in those colourful units “The Residences”. For B&B in John O’Groats we would recommend The Anchorage. Avoid the pub there on the cross road but the one in the colourful houses is really very nice.
      The post about the Orkneys will be published in a fortnight, we just started designing it.
      Thanks and happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we agree! We love this styling too – actually every styling that NoChintz did. NoChintz is our style as well. If we do colour consultancy we call ourselves NoKitsch.
      Thank you very much and wishing you a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Hanne
      it’s worth going there for the architecture and design – inside and outside – and for the landscape as well.
      Thanks, happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • Dear Adrian
      thank you so much for liking our post 🙂 🙂
      We will have a relaxed weekend, walking on the beach, maybe having a picknick there and enjoying our cosy house and beautiful garden just doing nothing.
      Wishing you a relaxing weekend as well
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  13. Was sind das überschöne bilder! I didn’t know the story of my fellow country man Jan who gave his name to the place. ‘Groats’ sounds harsh, like the barren landscape and perhaps the grumbly state of mind of the strict father who had to deal with his seven eager sons. His wife by the way, her name was Neeltje, had her own throne next to the fire place. The best and warmest place in the house. If she wanted something she just snapped her fingers and one of the sons or even Jan himself brought to her whatever she desired. She lived to be 106 and her spirit is still floating in the chilly breeze when autumn comes and the people of the Orkneys softly whisper her name.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hallo Ihr Lieben,
    danke fuer die Bilder. Ich wusste gar nicht, dass John o’Groats so bunt ist. Was mir an den Bildern so ganz besonders gefaellt ist der Kontrast zwischen den farbenfrohen Haeusern und dem teils etwas bedrohlich wirkenden Himmel: eine ganz fantastische Stimmung erzeugt das.
    Habt’s fein,
    Pit

    Liked by 4 people

    • Guten Tag, lieber Pit
      wir wünschen euch eine gaaaaanz schöne tolle super Reise und klaren Himmel für die Mondfinsternis. Siri und Selma sitzen bereits im Oberstübchen und weben die entsprechenden Zauber für euch. Fahrt vorsichtig and have fun!
      Wir drücken euch für alles fest die Daumen.
      Gaaanz liebe Grüße von Norfolk nach Texas
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  15. Fab Four,
    This town looks a like like the Scandinavian areas I’ve seen – beautiful. Curious though, being so far north, have they become affected by the rising seas?
    Have a great weekend – all of you!!
    GP Cox

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Your photos are stunning Dina! It looks so different to when we went there over ten years ago. These fresh new colours on the new part of the building make it so less dreary! They have also removed the ugly built-on parts of that old hotel making it look grand again. Look forward to hearing about the Orkneys too. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  17. My dear friends,
    did you have porridge with whisky for breakfast?? 🙂
    You style-conscious lovely girls have come up with some great information and Dina’s photos are wonderful as always, but I do miss some coloured reflections from your beloved Master, a colour expert himself. 😉
    Your presentation shows that colour is a brilliant way of creating impact and enhancing spaces and make a gloomy place looking happy! 🙂
    Sending you love and hugs from my stuga,
    KRAM
    Annalena x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Our dear friend Annalena
      our dear Master tried porridge with whisky and cream. He said it’s yummy.
      He thinks that these colours first of all look especially colourful against the grey of the surroundings. The blue picks up the colour of the sea, green the lawn in front and grey the predominant colour of the area, the climax are the yellow and red on the end. But there is an optical movement of this colour arragement: blue always moves away from the observer’s eye, green and grey are neutral, and this shade of red and yellow are moving towards the eye of the observer. And the blue draws you to the distance but yellow is jumping on you. So there a constant movement done by the optical effects of colours which enhances the effect of every colour, you can say it makes those houses stand out and enhancing their colourfulnesss.
      Thanks you very much. Actually we Bookfayries did ask our Master the same question.
      We send you lots of love ❤ ❤ Have a great time in your cosy stuga 🙂
      KRAM
      The Fab Four of Cley xxxx

      Like

    • Dear Tanja
      we are absolutely agree with you. We wrote a bit about the optical effects in the answer of the commentary above. We forgot to mention that grey as the neutral colour stands in the middle between the rather cold and warm colours. It logically belongs there and even if you don’t know this you feel it.
      Thanks and have a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: John O’Groats – The World according to Dina – thebluepolarbear

