Songs of strength and struggle, of women north and south, with stories as well, set the scene in an eve-of-Festival concert; and there were stories from many places – from William Balfour Baikie’s exploration of the River Niger to James Clerk Maxwell’s probing into the nature of light. The story went back to the origin of the universe and of life itself, how organic molecules – and even bacteria and viruses – can form into cold and dark of interstellar space and then be carried to planets by comets and meteorites. There were stories of people who studied Orkney’s wild flowers, and of clues from DNA to some of the figures from island history, and a description of the long years of rock formation and the influence of water, fire and ice. There was the Physics of the Hula Hoop and the Mathematics of Why I Can’t Get a Boyfriend, a look at a landscape of limestone, a discussion of new approaches to house building and design, and Ten Ways to Explain the Universe (In Your Kitchen!) – and a journey up there with the wind and the sun, how the first Orkney resident to fly across the Pentland Firth captured the spirit of flight and opened up new horizons in her life and in her writing.