Postcards from Shetland 06/06/20

Jun 6, 2020

A week of ever-changing weather and much excitement

I won’t lie, the past few weeks have been tough and exhausting. Between working very hard to keep things going, homeschooling as well as starting a new project there has been little time to rest and recharge batteries. Most of the time it feels like being on autopilot.

But there have been some wonderful moments and reasons to feel elated too. Last weekend we were finally able to meet with my friends for a socially distanced coffee in the garden. It was so nice to sit in the sun and enjoy cake, coffee and wonderful company. A true tonic after all those weeks of hardly seeing a soul. The weather was kind to us and although there was a bit of wind it was sunny and warm (by Shetland standards).

I love this photo so much as it really captures Shetland in early June so well. Often, as the rest of the UK experiences a heatwave, Shetland can often get shrouded in fog. This can be frustrating at times as this far north we all crave sunshine but it makes the place beautiful in its own way.  There are so many shades of green to enjoy and fleeting glimpses of the landscape to admire. You have to be quick though as this never lasts longer than a few moments. Capturing this view was sheer luck – I was washing dishes and briefly looked up to see this. Then it’s a question of having a camera at the ready, which sounds easier than it is. Sometimes the fog in Shetland can feel a bit oppressive but there’s a certain magic to it and I find days like these really good for creative work.

Daily walks and time spent in the garden are wonderful for lifting the spirits too.

Along the fences you can spot ‘hentilages’ – a Shetland word little tufts of wool fallen from a sheep’s back which is gathered from the pasture or the hillside. As our friends at Uradale explain, Hentilagets is such a wonderful Shetland dialect word, composed of one element from each ancestor: hent- from Old Scots hint “to seize, grasp” + -laget from Norn lag(e)d “tuft/wisp (of something)”. A truly mixed heritage compound that neatly sums up the origin of Shetland dialect.

I call this ‘my thinking road’ – when I walk here I clear my head and often I get new new ideas. The views of Shetland from here are beautiful.

And I love taking time to appreciate all the beautiful plants in the garden too. This is my favourite – lemon thyme. The smell when you rub the leaves is intoxicating. It makes a wonderful infusion too.

There have been some incredible skies too. And the garden is finally starting to look green.

Road to myself – early mornings are the best for a walk and not meeting a soul.

Little yellow gems – clumps of marsh marigold brightening the landscape.

Most of the time I’ve been working from home, so spending a morning in my office in Lerwick and going for a quick walk to my favourite place along the south end of the town felt like a dream.

And yes, for those of you who like the Shetland TV series, this is the house where Jimmy Perez ‘lives’. It must be the most photographed building in Shetland. I will never tire of these views.

Yesterday was a good mail day – a parcel arrived all the way from Fair Isle. And the the wrapping was wonderful.

I almost wanted to keep it wrapped…

Inside was… a hand knitted version of my Storm Dennis Snood.  Some of you will know I made it on a knitting machine in Fair Isle where we went earlier this year with Donna Smith to spend a week with the lovely Marie of Fair Isle Knitting Holidays. We were caught in the wild weather and ended up staying a little longer than originally planned. Which was actually good as we had more time to work on our projects as well as spending more time with the locals.

This is the exciting part – as there have been so many positive comments and compliments about the snood, I asked Marie to help me to make it into a knitting pattern. And the pattern will be one of the six projects that will feature in the first volume of the Shetland Wool Adventures Journal which I’ve been busy working on. If you’re interested to find out more or if you would like to pre-order a copy you can do that here.

And thank you to all of you who already ordered a copy, your support is greatly appreciated!

Last night the sunset was just incredible. The photos above hardly capture the beauty and depth of colour but you might just get the idea. The sunset was at 22.22 and every day we’re getting closer to summer solstice. Because we’re so far north, from mid-May to mid-July Shetland enjoys the ‘simmer dim’ (summer twilight) when the sun only dips below the northern horizon for a few hours. In fine weather this can bring the islands almost 19 hours of sunshine a day.

I love these two quotes about sunset by Mehmet Murat Ildan:

“Sunset is always wiser than sunrise because sunset has added the experience of an entire day to his soul!”

“Sunset is the most spiritual moment where human race meets the extraordinary spirit of the universe!”

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed my Shetland views for this week. Here are some books I read in May and I thought you might enjoy these too:

How Did We Get Into This Mess by George Monbiot, Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, Handywoman by Kate Davies

  1. Ngaire Mabel Phillips says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. I have fond memories of our stay (my husband, his sister and my sister) at a B&B in Lerwick in 1995. We hired a car to travel right up to the end of the road. We walked over farms, felt the sheep’s wool as they roamed the fields. met spinners and knitters who were outgoing with their knowledge. I am a spinner and knitter too.
    New Zealand

  2. Anette says:

    Wow absolutely stunning photos bringing back so many beautiful memories. Thank you for keeping us all connected with Shetland Misa.
    I’m so excited you will share the cowl pattern with us, I’ll definitely make it in exactly those colours, looks amazing.

  3. Annielon says:

    Thank for sharing your words and gorgeous photos. Shetland is on my bucket list. One day when the pandemic has run its course and countries re open for travellers. I have been knitting several Katie’s Kep. I am loving doing fairisle again.

  4. Melissa says:

    Oh I so enjoy your blog 😊
    It’s like having a chat about your week and being able to see it too
    Hope I can join you in 2021
    Melbourne , Australia 🇦🇺

  5. […] A typical view on Shetland walks – hentilagets. I wrote about these in the previous post. […]


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