    • Our beloved bookfayries treat all of Dina’s pictures with a special post-production-magic-fairy-dust (PPMFD) that gives them a kind of illusion of 3 dimensions and that you are really there. Actually they think, if you see a picture that’s treated by them you are really there.
      Thanks for commenting and wishing you a great weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jaqui
      yes, that is used very often in contemporary Norse architecture (like in Bergen/Norway f.e.) but it’s going back to old Scandinavian and Finnish houses and barns. But there they traditional colour was always oxblood – a brownish red.
      Thanks and cheers
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • Liebe Urserl, lieber Herbert
      klar doch, diese Häuser am nördlichen Meer in karger Landschaft sind schon eine Reise wert. Und schön ist’s in ihnen zu übernachten. Wir können es empfehlen: schlafen in fein gestylter Umgebung.
      Liebe Grüße xxx
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  19. Love the humor and very crisp reading of what looks to be a fantastic ‘dreary’ place ~ wonderful colors and photos. Given what Dina was reading about this place, I do not know how you could not have had a few shots of whiskey know what you had to look forward too 🙂 (also, whiskey would help with the haggis…). Cheers to a great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dalo
      after our dear Master had tried porridge with malt whisky and cream and loved it, he will now try haggis with whisky. Oh dear, we weren’t offered that treat! 😦 Unfortunately he couldn’t have porridge with whisky in the mornings we were driving.
      We immediately felt at home at The Residence, a fantastic place. As we wrote before living in a clear designed surrounding is healing.
      Thanks for liking our post 🙂 🙂
      Wishing you a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • YES they should and especially as they make such good PR for Joan O’Groats and this ferry to the Orkneys!
      We are happy that you like our post. It’s was fun esigninh it! 🙂 🙂
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Allan Ω
      there is a lot of light in all these houses and you are right, it’s important because of many grey cloudy days up north there. The whole atmosphere of the rooms is healing.
      Thanks and wishing you a great weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

  20. I love the bright colors! A great addition to the place since I was there in August, 1999. Your post prompted me to pull out my photo albums from the trip. We nearly froze in John O’Groats. In our pictures, we’re bundled up in heavy winter jackets with hoods, shivering, and having to hold onto immovable objects to keep from being blown out to sea. Can’t wait to see your blog post about Orkney! We took a day trip there by ferry and really enjoyed it. It was one of the highlights of our trip to Scotland.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Janet
      when we were in John O’Groats we had quite a wind there as well. We suppose it’s always breezy there. Even if the sun was shining it was rather cold especially on the ferry to the Orkneys. Nevertheless we had a great time.
      Thanks and wishing you an easy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  21. Hi my dear friends in Cley!
    “Short and sweet”
    Fantastic photos. The energy simply “oozed” reading your blog.
    Siri and Selma, you both looked fantastic on top of the sign in your colourful kilts.
    Thanks for the magic energy.
    🇨🇮🙋

    Liked by 5 people

    • Good morning, dear Joan
      Siri and Selma are that proud of their colourful kilts! And do you know these are magic kilts, the are able to pick up colours from their surroundings and they can make the colours of their more shining. Great, isn’t it?! Well, that’s fairy magic. And looking at the pictures of those colours is healing.
      Thanks a lot for commeting and wishing you a wonderful weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  22. I also love the colors of the houses. I wonder if many Scots emigrated to the eastern shores of Canada, Newfoundland and other rugged places on the Atlantic. Many of the houses I have seen are of the same bright and colorful look as in your photographs. Perhaps they felt the need to color their world in a mostly cloud covered and gray environment. Nice work and congratulations to all four!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very much, dear Peter.
      This architecture is genuin Scandinavian. It has quite a tradition there and is used nowadays in a lot ot Scandinavian cities like in Bergen/Norway but you find it in Greenland and especially on the Westman Island too. We didn’t know that you find in Newfoundland as well. We think so too that it has to do with the barren and grey surroundings and the long time without much light. The traditional red of Scandinavian wooden houses goes back to oxblood as a wood preservative used there since hundred of years.
      Happy wekend wishing you
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 3 people

