The culture shock for me, the no-trees thing, wasn't as 'bad' as the heather thing. The compact heather makes peat over the years/centuries and that is cut in the fields. And once dried it's to light a fire.
When you're European, you know that when you go to the mountains (there aren't any in The Netherlands) you see a nice valley with a village or a town or a city in it. Think of Rome...
Not in the Shetland Isles. Heather. And Water.
And then.... the Silence. I live in a area which is called: De Wâlden, or the woody area. So I'm used to hearing the wind in the trees. Here are NO trees. (at least not much, I spotted some pines in Voe and Brae).
So... no sound. I know, the wind is there, but the sound is different. And what I also missed was the smell of the sea. Sorry, the ocean. It probably was so windy, it blew away. The only day I smelled the ocean was on Friday, when it was very windy and the waves had a great time playing around the rocks.
Back to the heather.
Wednesday it was time to go to Sandness. Next to Eshaness and Hermaness my favorite place in the WORLD. Again, utter the silence, the sheep, the wideness of the landscape and the way that single road meandered through the land. I saw it with my own eyes, but couldn't believe it.
Because I got sick on the bus to Voe, Tuesday, we decided to take the car. A lucky thing, as I will tell you later. The road to Sandness is one of great boredom, like the picture on top. Wide valleys, hardly any sheep because it's too wet. Once you pass Hellister, the road to Weisdale is the most amazing drive to do on the entire island. The way goes up, and just at the right spot is a passing place, eventhough it is still a two way road, to take in the view.
We were fortunate enough that the sun was shining through the clouds and all the way to the south it was isles and the silver water.
Then, when you pass Bixter and continue on to the Bridge of Walls, nót going to Walls, you steer away from life as you know it, and continue on a single road. Thére the happiness begins.
Heather, small streams, passing sheep. Silence. Silence, more silence. Infact, we were driving and you could SEE the silence. There just wasn't anything to make noise.
I was VERY impressed. We passed only a few four wheel drives (you actually need those over there, it's not a fashion statement) and started to wonder what would we find at the end of this road!
And we found a very small village, and a factory. And even thát didn't make much noise at all. Or they were having a break.
My mother had asked me, if possible, I could bring her some tweed so she could quilt with it. I asked Garry if it was an option for me to get me some tweed. He told me I could point at a roll of fabric, they would cut the amount and sent it to me.
But that wasn't what I had in mind. My mother cannot quilt with anything 'single'. He pointed at the waste bin... I asked, he nodded and then 6 women went wild in the bin. Picking out fabric, nicely putting back the (large) pieces that were tagged.
The call came that the bus would be leaving, and because Amy and me were by car, we kept on 'grabbing' at pieces and parts of the tweed in the bin.
Thanking Garry a lot, we went back downstairs and smiling at our new required treasure.
We were already sitting in the car, chatting about our luck, when the lady from the shop came running.
We opened the door, thinking about what to say. She said we forgot something. Our goodie bag... Oh my god, more??
We thanked her vèry much, covering our treasure and googling the new found goodies.
A pattern, (lace) yarn, a colour card and a fabric bag with Shetland language for english knitting terms.
What a day.
We had to speed things up, because I had to be back at Jamieson & Smith by 18:00 for the Let's talk Lace evening. (more about that later..)
I did manage to buy some yarn at Jamieson's of Shetland. They had to pull it of a shelf out back, it was not on display in the shop. I had glanced at the colour card and noticed a lovely orange.
The same shade of the shawl the lady on the bus was wearing, the day before. She drove us back from Voe and I had found here wrap amazing. It was fine knit, and because I couldn't find the same shade in the right weight, I had bought the Heather Gingersnap instead.
The road from Voe to Lerwick was long enough for me, to try and study the pattern of her wrap. It wasn't so difficult. I could remember that. When I casted on, and had knitted the first three repeats, I thought it might look a bit to much of a leopard print. So I knitted a plain center part. Then, my mother saw it, loved it, and didn't want it that wide... Mirrored the little squares and bound off.
It's 29" wide (double) or 250 stitches (on size 4,5mm needles).
The yarn? Jamieson's of Shetland Heather in Gingersnap and Mirrydancers.