Tuesday, November 20, 2018

There was an enchanting clip on the BBC 6 p.m.  news this evening in which we saw the policeman on duty outside 10 Downing Street step forward and open the august door to let the cat in. The animal was seen only very briefly from behind, but had very much the air of a person who expected this simple service to be provided on demand.

Today was the every-second-Tuesday which brings Andrew and Andrea back. And, goodness! they are good. An endless stream of interesting designers showing off their new work would soon have become tedious, as they realised early on. This time, we have an interview with Carol Christiansen of the Shetland Museum – and the news that she is working on a Lace Book, with the help of sponsorship from the Museums and Galleries Commission. That is news.

And an utterly delightful interview (this time, conducted by Andrew) with Ronnie Eunson of Uradale Farm. [I want to buy some of his yarn – and in that case, Jean, you’ll have to spend more time knitting!] Ronnie left Shetland in his youth to study Old Norse and other obsolete languages at Edinburgh University but decided that he wanted something more exciting in life than academia – so chose sheep farming.

There are some wonderful drone-taken pictures of his sheep dogs at work. Which was the Russian leader – Khruschev? – who was enthralled by his first sight of British sheep dogs. “When I was a boy, I had to do that.”

They looked just like the dogs who used to work our fields in Strathardle with our neighbour Ian Duncan. I would meet him sometimes on the Bumpy Road and he would stop the tractor to talk to me, with the dogs sitting beside him. They were far too polite to say anything, but you could see what they were thinking – “Why are you wasting time with this silly woman? Ian, we have work to do.”

I have sort of given up on “The Little Drummer Girl” but maybe this evening I’ll go back to it. That should get me very nearly to the end of the final OXO on the Calcutta Cup vest.


  1. Jean, have you read The Shepherd's Life, by James Rebanks? I just listened to the audio book version while on a long driving trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. His description of the working dogs and what makes a good one are fascinating.

  2. Also, there is a Shetland Travel piece in the NYTimes featuring Wool Week.https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/21/travel/shetland-islands-wool-week-knitting.html

  3. Thanks for the tip about the Downing St cat. I found the clip online. I was surprised at how quickly the door was opened when the police officer knocked. But I suppose behind the door they assume that if you've gotten that far you're legit. The cat had a slightly long-suffering air, as if he had resigned himself to below-par service.

  4. Larry the cat is a regular feature on a slow news day outside No 10. There's also Palmerston at No 11. Larry and Palmerston do not like each other much. Lots of videos on YouTube.