  23. I looked very hard, even squinted, but alas I could not see Siri and Selma on top of the signpost. I am so glad they didn’t get blown away! I did though, by the lovely photographs and those cheerful buildings. Definitely a place to stay if I ever get that far north. Not sure I could manage a ferry up there though, I am a very poor sailor. Wishing you all an enjoyable weekend and hoping Gert doesn’t make it too wet and windy for us all!
    Jude xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good morning, dear Jude,
      well, Siri and Selma on one hand are very courageous and brave but on the other hand they are rather shy like little girls and don’t want to be seen on photographs.
      You don’t need a ferry going up there, you can do the whole way by car. And if you don’t like sailing don’t go to the Orkneys just stay at The Residence and enjoy seeing the Orkneys from your window.
      We have quite a wind here but it is sunny. Yesterday evening we had some rather wild showers but today it’s dry. We will to go to Wells beach. Dina wants to make some pictures there because of the dramatic clouds. But we have to take our beloves Bookfayries on a leash that they don’t get blown away.
      Happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley xxxx

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jude
      actually we are unphotographable, well, that’s the fairy way. But we can be seen by the imaginative eye. We are wearing our colourful kilts that Dina and Master bought us for looking like Scottish fairies and we like those kilts sooo much. We even wear them sometime here at home.
      With lots of finest fairy dust
      Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma, the stylish Bookfayries

      Liked by 2 people

    • The clouds are quite dramatic right now because a strong wind is blowing and sunshine and rain are alternating. Dina is happy 🙂 She doesn’t like a boring blue sky.
      In Wells we have such a lot of sky and this vast Holkham beach.
      Love
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jude
      it’s an easy life at the North Norfolk coast. Some people call it England’s California – well …
      The house prices are over the top here, well, there are not many beautiful houses left in nice postions.
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Rebecca,
      Scotland is worth visiting just for it’s architecture, of course Glasgow with all the arts-and-crafts buildings, and the new Scottish Parliament at Edinburgh and John O’Groats – just to name a few places of architectural interest. We loved this colourful Norse design in this barren landscape.
      With a big HUG from breezy but sunny Cley xxxx
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 3 people

  24. What a wonderful post, the landscape as always dramatic, the history lesson about John O’Groats fascinating and the colourful houses are just brilliant…ditto your desire to paint your shed a similar bright hue, I’m also enthused! 😀😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Annika
      oh dear, Siri and Selma started painting, well, it hard to say by the looks of it if they are painting our sheds or themselves. But they love to be colourful Bookfayries 🙂 🙂
      Thank you for liking our post!
      With lots of love xx
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 3 people

    • That’s not true! Only some splashes of colour are on our arms and T-shirts, well, and Selma trod in the pot of red gloss. But we don’t mind.That could happen to any of us.
      With lots of finest fairy dust
      Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma, the stylish Bookfayries

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Klasse Siri und Selma, dass ihr die beiden zu diesem schönen Ort gebracht habt! Witzig die schmale tanzende Litfasssäule mit den Zeigearmen und den lustigen Nummern, der Ohrwurm: You should be dancing….BeeGees…

    Jedesmal denke ich, dass ich Dinas schöne Fotos ausdrucken und aufhängen möchte, aber ich kann mich nicht entscheiden und hoffe, dass es keinen Stromausfall gibt und ich mir alles einfach immer wieder anschauen kann, so großartig!!!
    Liebste Grüße von Pia

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Absolutely stunning work, Fab Four. Your humourus writing and excellent illustrations are first class.
    What a great job they did with this grey and dull place. Instead of electing to mirror something from the surrounding environment, reflecting the genius loci, they went for colourful inspiration from the Norse style. Very clever! Amazing how they managed to transform the place by doing so.
    Have a great weekend!
    Sarah x

