A mixture o mercies

I have been going through the Orkney Dictionary noting down all the knitting and spinning dialect words.  A mixture o mercies is a collection of bits and pieces…

Yesterday I had the phone call I have been waiting for.  Hamish Polson rang me to say my wheel is almost done:  he was checking how many bobbins (pirns in Orkney) I wanted.  So I am now booked to go up to Shetland the first week in May.  Steve and Nigel are coming too, so we have a car – Nigel loves travelling.

And Steve also sent me an email of the painting Jane Glue has done of Nigel riding Fin.  She worked mainly from a photo taken by Nick.

Findlay of Miltonbank is a Highland of impeccable breeding.  I had him when he was just broken at 5 and broke him to harness.  Nigel had always loved riding, and he also loved driving.  He and Fin and I did miles and miles together over several years.  Nigel is a speed merchant, and loved it when Fin cantered fast up the track, with the light exercise cart bouncing behind, signing that he wanted Fin to go faster and faster!

When my health got to the point I couldn’t cope with the work, Fin was sold to a friend, and Nigel continued to go over to Dearness every week to ride.  The photo was taken one day over there, and is recognisably the area he rode.

Nigel responds to paintings, and when he was left a sum of money by his grandmother, Steve suggested that it was spent on a Jane Glue painting.  That was in the autumn.  And Jane sent Steve a pic of the finished painting earlier in the week.  When Steve took Nigel over to see it (as yet unframed) Nigel grinned widely at it, and when Steve asked Where’s Fin, Nigel pointed.  And when he said Where’s Nigel, Nige again pointed at him riding.  That, for Nige, is a big response!

Now I am getting ready for folk to arrive for the traditional knitting course staring tomorrow.  The weather has turned foul – the Barriers were closed at lunchtime – but the forecast is better.


8 thoughts on “A mixture o mercies

  1. What a gorgeous painting! I don’t know the subjects, but you can see the pleasure both horse and boy are getting from the ride. It will be giving you pleasure for a lot of years I would imagine.

  2. What a wonderful painting. I don’t know Nigels story but he looks happy and I know animals are so good for us. Have a good time with your class.

  3. The painting is so beautiful — wonderful subjects and gorgeous colours. And I want to go to Shetland so badly!! I hope you’ll post lots of pictures of your trip and I hope the painting is going to have a home with you.

  4. Liz, tell us more about your Polson. Several years ago Hamish made a wonderful wheel for me from teak washed ashore from shipwreaks! And it even survived the trip across the pond to the middle of the US, with only one easily repaired fracture. I love spinning lace weight Shetland on it.

    1. I will talk more about it when I actually see it in early May. It is a spinney ( ie upright) made of sycamore, a blonde wood. He had almost finished another in the same wood when I was there in November, and he had taken home enough of the wood for two wheels. As my Orkney wheel is mahogany, I thought the white would got well with the dark!


  5. That is a beautiful painting Liz. I am so glad to learn more of Nigel’s background. You and Steve are doing such a wonderful service in caring for him.

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