So on Sunday lunchtime a coach arrived to take a group of us up on the boat to Shetland. Very easy journey to Aberdeen, then on the ferry.
Now I am used to ferries and forget how exciting they are for people who do not use them daily or weekly. The Northlink boat, Hrossey which goes between Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland, is a car ferry with a deck of cabins. Very nice cabins. I managed to keep awake long enough to go out on deck at the back of the vessel as we left Aberdeen – others took plenty of pix. But having had a VERY bust few days, it was not long before sitting on my bed working became laying on my bed with a cross word, and that soon became Out Of It until the tannoy man woke us all at 06.30 am. (He does this to give the car drivers time to wake before having to drive off at 7.30.) We were able to stay on board until 8.45 when we met and left the boat together.
Then it was straight to the hotel to drop off the luggage. Some rooms were ready for us, and we were able to leave stuff there for the day. The weather was overcast but dry, and we were able to take a leisurely tour of the centre of Lerwick, with special reference to the best coffee shop, yarn shop, gift shop and chocolate shop…
There was then a bit of time to orient ourselves (ie shop !!) before meeting to go to J&S. I had pointed the buildings out as we passed them on the way to our hotel, but this was the first time inside for most folk. While Oliver showed them round I borrowed his phone and computer to do some of the last minute confirmations etc for the next couple of days.
We then managed to get June down from the office to show us her knitting! She is the one who often answers the phone when you ring. She is a beautiful knitter, but somewhat shy!
It was then time to pile into the taxis again to go down to the Bod of Grimister. This is an old house, once the home of the man who founded P&O, and now the home of the Shetland Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. The custodian, Laura, told us a bit about the collection, and pointed out some of the most interesting items.
We were eating in the hotel that evening, and were joined by a couple of others who had been at Knit Camp and were making their own way to Shetland. It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet up. The food was excellent – but I did feel a bit sorry for the other diners at times…!!
Tuesday morning dawned wet. Not cold, no wind, but wet with very low cloud. It didn’t dampen spirits, however, and we were soon on our way to the Bourland Croft to meet Mary Isbister. Mary and her husband Tommy have gradually collected all the Shetland breeds – the well known ones like ponies and sheep, and the lesser known ones, like the Shetland duck, hen and goose. They also grow the old varieties of crop, from black potatoes to bere barley. In our honour Mary had put on a lovely Fair Isle sweater, which was photographed almost as much as the animals….
Even in the damp weather, the location was beautiful, and no one minded the wet feet and legs!
We walked in among the animals, and were accompanied by Mary’s dog Tess. She, as 10, was a bit old to work the sheep ‘correctly’. sometimes choosing to do what SHE thought was right rather than what Mary said!
After drying off and a bit of time for retail therapy, we all met at the museum for a textile tour with the textile curator, Dr Carol Christiansen. After talking us through some of the more important knitting bits in the public galleries, she took us to the Learning Room, where she had assembled a selection of garments and pieces from the collection not normally on view.
Earlier in the week she had asked me what type of thing folk would be most interested in and I said Fair Isle and lace, so she had set out a selection of garments, samples etc for us to look at.
An added bonus was that after washing our hands carefully we could also TOUCH! I had seen photos of one or two of the items, but most were new to me, and I spent most of my time taking rather a lot of pix…!
In the evening we went back to the museum’s restaurant or our meal. The food there is excellent, and the views, with the mist over the docks, is superb….