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Sarah,
      this Norse architecture – and the very north of Scotland as well as the Orkneys and Shetlands are Norse – enhances the genius loci. The barren landscape is as much part of the design as these colours which seem to be even more colourful because of the surrounding grey landscape. In grey as in black all surface colours are united as you can see when painting in watercolours. Your water ends up brownish grey. We would say these colours of the houses are set free from the surrounding grey.
      We love that the Norse tradition is remembered there in a contemporary way without kitsch, this is the genius loci and the identity of the locals. They are more Norse than British by tradition. So we suppose these architects actually didn’t mirror the surroundings but started a communication with it. And everything was done sustainable and in style. That’s the way to do it. Well, Scotland has a long tradition of brilliant architects like Charles Rennie Mackintosh (see: https://toffeefee.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/hill-house/).
      For us this is a great example how to revive a dead hamlet and a forgotten landscape.
      We are wishing you a great weekend as well
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Post Scriptum
      if you want to create harmony in the realm of colours you have to look how the classic painters were using colours. Quite often they used all the colours of theirs objects and overdeterminated this colour they wanted to show. Actually there are layers of colours but there is one colour on the surface which the observer sees. But on the subliminal level of perception the observer is aware of this special shade of the colour he sees which is produced by all these layers. In a way these architects did something similar here but in reverse. From the grey of the surrounding they set free all the colours that make that grey of the surrounding. And did you notice, they in a way gave a hint in the arrangement of the colours as grey is used in the middle house, left of it are the cold shades of colour, to the right are the warm shades. Showing the logic (or grammar) of colour makes the observer feel safe and produces the feeling of harmony because there is a clear order (which is recognised more or less consciously).
      Thanks for inspiring me to analyse the language of colour of these buildings 🙂
      With lots of love ❤
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Klausbernd, thank you so much for your in-depth analysis of the colour theorie and especially the language of colour of these buildings. How interesting! The emotional impact of colours in this barren environment is impressive. You are right, the great painters understood how to use colour to create a specific mood and evoke a desired emotional response. I remember an interesting exhibition in the Guggenheim museum with abstract expressionists, (like Gorky, Pollock, Clyfford Still etc) – they relied entirely on colour to convey emotion in their paintings.
      Sarah x

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Sarah
      it’s so interesting that colour on hand communicate directly with the emotions (of nearly all animals) and on the other hand they are following a logical linguistic system. I wrote just a little bit about the grammar of colour in my answer to one of the last commentaries here. The logic of the prismatic colours is best seen in the colour circle, the logic of black, white and grey is linear.
      Thanks and have a great weekend as well
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear George
      we met quite a lot of bikers, mostly driving in groups. We talked to some and they all were happy touring the NC500. With all the ups and downs and sharp bends it must be a paradise for bikers.
      We wish you a safe trip as well, be careful there are sometimes little rocks on the minor roads.
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lieber Marcus,
      nee, die Häuser kannst du nicht gesehen haben, sie stehen erst seit etwa 5 Jahren dort. Wir hatten Glück mit dem Wetter, das völlig unschottisch war.
      Vielen Dank, dass dir Dinas Bilder gefallen 🙂 🙂
      Mit lieben Grüßen von der heute stürmischen Küste Nord Norfolks
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, dear Gilda,
      thanks a lot for commenting.
      We came to John O’Groats on our way to the Orkneys. Scotland got more and more magnificent as further north we came and, of course, more nordic. It’s really worth going there. We lived for nearly a year near Inverness and didn’t came further north, but the real north is very special and different. We love this nordic atmosphere as we are partly Norwegian (Dina is) or brought up and lived in Scandinavia. We felt at home.
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

    • Good afternoon, dear Tina,
      John O’Groats is worth visiting for this architecture. And actually the very north of Scotland is really magnificent. You will like it if you love a nordic atmosphere. We felt at home, it was more Norse than British.
      With lots of love
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  27. Unique würde ein Americaner glaube ich würdigend sagen, und da könnte ich mich durchaus anschließen. Das ist doch für ein relativ neues Ensemble duch aus gelungen! Ein gutes Wochenende wünsche ist Euch vieren. Ich bin gespannt, was Ihr als nächstes bringt 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ja, das ist wirklich unique und sehr gelungen, das finden wir auch. Besonders Siri und Selma waren begeistert. Sie wollten gar nicht mehr weg.
      In der nächsten Post werden wir dich zu den Orkneys entführen.
      Einen wunderschönen Sonntag wünschen dir
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

