The last few days have been busy as I have journeyed home but there has been no time to blog. I packed and cleared out of our Shetland home at 10.00 am on Sunday. I had 7 hours to fill before I could head towards the ferry. I realised that I should have put some more fuel in the car on Saturday because at 9.50 on Sunday morning, I could not find a garage open which meant I had to reduce how much driving I did to make sure I could get to the ferry. The car said I had about 120 miles of fuel (only a vague amount because it can be fairly flexible about when it tells you it has 110 or any other amount!)
I was going to Sandness via Walls so I decided to stop at Walls which the guide book said was an interesting place. Not so sure about that! I parked by the public loos and then we went off for a walk in the gloom. On the way over, I did stop at one point and take a couple of photos. They ended up being the only photos I took until I want to ‘Afternoon Tea’.
The weather was overcast and windy but when Dexter and I set out for a walk, it was ok. I headed off in one direction from the car in Walls and we walked along the road towards the coast. We walked as far as we could until the road ran out and then walked back which took us an hour and it was nearly lunch time. We got back to the car and so I ate the sandwich I had brought and read my book while Dexter lay in the back. I had not seen anywhere on the way to stop and therefore, go back to.
After an hour, I decided to walk in a different direction and we started doing that until 45 minutes out, it started to rain. By the time we got back, my jeans were quite wet so I sat with a towel on my lap to mop up some of the wet. Dexter was back in the back and then we set off the ‘Afternoon Tea’ that was laid on by the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Weavers, Dyers and Knitters in Tingwall. By the time I got there, it was heaving with people with a wonderful spread and a lovely exhibition put on by members. One of my teachers, Hazel Tindall, had some items in the exhibition but there were plenty of other beautiful items. I met up with two members of the Kennet Valley guild and had tea with them.
By the time I left, I had time to find somewhere to feed Dexter before going to the ferry. Finding somewhere to feed Dexter was the challenge! By this time, it was very, very windy and raining and there are not many sheltered car parks in Lerwick. I went back to the Community Centre and managed to park out of the wind by parking close to the building. I fed Dexter including giving him a travel sickness pill and then we went for a wet walk around Lerwick so he could relieve himself before the journey. I joined the queue about 5.10pm and when we got to the front of the queue we were loaded straight onto the ferry.
Since we were not sailing until 7.00pm I stayed in the car with Dexter until 6.15 and then put him in the kennel with his bed and some water and I went up to my cabin. We were told that we were going to have a fairly rough crossing to Aberdeen and they estimated we may be up to 1 hour late docking in Aberdeen. I lay down on the bed and, other than getting up to do my teeth etc, I stayed there until 6.00 am. I’m not sure I slept a lot but I rested as the boat moved like a roller coaster for most of the night. There was only one time that I was rolled into the wall of the cabin and items rolled off the table. I had tried to make sure everything was secure before we set out so there wasn’t much to roll off.
We arrived in Aberdeen and it was clear and sunny. I didn’t know where I could park so I decided to park in the ‘breakfast’ area and take Dexter for a quick walk to relieve himself. He had not messed his kennel which meant he had crossed his legs for 15 hours! We had a quick walk and came back to find I was about to be locked in but after explaining why I had parked there, the guy on the gate let me out. It was a good thing because we then spent over an hour getting out of Aberdeen. It started off fine with me sailing out towards the north and then about 5 miles from Aberdeen airport at 7.30 in the morning, I hit traffic and we crawled for the next hour. I was very grateful I had given Dexter a quick walk because I didn’t see anywhere to stop the car until after the airport.
Having finally got through the traffic, I drove to Inverurie and stopped there to take Dexter for a walk. We managed to find a nice walk along the river and through some woods but I forgot to take my phone so no photos. Eventually we got to Mosstodloch where my friend, Sandra lives. She has two miniature dachshunds, one of which is 6 months old. Dexter had the most wonderful time with them and Sandra’s daughter, Angela kept them all occupied all day including taking them for walks.
Sandra and I left Angela and went into Elgin to visit Johnstons of Elgin where we had lunch before going on a tour of the mill. Johnstons are the only mill in the UK that does every process from fibre through to finished item. They make luxury goods using cashmere, alpaca, vicuna and merino lambswool. The fibre is dyed before being spun (about 90% is done before being spun) and is then carded. Their carding machines take the fibre through lots of carding rollers and it ends as a very fine roving. Their rovings are about the size of my spun wool!
The rovings are then spun and wound onto cones before being wound on large machines into warps. There are various looms and unfortunately, we were not able to spend enough time looking at the weaving on the Jacquard loom before being moved on to the finishing. They check the fabric and repair it, finish it and then cut it. The whole process was fascinating so I was grateful that Sandra had organised it. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos at any point.
They have a lovely shop for their beautiful items. They do woven fabric in Elgin and knitwear in Hawick. Sandra then took the pretty route home to give me a chance to see the area. After dinner and a very good night’s sleep, we set off in the morning for Dunbar to visit my cousin, Fran and her husband, Derek.
I was supposed to go down the A9 but my satnav thought the quickest, shortest route was over the hills via Lecht, Glenshee and the Braemar! It was very pretty but definitely not fast and we ended up stopping in Braemar for a walk and lunch. Dexter had a walk and swim in the River Dee and I had lunch in Braemar before heading on to Dunbar. We eventually arrived there late in the afternoon.
Fran and Derek moved to Crowhill about 18 months ago and they have been building an extension. Apparently on Sunday, the extension was still a building site. 36 hours later it was habitable other than no plumbing in the kitchen! Nothing like a deadline to make you do stuff. All the kitchen items were moved from my bedroom and the living room into the kitchen and put away – amazing…… apparently it was very close to being a visit to a local hotel.
Derek and I took Dexter off to the beach and, given it is secluded and long, I risked letting Dexter off the lead. He ran off and came back, he ran off and ran into a field before coming back and then he ran off, up a bank and into a field heading for the A1……….not so good. I chased him up the bank and tried to see where he had run. Eventually, about 5 minutes later (probably less but it felt like hours), Derek spotted him on the beach trying to find us. After that, he was put on a lead. We then walked along part of the path that Derek and Fran look after as wardens and back to the car.
In the morning, lots more walks and a visit to Dunbar to see the bridge to nowhere! Back to the house to get ready for dinner with their neighbours and more walks. It was a lovely break before heading home.
The journey home was uneventful and we stopped a couple of times to break up the journey before getting home. Dexter inspected the garden before settling down, happy to be home. I am unpacked but it will take a few days to get sorted out and back to normal.