  28. It’s years since I’ve been to John O’ Groats – it’s looking better than it did. Even years ago, though it wasn’t cheerful, it was far from the most dismal place in Scotland. Annan, on a drizzly Tuesday evening in Autumn – that’s dismal. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • We love to visit places in the North because we live at North Norfolk coast where actually it’s much too mild for us. We very much miss snow, ice, frost and every sort of cold weather. So this time we went to the north of Scotland. Wow, how magnificent the NW and N coast is: high cliffs, fjords, barren land, peaty black lochs and then this avantgarde architecture. It’s worth visiting and especially for a photographer as you don’t have these boring blue skies there, the weather and with it the light is constsantly changing.
      Thanks for commenting and wishing you an easy week
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  29. “John O’Groats is not the dull port of the ferry to the Orkneys but the colourful place at the end of the world.” Yes, nothing makes me happier than arriving at the end of the world! No matter where it is, even if it is barren and lonely. And Groats is colorful! More colorful than I remember it. Thanks for the trip. Now, whisky for breakfast? I want to visit your B&B. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Curt
      those houses are pretty new, when you were visiting they might not even have been planned, which was after 2010.
      Yeah, whisky for breakfast is great, isn’t it?! But don’t get too excited it’s only a little amount which gets blended with cream – but very yummy!
      We will not post about the destilleries we visited, but we tasted the finest whiskys on our trip. Our dear Master likes the peaty ones, but for them the best place to go were the Western Isles where we started our road trip up North.
      Thanks and so long
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • I do suspect that a little whiskey goes a long ways at breakfast. (laughing) My trip to northern Scotland was in the 90s, so you are right. I would have remembered those buildings! Thanks. –Curt

      Liked by 3 people

  30. Fabulous post as usual! I just love the first and third pictures particularly, the coast is gorgeous and the colourful house just stand out brilliantly. I wish you hadn’t mentioned haggis – I just love it! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  31. What a landscape and what beautiful houses. I bet they are filled with all the light available. That last photo, with the color of the wall, the sea, and the grass in the lovely light–Ah! I have never been so far north in Scotland.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s worth to going up north in Scotland. The landscape is getting more and more magnificient and nordic.
      We had ideal light for photography. What makes taking pictures interesting in this area is the ever changing light. We were lucky having lots of sunshine in the north, quite un-Scottish.
      Thanks and wishing you an easy day
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Ha, this is superb! Colour is the spice of life and the colours choosen for this project are stunning. What a powerful form of nonverbal communication!
    The photos are once again outstanding. With you good humorous writing you are excellent ambassadors promoting Scotland. 🙂 I want to go there! 🙂
    Klem to you all
    Hjerter ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Our dear friend Hjerter
      in the second part of “Faust” Goethe writes “in the colourful reflection we grasp life”, that’s exactly what you are expressing in your commentary. Colour is a kind of language directly communication with the feelings of the onlooker. This is what the architects in these buildings use. It was used in architecture since the Bauhaus and before in Baroque to produce visual illusions.
      Thank you so much for liking our post.
      With a big HUG
      KLEM ❤
      The Fab Four of Cley xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • P.S.:
      if I remember it right, it was Gunnar Asplund the Swedish architect who was mostly influenced by the Bauhaus and the colour theories of Itten and Kandinsky, the specialists for colour in the Bauhaus. Kandinsky’s colour theory goes back to Goethe’s “Farbenlehre” (Theory Of Colours) via Rudolf Steiner. Goethe was one of the first writers who reflected the psychological impact of colour.
      Love
      Kb

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always a treat to communicate with you Kb. ❤ Colour is a complex subject with many strands and it has the power to subliminally convey values and stories and I'm looking forward to your next ones. 🙂
      Wishing you all a happy day.
      KLEM
      Hjerter ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    • My dear friend Hjerter
      I suppose quite few people are aware that colours are a language with a logical grammar. It’s all based on the number 3, the 3 prime colours and their 3 complimentary colours. These are the prismatic colurs, for black, white and grey we have a linear logic and for the prismatic colour a round one, the colour circle first used by Newton in his “Optikks”.
      Thanks for your kind words.
      With lots of love
      Klausbernd

      Liked by 1 person

  33. 😍 Hej von LOVISA aus Schweden lieber Klaus Bernd. ich kann jetzt auch bunte Smiley-Bildchen 😜. Eure Fotos sind wieder grandios .. aber das ist ja fast schon tausende Male erwähnt. Euer vorgestelltes Ausflugsziel 🤠 ist supidupi 👍 und wir echt mal fest angepinnt. I love it – Jag älskar den 💛💚💜! Allt gott – alles Liebe von Lovisa

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hej, liebe Lovisa
      fein von dir zu lesen 🙂 Ja, der Norden Schottlands ist wirklich eine Reise wert, die Natur ist großartig mit Fjorden, sumpfigen Lochs, nebligen Bergen, ein ständig wechselndes Licht und sehr freundlichen Menschen. Es gibt auch viel sehenswerte Architektur zu sehen, nicht nur in John O’Groats sondern auch besonders in und um Glasgow. Wir bloggten vor einigen Jahren über Charles Rennie Mackintosh – arts and crafts, ziemlich ähnlich dem Bauhaus
      https://toffeefee.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/hill-house/
      Dann mach’s mal gut, take care und liebe ❤ Grüße vom kleinen Dorf am großen Meer
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
      Wir können nur bunte Smiley-Bildchen bringen, wenn wir wie Siri und Selma auf ihren FairyMacs schreiben oder wir auf dem Apple-Rechner. Wir schreiben gerade auf einem PC Notebook, auf dem wir keine lustigen Smiley-Bildchen installiert haben – "eine Schande!" wie unsere beiden geliebten Feen meinen.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Haha .. echt das hab ich auch so heraus gefunden an unserem Feenrechner oben bekomme ich Bildchen und hier – an dem Kleinen – geht die tastenkombi nicht 😉

      Glasgow hatten wir auf unserer Rundreise gar nicht dabei! Da lohnt es sich jawohl nochmal von Schweden auszurücken. ? ! Danke für den Link .. und dann müssen wir SchwedenWaldRäuber wohl bei euch unterkommen 😉 LG Lovisa

      Liked by 3 people

    • Na, das wäre doch nett, wenn ihr vorbeikämt. Allerdings sind es von Cley next the Sea nach Glasgow etwas über 600 km. Wir nehmen uns stets für diese Fahrt 2 Tage.
      Mit lieben Grüßen aus dem sonnigen Norfolk
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

  34. Dear friends,
    I’m very late to the party as I’ve been holidaying in the south of Norway visiting friends and celebrating my sons birthday. Thank you so much for your kind birthday gift and best wishes!
    I love this post. What an interesting read and Hanne’s photos are brilliant. Colour is such an immense part of art and architecture whether in abundance, lacking, or displayed in a harmonious pairing. The mindful use of colour should always be used to an artist’s or place’s advantage and I think they did very well choosing those colours for John O’Groats.
    Now I’m on my way to Tromsø. Sending you warm greetings from Gardemoen.
    Very much looking forward to your next post,
    Per Magnus

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good morning, our dear friend Per Magnus,
      colour is a very important tool to change feelings. This is, of course, very much studied in advertisment and especially for logos. Colour always communicates meaning.
      Have an easy way home and thanks for your commentary.
      With lots of love from all of us
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • For us it was the first having haggis as well. Especially our dear master loved it. We noticed that we can buy it in the supermarket here too.
      With lots of love
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  35. The simple forms of the architecture, the primary colors, and the juxtaposition with the older style – they’re wonderful, but in someone else’s hands it would not have been nearly as nice. You framed and processed these so beautifully, Dina – I think you all were inspired!

    Liked by 2 people

    • We were very much inspired by the combination of old and new and the communication of these buildings with the landscape. That’s architecture we like.
      Thank you very much and have a happy 😊 day
      💃👭🚶
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • Dear Caroline
      thanks a lot for liking Dina’s pictures.
      You are a linguist, our dear Master studied linguistics as well and was a specialist for the grammatical structure of symbol systems.
      Wishing you a happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for commenting and especially for referring to Geoge Berkeley’s theory of perception. Even if it is a classic theory of the Age of Enlightenment it’s still worth reading it.
      Thanks 🙏 for liking Dina’s photography.
      All the best
      🚶💃👭
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Mariposa,
      our dear Dina didn’t take the whisky 🥃 in the morning and she isn’t a friend of porridge neither – oh dear!
      Our dear fairies are all over the places in the last days.
      Thanks 🙏🙏🙏 and all the best
      💃🚶👭
      The Fab Four of Cley
      Special fairy dust 💫✨for you from Siri and Selma 👭

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Thorsaurus,
      thanks for liking Dina’s photographs. Great colours, indeed!
      Well, actually it is a matter of spelling
      Whiskey is Irish
      Whisky is Scottish
      You wouldn’t say Scotch to a Single Malt or really fine Scottish Whiskies. Well, with the plural there is a problem as well – some spell it whiskys and some spell it whiskies. No semantic difference as we see it.
      All the best, happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  36. I am absolutely sure that it would do us – in our surrounding- do a lot of good, if we used more wood and colour for our constructions than all this concrete. Entschuldigt, aber ich habe vergessen, dass ich hätte Deutsch schreiben sollen! Liebe Dina, lieber Klausbernd, vielen Dank für diesen Bericht, der meiner Seele wohl tut! Cari saluti dal Ticino.:)

    Liked by 2 people

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